New York, NY, Wednesday, June 5, 2013 …
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner today issued the following statement regarding ESPN’s Biogenesis report.
“The Players Association has been in regular contact with the Commissioner’s Office regarding the Biogenesis investigation. They are in the process of interviewing players and every player has been or will be represented by an attorney from the Players Association. The Commissioner’s Office has assured us that no decisions regarding discipline have been made or will be made until those interviews are completed. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged those investigations. The Players Association has every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our joint program. We trust that the Commissioner’s Office shares these interests.”
The question here is what side of this issue the MLBPA comes down on because they have to wear two hats here. On one hand, they have a fiduciary duty to represents the interests of their constituents (the players) and on the other they also have maintained a strong commitment in conjunction with the Commissioner's office to having a clean game free of PED's. Assuming the reports are true and that Bosch is fully cooperating with the Commissioner's Office, it has the potential to open Pandora's box and subject some of the game's biggest names to extended suspensions.
Any potential suspension as well as the length of said suspension will hinge on the interpretation of a clause in the MLB's Joint Drug Agreement (not the Basic Agreement) that apparently allows Commissioner Selig. Just as an editorial, I have yet to find this purported clause in either the Joint Drug Agreement or The Basic Agreement but I will keep looking. In spite of the Daily News report, I believe what Bill Madden and crew were referring to was the determinations and subsequent punishments outlined in the Joint Drug Agreement, which is located in Section 7 for those of you who want to see for themselves.
There has been a lot of talk about the Commissioner seeking to impose a 100 game suspension on Braun and the Yankees very own Alex Rodriguez (among others). Selig will attempt to make the argument that these players committed an initial and subsequent violation by acquiring these substances and then proceeding to lie about it during an official MLB investigation. Although Selig is the absolute arbiter of discipline when it comes to violations of the Joint Drug Agreement, it is unlikely that when the MLBPA inevitably appeals and files a grievance, that an arbitration panel will uphold such lengthy suspensions. Regardless of what the Commissioner decides to do the fates of Braun, Rodriguez, and a number of other players including current and ex-Yankees alike, will rest in the hands of an arbitrator. That said, section 8-A of the Joint Drug Agreement stipulates that the arbitration panel cannot reduce the length of the suspension below the minimum threshold level, which for most of these players would be 50 games.
It will be interesting to see how everything shakes out over the next few weeks/months but one thing is for sure, Bud Selig and Michael Weiner will be spending a lot of time on the phone with each other as the fates of these players and the impending wrath of their respective fan bases hang in the balance.