Friday, February 24, 2012

MLB Hits a Foul Ball

As I understand the rules that Major League Baseball agreed to abide by in administering its drug testing program, drug testing and any appeal of a positive test result is to remain confidential until the process has run its course and a sanction is imposed. Even then, what can be said publicly is very limited.

This policy of confidentiality was violated when someone leaked Braun's test results to ESPN. Assuming (and I think we can) that Braun didn't leak it, the guilty party was almost certainly an employee or agent of MLB. MLB should be embarrassed by that. In light of that, its decision to issue a statement that MLB "vehemently" disagrees with the arbitration panel's decision to throw out Braun's positive test and rescind his suspension is, as they say in the game, bush league. 

Had someone working for MLB not leaked the results, it could have made no public statement about the arbitration decision. No one would have known of the test results or the appeal.

But, now, because MLB violated its agreement with the players once, it apparently has decided to double down and break the rules - or at least their spirit - once again.

The agreement does have a provision that allows MLB to "respond to any inaccurate or misleading claims by ... [a] Player that could undermine the integrity and/or credibility of the Program. " Perhaps that's how they would justify what otherwise appears to be an impermissible statement. Braun defended himself.

But Braun wouldn't have had to defend himself if MLB had managed to follow the rules in the first instance. I understand that it may think Braun is guilty or be worried about the implications of a player getting off and undermining the impression that the drug testing is flawless. They may have thought that the neutral arbitrator imposed  a standard for assessing the validity of the chain of custody that was too high.

But the fact that this has become public is MLB's fault. It should have taken its lumps and kept its collective mouth shut.


George Mitchell said...

When will it be safe for Bud Selig to attend another game at Miller Park?

Braun was extremely well prepared for today's press event.

Some of the questions were probing. Like the MJS reporter who asked "how important" it was for him to have the support of the fans? Or another who wondered if
the controversy has "robbed" him of enjoying his MVP award? And then, what does it mean that "so many" of your teammates are here to support you today?

Braun did not duck any of those questions. He said, in order, yes, it was important to have fan support, yes, he felt robbed, and it meant a lot to have fan support.

Robert Earle said...

Yay for the MLB Players Association, and for collective bargaining agreements!

Bob said...

As a legal question, might MLB be liable for violating the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)?

My understanding is that a person's identity must remain private.

George mitchell said...

See Media Trackers. Robert Earle's comment appears to reflect a dem campaign to politicize this topic.

Anonymous said...

Only you would make that inference, George Mitchell.

Robert Earle said...

"Robert Earle's comment appears to reflect a dem campaign to politicize this topic."

Well, this one Dem, and an effort to contextualize the topic. The 'topic' was 'politicized' a year ago.

Tom said...

I posted on my personal Facebook page asking rhetorically whether Mike Tate was really that stupid or he just thought his Democrat followers were. I never expected to have that question answered so quickly.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the confidentiality - Braun stated that the 'collector' took the sample ~home~ with him over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

......As a representative of a business that tests drivers in the same manner, that fact alone is a HUGE foul.