MLBPA won’t protect PED users
The baseball players’ association may not go to bat for every player involved in Major League Baseball’s latest drug investigation.
Union head Michael Weiner told the New York Daily News that the MLBPA is “not interested” in protecting players for whom overwhelming evidence exists that they used performance-enhancing drugs.
Although he did not refer to any specific players in his interview Wednesday with the Daily News, Weiner emphasized that the union has prioritized a clean program. He told the paper that the union will attempt to “make a deal” for players with overwhelming PED evidence against them.
“I can tell you, if we have a case where there really is overwhelming evidence that a player committed a violation of the program, our fight is going to be that they make a deal,” Weiner told the Daily News. “We’re not interested in having players with overwhelming evidence that they violated the [drug] program out there. Most of the players aren’t interested in that. We’d like to have a clean program.”
Former MVPs Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are among the more than one dozen players under investigation for ties to Biogenesis, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida linked with the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs. MLB officials have been interviewing players, who have been represented by the union and their own lawyers.
ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” has reported that Rodriguez and as many as 20 other players are expected to be suspended for their relationship to Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, who allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to the players. Rodriguez has denied the allegations.
Weiner said Tuesday that any suspensions resulting from the Biogenesis investigation likely won’t be served until 2014, if the discipline is challenged before an arbitrator. He said he expects MLB to present its findings to the union “within the next month.”
Weiner also said the commissioner’s office isn’t bound by the terms of the joint drug prevention and treatment program — which calls for 50- and 100-game suspensions followed by a lifetime ban for three failed drug tests — because the players involved in the Biogenesis case did not fail tests and are being investigated for “non-analytical” reasons.
“In theory, [the players] could be suspended for five games or 500 games, and we could then choose to challenge that,” Weiner said Tuesday before the All-Star Game. “The commissioner’s office is not bound by the scale we have in the basic agreement.”
Weiner also told the Daily News that some grievances, including those involving PEDs, are settled privately before a suspension is publicly announced. He hopes that MLB will adhere to that procedure in the Biogenesis case.
“This is a somewhat new situation, but some of those grievances have been disciplinary grievances as well,” Weiner told the Daily News. “They just don’t get the play that the Biogenesis case did.”
Weiner also said symptoms have increased in the last month from a brain tumor he was diagnosed with last summer. He currently can’t move his right side or right arm and must use a wheelchair.
Weiner said the union will appoint a deputy executive director within a week or two.