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Union Addresses Key Question in A-Rod Affair

Donald Fehr, head of baseball's union, just issued a statement that addressed one of the critical questions stemming from the revelation about Alex Rodriguez's positive steroids test in 2003: Why were the results from the 2003 "survey" testing not destroyed? The statement also reiterated the union's denial to the charge that COO Gene Orza tipped Rodriguez, and possibly others, about upcoming steroids tests in 2004. Here is the statement, in full:

"We are issuing this statement today to respond to two questions that
have been raised in the last few days in connection with reports about
Alex Rodriguez and the 2003 MLB testing program. First, it has been
asked why the results from our 2003 survey tests were not destroyed
before they were seized by the government in the spring of 2004. The
short answer is that in November, 2003, before that could take place, a
grand jury subpoena for program records was issued.

"In mid-November 2003, the 2003 survey test results were tabulated and
finalized. The MLBPA first received results on Tuesday, November 11.
Those results were finalized on Thursday, November 13, and the players
were advised by a memo dated Friday, November 14. Promptly
thereafter, the first steps were taken to begin the process of destruction of
the testing materials and records, as contemplated by the Basic
Agreement. On November 19, however, we learned that the government
had issued a subpoena. Upon learning this, we concluded, of course,
that it would be improper to proceed with the destruction of the materials.
The fact that such a subpoena issued in November 2003 has been part of
the public record for more than two years. See, U.S. v. CDT, 473 F3d at
920 (2006), and 513 F3d at 1090 (2008) (both opinions have now been
vacated). Other subpoenas followed, including one for all test results.

"Over the next several months we attempted to negotiate a resolution of
the matter with the United States Attorneys Office for the Northern District
of California. During that time we pledged to the government attorneys
that the materials would not be destroyed. When the government
attorneys refused to withdraw its subpoena for all 2003 test results, we
decided to ask a judge to determine to what the government was entitled.
See, 473 F3d at 944, and 513 F3d at 1118. On the same day we were
filing our papers with the court, the government attorneys obtained a
search warrant and they began seizing materials the following day.
Pursuant to that search warrant which named only 10 individuals, the
government seized records for every baseball player tested under our
program, in addition to many records related to testing in other sports,
and even records for other (non-sport) business entities.

"Later in 2004 three federal district judges in three different judicial
districts ruled that the government's seizures were unconstitutional under
the Fourth Amendment and ordered the government to return all the
materials seized (except for those related to the 10 players listed in the
original search warrant). The government appealed and the matter is still
pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
On December 18, 2008, the case was reargued before an en banc panel
of Ninth Circuit judges.

"The second question that has been raised in recent days is whether
Gene Orza or any other MLBPA official was engaged in improper "tipping"
of players about 2004 tests. As we have said before, there was no
improper tipping of players. Any allegations that Gene Orza or any other
MLBPA official acted improperly are wrong. This issue was raised last
year by Chairman Waxman of the House Government Reform Committee
following the issuance of the Mitchell Report, and last July I sent him a
ten-page letter clarifying the record on this subject. The letter is a pubic
document (http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20080703114405.pdf).
In that letter, I describe certain privileged conversations MLBPA attorneys
conducted in September 2004 with members whose names appeared on
certain government lists. It should be noted that the Commissioner's
Office was aware that such conversations were taking place, and in fact
those conversations were conducted pursuant to an agreement between
the MLBPA and the Commissioner."

By Dave Sheinin  |  February 9, 2009; 9:23 PM ET
 
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Next: Tejada Charged With Lying

Comments

How does it take over 5 days to destroy records? You simply shred the papers, delete the file and empty your recycle bin on your computer. Don't know about you, but that wouldn't take me 5 days.

The medical waste can be tossed into a sterile recycling program quickly as well. The fact is that Nov 14 - Nov 19 was open to destroy everything and nothing was done. That's pathetic.

Good luck getting the union to bend on ANYTHING from now on.

Posted by: adampschroeder | February 9, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I think the players are starting to get the idea that coming clean and apologizing is working. Time for Selig and Fehr to do to the same.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 9, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Summary of Fehr's statement: (1) the cheaters union agreed to be tested provided nobody knew the results and nothing was done about the cheating; (2) the government cheated on us cheaters.

Sob, poor Donald. He will go to his grave defending a player's right to cheat if the paycheck is big enough.

Posted by: howjensen | February 10, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

I makes me wonder how much money do these players need to play a game, I played for enjoyment? The unfortunate thing is the fans have to pay the price of these cheaters. Check out what it cost a family to take their family to a baseball game? The Hall of Frame Should Not Except Cheaters. Too many earned that right, doing it the proper way. Let thier records stand. To me, the steroid era in baseball dead!!!! And people whom supported it are blind!!! Thanks!

Posted by: eztiger44 | February 10, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

I used to be firmly against any sort of pardon for Pete Rose. A lifetime ban is a lifetime ban. There's no point to it if you go around commuting it, then it losses all of its deterrent effect.

But with all of this going on, I can't see how Rose betting on games that he clearly did his best to win is even close to the damage Juicers have done to an entire decade of baseball. Let Rose back into the game, or ban all 104 Juicers for life.

Posted by: Section506 | February 10, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

"As we have said before, there was no
improper tipping of players."

So, the tipping happened but it was somehow proper?

Overall, a superb response by the Union, but they are running scared. Gene and Donny will soon be like many other Americans -- unemployed.

Posted by: dfh123 | February 10, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I really wish I could believe that A-Rod only used steroids from 2001-03. All of the excuses he made were still present while he was a Yankee:
1. Pressure to prove he was worth the money, like a 10 yr $300mil contract. Check.
2. Steroids was in the clubhouse culture, ummm...Clemens, Pettite, Knobloch, etc. Check.
3. He was doing stupid things, like running around the world with a stripper and Madonna. Check.

His physique since coming to NY screams HGH and he was apparently in the right clubhouse to get the goods. All I'm saying is wait till the other shoe drops.

Posted by: dclifer | February 10, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

i wonder if he used that other kind of performance enhancing drug while he was giving his injections to madonna, if you know what i mean..nudge nudge..wink wink..knowwhutimean..

Posted by: w04equals666 | February 10, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Say no more, say no more!

Posted by: dfh123 | February 10, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

What a COLOSSAL charlie-fox...

Posted by: Juan-John | February 10, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Mike Wise's column today.

The cat's already out of the bag. Report the names of the 103 other players who tested positive in 2003. There are only about 700 players in MLB so we know at a minimum about one in seven were abusers.

To single out A-Rod, as Bonds was earlier unfairly singled out, and not to expose the other abusers (likely about 50% of the players just as Canseco speculated), is ridiculous.

It is very likely the 103 include many who the MSM have been telling us were squeaky clean, played the game "the right way, and, blah, blah, blah--and may already have been inducted in the Hall of Fame.

And doesn't the NYT's Selena Roberts deserve some Pulitzer for pursuing this after other journalists looked the other way?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 10, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Now Tejada has been charged with lying to congressional investigators about the PED use of Adam Piatt.

The story says it's probably the lead up to a plea deal, but they aren't accusing Tejada of PED use. Piatt cooperated with the investigation.

Is there even the slightest chance Tejada is all they're after? Interesting to see where this will lead.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 10, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I also agree re. exposing all of the cheaters. On last night's MLB Network special programming, Al Leiter made much the same point as Wise about those who didn't cheat. As someone who played during the "steroids era" and did not use (per his comments), Leiter also questioned A-Rod's contention that it was the prevailing culture and everybody did it.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 10, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The union is the enemy to every baseball fan in America. Fehr along w/Orza and their fellow scam artist AKA Scott Boras are really the problem. They run that union like mob bosses, they scare the hell out of the players and take no prisoners.
I used to sympathize with the players who had no rights for many years (prior to the reserve clause), but since then their down-right strong-arm tactics has destroyed the game.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 10, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of The Agent That Must Not Be Named (who has a number of, um, enhanced players in his stable), I find it rather interesting that he studied the business of pharmaceuticals as a minor leaguer:

http://tinyurl.com/arvvop

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 10, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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