May 4, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT
In the wake of baseball’s sixth DUI arrest this year, a spokesman for Major League Baseball said today that the league will attempt to seek the option to discipline players involved in off-the-field cases — like DUI — when labor contract talks begin after this season.
“Right now what we do with the union is a result of informal understandings, there’s nothing in the agreement,” Courtney said. “The team or commissioner could discipline an employee for off-duty misconduct. Frankly, with alcohol abuse, our approach has been one more of making sure the players get adequate help to keep their careers on track as opposed to pure discipline.”
And that part of it — making sure players get help — is important and should not go away. But baseball and the union should find some means to create a greater deterrent than currently exists for this sort of thing.
The key: that some sort of enhanced discipline regime not be taken too far and, say, players start getting disciplined for mere p.r. gaffes like social media behavior or what have you. Rather, that it be reserved for acts that are truly serious and/or criminal in nature.
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