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Baseball to seek increased discipline for off-the-field incidents

May 4, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT

Selig and Weiner

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.

  1. phukyouk - May 4, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    “Rather, that it be reserved for acts that are truly serious and/or criminal in nature.”

    and as we have learnt in the last 24 hours DUI is really not anything serious, right?

  2. halladaysbiceps - May 4, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    I think that everyone should just sit back, have a couple of beers and shots, and think this thing through before rushing to harsh conclusions.

    Once again, labor discussions. MLB is being pressured by the media and biased organizations to act on a crime that already has punishment within society.

    Playing sports, people, is a job. Just like you and me, we make a mistake with a DUI, the law punishes us, but we continue to work, regardless.

    I guess the answer is to not allow them to work because of the mistake and put them on Welfare.

    • Lukehart80 - May 4, 2011 at 5:24 PM

      There are plenty of jobs you WOULD be punished at for a DUI, it’s not like Major League Baseball would suddenly be the first workplace in America to institute consequences for mistakes the law also punishes.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 4, 2011 at 5:32 PM

        What jobs are you talking about? I guess if you’re lively hood is a driving job, yes, I agree. Beside that, what other type of job would punish you for a DUI? Please enlighten me.

      • paperlions - May 4, 2011 at 5:39 PM

        Typically, such jobs at least wait to enforce punishment upon conviction and not simply for being arrested.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 4, 2011 at 5:38 PM

      A job where you are placed in the public eye whenever you clock in for work, and when you’re not clocked in, anything you do can be put in the public eye because your job has a level a celebrity to it. A job where kids see you and look up to you on a daily basis. A job like this should consider punishing folks that get DUIs outside of work. A job like playing for a major league baseball team.

      • halladaysbiceps - May 4, 2011 at 6:04 PM

        Yeah, you’re probably the same type of person that allows your TV and computer raise your kids. Professional sports has always been filled with regular people, like us all.

        Why is it so important for people to understand that professional sports is a job like anything else?

        They put out a tax return like anyone else and, when the tax form asks occupation, they reply “Profession baseball player”.

        Get off your high horse, acknowledge that they are human and will make mistakes, and move on.

      • tomemos - May 4, 2011 at 6:10 PM

        Also a job like teaching. And indeed, teachers (at least in many districts) can lose their jobs for DUIs.

    • mattjg - May 4, 2011 at 5:45 PM

      I see your point since the only options are to let players go with no punishment or ban them from baseball for life. Wait. What?

      Personally, I don’t think players should receive additional punishment from MLB for a DUI. That being said, I certainly see where MLB is coming from. The players are in the public eye and they represent MLB on and off the field. It’s part of the job of being a Major League Baseball player.

      A DUI can cost you your job in plenty of professions, or, more likely, subject you to some sort of discipline as people here propose.

  3. clydeserra - May 4, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    When do the sanctions take place, at time of sentencing? Arrest? Plea?

  4. halladaysbiceps - May 4, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    DUIs for players. Last comment I will make today, because my girlfriend wants to have private time.

    (1) Let’s suspend the player for (2) years for the offense.

    (2) If the player,in the mean time, wants to earn money, has to go to another country to do so.

    (3) When the (2) year suspension is over and he finally returns, if physically able, should be tormented to no end.

    Do I have this right? Peace, fellow commenters.

    • cur68 - May 4, 2011 at 6:29 PM

      Why do I get the feeling he’ll be gone for about 2 to 3 minutes?

      Is it just me or we mostly talking about suspension for a certain amount of games, community service, a fine, alcohol management classes or some such, right? Escalation of punishment for repeat offenses etc. Not what the 2 minute miracle is talking about up there. These guys are putting baseball in a bad light, not unlike McDowell and his behavior did.

  5. Old Gator - May 4, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    I want to recommend Sir Richard Topcliffe to enforce Major League Baseball’s new reign of draconian retribution. I don’t think Joe Morgan is up to torturing baseball players as well as all those who tune in to games he announces.

  6. leftywildcat - May 4, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    What about increased discipline for on-field blown calls — such as last year’s perfect game — that are caught on tape?

  7. danberman4 - May 5, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    It’s almost beyond belief that they have waited this long to address alcohol.

    http://pinetarandbrickbats.blogspot.com/2011/05/baseballs-drinking-problem.html

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