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MLBPA believes Selig “has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement” in suspending A-Rod

Aug 5, 2013, 3:47 PM EDT

Michael Weiner, head of the MLBPA, has issued a statement. Short version: we’re cool with the 50-game suspensions, but the league has gone too far with A-Rod:

The accepted suspensions announced today are consistent with the punishments set forth in the Joint Drug Agreement, and were arrived at only after hours of intense negotiations between the bargaining parties, the players and their representatives.

For the player appealing, Alex Rodriguez, we agree with his decision to fight his suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.

The Union’s members have made it clear that they want a clean game. They support efforts to discipline players, and harshly, to help ensure an even playing field for all. The players support the Union’s efforts to uphold the JDA while at the same time guaranteeing that players receive the due process rights and confidentiality protections granted under the agreement.

Lastly, I want to close by stating our profound disappointment in the way individuals granted access to private and privileged information felt compelled to share that information publicly. The manner in which confidential information was so freely exchanged is not only a threat to the success and credibility of our jointly administered program; it calls into question the level of trust required to administer such a program. It is our view that when the bargaining parties hold their annual review of the program, we must revisit the JDA’s confidentiality provisions and consider implementing stricter rules for any breach by any individual involved in the process.

Hard to disagree with any of that. Of course, given that Weiner is on record seeming to go along with MLB’s view that Biogenesis suspensions do not have to conform to the JDA’s discipline guidelines, it’s kind of rich to hear this from him now.


  1. brianc6234 - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    The MBLPA needs to stay out of this. In fact, they all need to vote on getting even tougher on cheats. I noticed a lot of players are mad at Ryan Braun. But it’s their own deal that has allowed this nonsense to go on so long. Get tough. Cheaters should be banned three years. At least. All of the games they helped their team win before they were caught should be switched to losses. Those two changes will end the cheating for sure.

    • danrizzle - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      [insert sensible comment refuting everything you said here]

    • roadryder - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      All of the games they helped their team win before they were caught should be switched to losses.

      Really? What about the games where guys using PEDs were on both teams?

      The “beauty” of simplistic solutions appeals only to simpletons.

    • scotttheskeptic - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      The MLBPA is right where it should be. As others have noted, no explanation as to the calculus of this punishment has been forthcoming, thus, they fight for the member/player. And with 13 other players agreeing to punishment, with the union’s consent, hard to argue that the union isn’t defending the player’s rights in this case, as well as defending the negotiated agreements in place with MLB.

      • pjmarn6 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        Another reason why unions should be done away with. They know their members are cheating and they defend them. Just as in the non sports world. Unions don’t care about anyone but protecting their members, liars, cheats or criminals.

    • fanofevilempire - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      are you dumb, that is why he is a union member so he is covered by the CBA, about time they say something and defend it’s member.

      • hjack9240 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:30 PM

        You defend the union and call someone else dumb? Pot, kettle.

    • raysfan1 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      Yes, two-year bans for a first offense and stripped medals has completely eradicated PED use in the Olympics, right. No? BTW, second offenses get an 8-year suspension…and athletes try to get away with it anyway.

      There is no easy answer. The best way is culture change within athletics, and it is slowly happening. Even then some will be unethical enough to try to cheat.

    • pjmarn6 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Are the commenters here cheaters themselves and want to watch a baseball version of WWW?
      The players who used steroids and PEDs are not children and shouldn’t get any warnings. They all knew what they were getting into and that it is illegal, unfair and taking advantage of the clean players.
      Therefore there should not be one chance or two chances, there should only be one option. If a player is caught using a PED or steroid or any product which improves his performance, then he should be banned permanently for life.
      Armstrong is banned for life. Trainers and owners who race a drugged horse are banned for life. Why should it be different for baseball players. They are adults and know the results for doping themselves and they know it is cheating.
      Hell in college if you cheat on an exam, you get your exam torn up and you probably get a failing grade in the course. Ask our vice president about cheat in college.

  2. tbutler704 - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    This is a proforma defense of A-Rod by his union….after all, he is a member so they have to at least say something. Having seen when the union is actually saber rattling, with Donald Fehr’s multi-page bill of particulars and grievances, this is pretty tame stuff.

    • fanofevilempire - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      jerseygirldumdum, I HOPE YOU READ THIS YOU DUM BLONDE!

  3. anxovies - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    You are being too optimistic, Craig. I am sure that there will be plenty of people who will disagree with anything a union says.

  4. clydeserra - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Have I missed the part where we learn why this punishment? How it was calculated?

    • rockwallfields - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      No. In the new agreement, the players are completely protected from any public revelations regarding infractions; except information that the Commish’s office intentionally leaks to major media outlets on a daily basis in the several months prior to taking any official actions against a player, in an effort to pacify media outlets and further confuse fans. 😉 I’m with you, clydeserra. There is no rhyme or reason to A-Rod’s punishment that has been disclosed, other than it’s what they think they can get past the arbitrator without looking too ridiculous. I think the whole thing is a legal calculation by Mad Men, rather than cool heads prevailing and having any kind of logic to it. I guess we’ll see soon enough when A-Rod fights it. May find out more than MLB wants out there during that process as well!

  5. iknowzeroaboutsports - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Maybe if you wanted PEDs out of the game, you would agree to more frequent testing. Twice a year including one right at the beginning of training camp isn’t going to make a difference. For the money you get just for making one extra hit a week, I’d take my chances too.

    • paperlions - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      Last season, a total of 5136 samples were collected and analyzed by MLB, 3955 urine samples and 1818 blood samples.

      There is a maximum of 1200 player on MLB 40-man rosters, meaning that, on average players gave 1.5 blood samples and 3.3 urine samples. That probably still isn’t enough (assuming the blood tests are used only for HGH), I’d say that number needs to get up to at least 5 tests/player/year….but the time players are most likely to use is in the off-season when they have time to workout to take advantage of taking the stuff, and MLB doesn’t do much testing then (I don’t think).

      The blood samples (if used only for HGH) are still useless. There has yet to be a positive HGH test result in any sport based on a failed test, because the stuff only stays in the system for a few hours…plus, you know, it isn’t actually a PED for people with normal GH levels and actually reduced stamina in people that take it regularly.

      • iknowzeroaboutsports - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        While I could be mistaken, I believe your figures include both PED’s and drugs of abuse. HGH testing began this year so that might be a third time players are tested, but they are only tested 2 times per year for steroids.

      • paperlions - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        I don’t think it was. It the press release, the only only listed positive tests are for steroids (7) and stimulants (11). I know there were more than 0 failed tests for drugs of abuse.

        What is funny is that MLB currently has 119 exemptions granted, almost all for ADD….apparently, pro baseball players, an occupation that requires skill and patience are far more likely to have ADD as adults than the general population.

        The player’s protests about getting PEDs out of the game ring rather hollow when 10% of them are taking amphetamines for a condition that generally occurs in about 3-4% of adults.

        One poor dude is getting ‘roids for “hypogonadism”, I would say that was Valdespin, but he was busted…so, I guess not.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Almost no matter how often blood tests are done, it will still require either a tip off or dumb luck to catch them–HGH metabolizes too quickly.

      • paperlions - Aug 5, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        Yep, doing those tests are 100% PR. They are quadruply stupid.

        1) They can’t catch anyone without astronomically good luck

        2) HGH isn’t a PED anyway

        3) The tests are a waste of time and money

        4) Fighting for those tests distracts from what should be the focus of the PED program, usage of substance that likely have a far greater effect on baseball performance.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 5, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        Agreed, and the #1 class of PEDs in this category is the amphetamines, which are also potentially the most harmful to the athletes’ health.

      • paperlions - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:54 PM


      • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:11 PM

        I feel better going through the scanner at the airport too.

      • paperlions - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:57 PM

        Um….err…..??? This is like a chacochicken comment.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:57 PM

        What does that mean?

  6. lew24 - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Let the fight begin!

    I am with the union….211…will be reduced to 100.

    • tbutler704 - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      Sure, and all the polls are lying and Mitt Romney is going to be President.

  7. theaxmancometh - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    50 games for PEDs & the rest for general douchebaggery?

    • nbjays - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      If the penalty for “general douchebaggery” is 161 games, then there are a lot of players who should be sitting out next season. Just sayin’…

  8. jayscarpa - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I like the last paragraph.

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Yeah, right. That’s a threat to testing credibility. Not the fact that you test only twice a year, once that the players know about months in advance. It’s all BS, folks.

    • scotttheskeptic - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Me too. But when the initial information comes from an investigative journalist, keeping the subsequent stuff under wraps is damn near impossible.

  9. muskyhunter2542 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Liar. Your maybe with the plumbers union. Not MLBPA!!! Your so full of S***T your eyes are brown.

  10. jaredo10 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    with a crowd cheering in the background ” go get em union “

  11. chip56 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Yeah, the Union thinks MLB overstepped so much that they’ve been trying like crazy to negotiate a deal for the last 3 days.

    Notice that no one is professing Alex’s innocence, they’re trying to attack the process.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      No, they’re attacking the punishment.

      “Your honor, it’s possible my client stole that loaf of bread, but there’s no way in hell that justifies the state seeking twenty years in prison for it.”

      • raysfan1 - Aug 5, 2013 at 6:00 PM

        Poor Jean Valjean.

  12. buffal0sportsfan - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Wait so now they ARE sticking up for A-Rod?

  13. jonirocit - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Last I checked first timers get 50 games? Melky lied and created a fake website and he got 50 . I dislike Arod as much as the next guy but this sounds a little outta hand here . This is why we have unions and for once I think it’s a good thing .

    • js20011041 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      I’m not sure if I’m reading too much into your comment, but why do you “for once” think it’s a good thing for unions to exist? I don’t think that it’s any coincidence that the disparity in income between the common worker and the upper 1% has grown and shrunk in a similar fashion as with union membership. Unions are the best way we have at keeping a balance of power between workers and bosses.

      • Glenn - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Never understood the thumbing down of facts.

    • bencas4 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      I may not be understanding your remark. This is not A-Rod’s first time and the additional games are for the suspected recruiting of the other players. Then like a child, he turns around and claims a conspiracy when they were trying to work with him. He made his own bed.

      • js20011041 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        Yes, because all rules and punishments that are specifically outlined in a contract should be disregarded and instead, treated like a parent disciplining a mouthy child.

  14. js20011041 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    The way that the players union has handled this whole process has been mind boggling. If any other union had so casually NOT stood up for it’s members, the union president would have been out on his ass. I get that the players want to eliminate PEDs. But you don’t do that by giving the commissioner free reign to do whatever the hell he wants. You demand better testing. I’m sure we’ll hear from a lot of players that are happy about the A-Rod suspension, and you know what? They’re idiots. If you give the owners an inch, they’ll take a mile. The owners don’t give two shits about “cleaning up the game.” This is all about trying to set a precedent for which they can void contracts. The players are too stupid to realize it.

  15. mtr75 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    So does the collective bargaining agreement state 50 games for a first-time violation, 100 games for a second violation, and whatever Bud Selig feels like when it comes to certain cases? Because if it doesn’t say that, this suspension is a joke. Yeah, A-Rod cheated. The CBA calls for 50 games. And no, I’m not an A-Rod fan, or a Yankee fan.

    • bostmm - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      I agree. They really do seem to be trying to grind this guy down. I do not have any positive feelings about ARod BUT how do you come up with some of this stuff ! Selig was one of the many people who gained a lot over the roid/ PED growth going back to the McQuire and Sosa era. Plently of basebal people made MILLIONS when baseball made a comeback and if we give them any credit they had to be aware of what was going on. They were the ones in charge but many of the MLB people and Owners are still around. Don’t see any of them having their feet held to the fire. It’s a lot easier to grind this guy down and show they are doing something.

    • fanofevilempire - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      I agree.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      Thumbs up for you not being a Yankee fan. Good for you.

    • bencas4 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      The additional games are for A-Rod recruiting the other players, not simply due to it being his second time. Supposedly there is substantial evidence that shows he recruited players for Biogenesis. That is why he is being held to a higher level.

      • mtr75 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        But it wasn’t his second time. It was his first time. And does the CBA say “if you recruit other players”?

      • bencas4 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        mtr75–he was suspended for 50 games in 2009. It was a very big deal.

      • scotttheskeptic - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        bencas, you are factually incorrect a suspension in 09. In fact, he appeared in 124 games.

      • scotttheskeptic - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        *about a suspension…

      • nbjays - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:36 PM

        He wasn’t suspended in 2009 because his first violation (in 2003) took place when there were no penalties in place for a positive test. In fact, it is because of his positive tests in 2003 (and those of many others), that mandatory testing and penalties were put in place in 2004.

      • mtr75 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:36 PM

        No he wasn’t. He admitted prior PED use from 2001 to 2003, during which there were no policy at all for PED use. He was not suspended in 2009.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 5, 2013 at 6:49 PM

        I’m assuming he was snarking about the ’09 suspension. He can’t possibly be that wrong about something so objectively verifiable, right?

    • rscalzo - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      Now stripe the Yankees of the pennant as they obtained it through the use of drugs. Baseball is a joke. He should be banned for life along with all the others. If a public employee was caught using it, he’d be gone. But these Prima donnas get 12 chances.

  16. turdfurgerson68 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Glad to see the union finally found its sac and decided to side with a-roid.

    Selig is acting out of line here. He’s taking orders from the Yankees so they can avoid paying a-roid his massively overpriced contract.

    Go a-roid, go….f the dishonest Yankees!

  17. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    The MLBPA is right in this case. It’s their duty to protect all players, not just the players people like. IN FACT, this is the VERY thing unions are here for. To ensure that all members are treated equally, and to ensure that ownership follows it’s own rules. So far, MLB has declined to provide any information as to why Alex Rodriguez has been given 4 times the suspension as any other player. I will basically copy/paste my response from a previous thread:

    Still no explanation as to why different players received different penalties for violating the same rules. Very disappointing. Rumors and speculation are not good enough here. If you have one player penalized over 4 times the amount of others, you’d have better give a good reason. Not that I care for Rodriguez one bit, but I want to know exactly why he’s 4 times as evil as the rest of the suspended players. Oh well, it will all come out when this thing inevitably goes before an arbiter/court.

    By my count, total penalties are as follows:
    Alex Rodriguez: 211
    Ryan Braun: 65
    Jordany Valdespin, Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona, Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Cesar Puello, Fautino De Los Santos, Fernando Martinez and Jordan Norberto : 50 Games.

    Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, and Melky Cabrera: 50 games time served.

    Gio Gonzalez, Danny Valencia: Lack of evidence – 0 games.

    • bh192012 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      The problem with your reasoning is, MLB and the MLBPA have no reason to tell you anything about how MLB came to that number specifically. Normally we don’t even know about the suspension until after the arbitration finds a player guilty. So really we shouldn’t know details until then. Actually I’m not sure why we get to know the number of games now instead of after arbitration, but whatever. I think it should have been announced as ARod getting suspended for an unknown number of games, then we find out the rest after arbitration.

      Actually, I’d prefer it to be worked out as separate suspensions for using, interfering, distributing or whatever… that way they could have possibly negociated 50 games right now for use w/o arb. Then while he serves the 50, they can arbitrate the other issues. Maybe they even tried that, who knows.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        You are correct in that MLB does not owe me an explanation. However, it does owe an explanation to the players union and to Alex-Rodriguez and Ryan Brawn.

    • titan1971 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      I agree, all MLBPA members should be treated equally……….211 days for each and everyone of them.

    • bencas4 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      You do realize the extra days are for the recruiting of the other players to go to Biogenesis? It seems everyone has forgotten that little piece of information. Without him, there would be no 20 player list.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM

        Show me where in the CBA or the JDA where it says that aiding other players to obtain banned substance is a punishable offense. Show me where it says that hindering an investigation by the commissioners office is a punishable offense. Show me where it says that lying to the commissioner is a punishable offense. And show me where it says that those are punishable by either a number determined by the commissioner, or by a total of 162 games.

        Is Alex guilty? Yes. Should he be suspended. Yes. But where does the league get the right to suspend him more than 4 times the length of any other player? This is my problem with these suspensions. It feels personal and it feel vindictive, and it takes liberties that have not been negotiated by either the CBA or the JDA.

  18. bh192012 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    “We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. ”

    Craig, do you have access to the evidence against A-Rod? No? hmm, interesting. Kinda hard to agree with one side or other at this point w/o evidence isn’t it? For all we know A-Rod drank unicorn blood and sacrificed minor league catchers to Jo-bu.

    • js20011041 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Here’s a scenario. At your place of employment, you have a contract. In this contract you have a list of rules and specific punishments for breaking those rules. One day, your boss says that he has evidence that you broke one of those rules and he decides to disregard the listed punishments and comes up with a completely arbitrary, and more severe, punishment. Are you upset?

  19. mrpinkca - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    If they Union didn’t feel the need to challenge this dog and pony show they might as well have disbanded.

  20. cosmoman11 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    MLB is lucky that Marvin Miller isn’t still the head of the union. Marvin would probably get Bud banned for life because of the way this is being handled by MLB.

  21. kevinbnyc - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    The real question: If the Union fails to defend Rodriguez as “vigorously” as some simpleton thinks they should, does that mean that the Union is conspiring, along with MLB, to help the Yankees get out from under A-Rod’s contract????

    • js20011041 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      I don’t know if you could consider it a conspiracy. Gross negligence, yes, but not necessarily a conspiracy.

  22. docc1957 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    What this comes down to is that the union could care less about drug use. Just like most other unions protect the membership at all cost. These guys are bag and the only way they can perform is to cheat. The union both condones cheating and drug use by stepping back and saying hey they got you by the nads and you are on your own. We will help as much as we can but you cheat and use drugs so in order to protect the game we are outta here. The union will never tell the whole story or in better words the truth

    • js20011041 - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      Ok, this is among the dumbest lines of thought regarding unions. The purpose of a union is to protect it’s members. They’re like defense attorneys. It’s not their job to determine whether or not the member is guilty. I’m sure that one day, if you are ever brought to trial for a crime that you’d be completely understanding if your attorney worked with the prosecution to convict you.

    • mtr75 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      This is complete nonsense. The penalties for PED use have been collectively bargained. Nowhere in that legally-binding agreement does it say 211 games if A-Rod gets caught. He is a first-time offender and as such is due 50 games. No more, no less than any other player.

  23. onbucky96 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:32 PM


  24. kingjoe1 - Aug 5, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    This is specifically why we have unions; they fight for injustice served by the big corporations. MLB have over stepped their power and took advantage of media leaks to gain public support. This manipulation of the circumstances and unfairly punishing A-Rod beyond the CBA indicates child-like reaction to ARod not suckling at the teet of Bud Selig. While i agree if Arod was caught using PED, he should be suspended as everyone else was suspended. However to punish him no less than 3x what any other player got, is simply abuse of power by MLB.

  25. Walk - Aug 5, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    They have an agreement in place to handle offenses. If you wish to change a contract before it runs out it is not easy to do. Either both sides would need to agree or one side would compensate the other for the changes. Failing that then the contract needs to be renegotiated after or just before the current one ends. What you do not do is make changes midstream and try to justify it by waging war in the court of public opinion. Odds are mlb caves and arod get a lighter sentence and in the next agreement harsher penalties are instituted with the union gaining little to nothing for it except some positive press. Make no mistake mlb is taking the union to the woodshed right now and will own public opinion and will get whatever it wants at the next labor agreement and the union is not even going to know what happened. At some point the union will look at its next contract and realize they have gotten less than in previous years and have little to no power to go with it at the bargaining table. If the union strikes at the next contract negotiations, negotiation of another jda or what have you, mlb will crucify them in the press and public alike. This will effectively end the union, but on the plus side we may never see another player strike.

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