Wednesday, February 19, 2014
While major-league baseball players earn millions of dollars and club owners share billions in revenues, minor-leaguers are paid $3,000 to $7,500 per season and train for weeks without pay, in violation of minimum wage and labor laws, their attorneys charge in a lawsuit. The suit filed against Major League Baseball and three teams, including the San Francisco Giants, said baseball executives and club owners “have preyed upon minor leaguers, who are powerless to combat the collusive power of the MLB cartel.”
No apparent shortage of labor, though.
The Yankee Clapper
Posted: February 19, 2014 at 05:53 PM | 21 comment(s)
baseball is awash in money
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
And I thought this was fast stacking!
Wait a second. The Players Association argued that the maximum penalty was 50 games as a first violation, but that Section 7.G.2 provided the “governing framework”? And that Section 7.A. — which does contain the 50-100-lifetime penalty scheme — doesn’t apply when there has been “continuous use or possession of multiple substances”? Frankly, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it makes me wonder if the Players Association didn’t clearly articulate its view of the governing agreements or the arbitrator misconstrued the union’s position.
Moreover, the arbitrator’s interpretation of Section 7.A. omits a key portion of the language. He points to the first part of the section that talks about a player “who tests positive for a Performance Enhancing Substance” (his emphasis) and concludes that the section couldn’t apply to a situation involving evidence of multiples uses of a PED. But he completely ignores the second part of the section: a player who otherwise violates the Program through the possession or use of a Performance Enhancing Substance will be subject to the 50-100-lifetime regime (my emphasis). What does that language mean if it doesn’t apply to players found to have used or possessed PEDs absent a positive drug test?...
In other words, 50-game suspensions can be stacked one on top of the other when MLB has evidence that a player used one or more PEDs on multiple occasions.
Think about that. When a player tests positive for a PED, and it’s the first violation, he is suspended for 50 games. But how many players use a PED only one time and that just happens to be when he is tested? Isn’t is more likely that a player who tests positive for PEDs had used on multiple occasions over an extended period of time?
And yet the arbitrator’s decision grants MLB broad powers to discipline players much more harshly when the league’s own testing program fails and the league develops independent evidence of use.
Whatever you think of Alex Rodriguez, Tony Bosch, and the entire Biogenesis mess, it’s hard to accept such an absurd legal result.
Guys, I’m serious, Neifi Perez is going to have a legacy.
When Neifi Perez tested positive three times in a short period for the same drug, it counted as three positive tests, even if it was for the same substance. Shyam Das, the arbitrator at the time, held that each positive test was a violation subject to separate discipline. This, union sources said, infuriated the MLBPA to the point that in the next round of collective bargaining, the joint drug agreement included a provision that a player could not be penalized more than once for the same PED but could be subject to multiple penalties if one test showed testosterone and another two weeks later human chorionic gonadotropin.
From the start, MLB argued that the Neifi Perez precedent allowed the league to pursue what amounted to three separate cases against Rodriguez. Moreover, rather than the standard punishment based on rule 7(A) of the JDA, which outlines the standard 50/100/lifetime punishment, Rodriguez would be subject to rule 7(G), a catch-all standard that dealt with violations of the program outside of the typical positive test.
It’s an important distinction. While much post-decision curiosity focused on the league’s seeming rewriting of the JDA, the union agreed 7(G) was the proper rule to mete out discipline, lest Rodriguez be punished under 7(A) and get 50 games for HGH, 100 for testosterone and be banned for life because of IGF-1.
The broadness of 7(G)‘s “just cause” standard allowed MLB to pursue the awkward 211-game penalty and for Horowitz to hand out the largest non-lifetime ban of any kind in baseball history due to “the most egregious violations of the JDA reported to date.”
Even without a single positive test, MLB used 7(G) to argue Rodriguez’s continuous use of PEDs more than covered the threshold of a non-analytical positive, a position Horowitz agreed with thanks to the testimony of Bosch and the messages that corroborated his testimony. It was far from a safe case. Whereas with positive drug tests and 7(A) discipline the league almost always wins, sources from both sides of the case believe enough burden and risk exist with 7(G) to prevent the league from taking the Rodriguez precedent and turning it into a new standard meant to abuse the JDA.
Not only would it ruin the begrudgingly respectful labor relationship that has kept baseball work stoppage-free going on two decades, it would apply to every case the sort of comportment – not just using PEDs and lying about it but obstructing the case – that simply has not existed before.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Here’s the filing.
Alex Rodriguez has turned on his own union.
In an effort to nullify the 162-game suspension he received on Saturday for his alleged involvement with Biogenesis, the Yankees’ beleaguered superstar filed a new lawsuit in Manhattan federal court Monday that names both Major League Baseball (and commissioner Bud Selig) and the MLB Players Association as defendants…
The lawsuit details several complaints in which Team A-Rod alleges the union, long viewed as one of the most effective and powerful unions in the United States, declined to intervene on A-Rod’s behalf. Among them are the failure to stop MLB’s lawsuit against Anthony Bosch, which led to Bosch cooperating with MLB; a refusal to let Rodriguez select his own representative (instead of the PA’s general counsel David Prouty) to the three-person arbitration panel; a lack of effort to halt media leaks about A-Rod’s case and public comments made by Michael Weiner, the former executive director of the Players Association who died on Nov. 21, that implied Rodriguez’s guilt in the matter…
The suit also alleges myriad transgressions by Fredric Horowitz, the independent arbitrator, during the 12-day hearing.
Following the precedent set in The World v. The Seinfeld Finale.
A U.S. District Court judge rejected Alex Rodriguez’s request Monday to file a redacted version of a complaint to overturn the arbitration award that would have sealed arbitrator Fredric Horowitz’s written decision on why he hit Rodriguez with a season-long suspension…
“Given the intense public interest in commissioner’s Selig’s disclosures last night it’s difficult to imagine any portion should be under seal,” Pauley said, citing First Amendment considerations and ruling that A-Rod would have to file an unredacted version of a complaint to overturn the arbitration award.
According to attorneys Jordan Siev and Jim McCarroll of the Reed Smith law firm, Rodriguez will file a complaint in the next few hours that is separate from the existing lawsuit Rodriguez has already filed against MLB and commissioner Bud Selig.
The complaint will seek to overturn the arbitration award and the historic suspension. “It’s an attack on the arbitration,” Siev said as he left the courthouse.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Major League Baseball chief operating officer Rob Manfred is on the witness list for Alex Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211-game suspension in the Biogenesis probe, a person familiar with the process said Wednesday.
Manfred is the league’s representative on the three-person panel overseeing the arbitration process, but he has no say in the final decision made by chief arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who can uphold the suspension, overturn it or reduce it…
Rodriguez’s attorneys are likely to challenge Manfred’s appearance, though a source said Manfred has been on the witness list for some time. Manfred’s testimony is considered key in MLB’s contention that Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch was not paid for his testimony. Manfred, who is second to commissioner Bud Selig, led MLB’s investigation into Biogenesis.
George Nicolau, a former chief arbitrator, said panel members, who assist the arbitrator in procedural issues and matters related to their respective parties, have testified before. “Not just before me, but before other arbitrators,” he said. Nicolau said it would be up to Horowitz to determine the scope of Manfred’s testimony. The sworn testimony given in arbitration hearings could be requested in later court proceedings. “If it’s a matter of contesting the [sic], the entire record would go before the judge.”
While baseball arbitration is considered an informal process, legal experts view the potential testimony by Manfred as unusual. “Rules of evidence would prohibit a hearing officer from testifying at his own hearing,” New Jersey attorney John Furlong said. “If he does testify, it speaks volumes to the lack of adherence to a semblance of evidence protocol.” Manhattan attorney Stephan Kallas added, “I would think down the road if Alex Rodriguez decides to bring the arbitration decision to a federal judge that it’s possible that a judge would frown upon this method of arbitration.”
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Who cares about post-season baseball? MLB is engaging in exciting legal action this October!
Judge Whyte began the proceedings with questions about the existence and scope of baseball’s antitrust exemption. It was clear from his questions that the judge had read the motion papers and the case law in detail. He was prepared with pointed questions for both sides.
Joe Cotchett, who represents the City, addressed the court first. Cotchett argued that the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have narrowed the exemption significantly, and that it now covers only the “business of baseball.” Cotchett then argued that the “business of baseball” is limited to “the play on the field” and does not include matters relating to team location and relocation.
John Keker argued for MLB. He told the court that the exemption was alive and well and that the “business of baseball” includes — at a minimum — league structure and organization, franchise location, broadcast agreements, and revenue sharing….
If I were a betting woman — and I am not — I would wager that Judge Whyte will dismiss the federal antitrust claims, either based on lack of standing or the antitrust exemption, or both. I’m less sure where his thinking is on the state law claims — both on the question of his jurisdiction to decide them if he dismisses the federal claims and on the merits of the claims. It is unusual for a court to dismiss a case outright on a motion to dismiss, without providing the plaintiff an opportunity to re-state its claims in light of the court’s decision. Unusual, but not unheard of.
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