FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Michael Weiner, the new executive director of the Players Association, talked with the media at City of Palms Park following his meeting with the Red Sox.
Weiner said the primary focus of the meeting with the team centered around the collective bargaining agreement, which he believes will be in the midst of being negotiated next spring training. The current CBA expires in December 2011.
One subject that hits close to home for the Red Sox was whether or not there might be any more leaks of names on the list of players who had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs under the confidential test by Major League Baseball in 2003. Weiner, who was front and center in advising David Ortiz when the Sox' designated hitter's name was leaked from the list, said he is gratified that no further names have been released since Ortiz was singled out by the New York Times in late July of last season.
"The legal status hasn't changed. The matter is still pending in the appellate courts and everything is still subject to those confidentiality orders that were discussed in Yankee Stadium," Weiner said. "I'm pleased, and pleased may be an understatement, that there haven't been any leaks since then. We've done everything that we can legally, and again, I couldn't then and I can't get into all the specifics of what we've done. But we've done everything we can to prevent further links. I don't know whether there's cause and effect there, but I'm pleased that it hasn't happened. Are we out of the woods? All the legal protections are there. I can't say until the case is finally resolved that there's not the potential or a threat for it, but I'm pleased we haven't seen anything since last summer."
Weiner also said that while he can understand why some players might want the full list of players who tested positive to be made public, there is a good reason why the Players Association views the continued confidentiality as important.
"First, I tell a player that you've spoke your mind because any player in this union has always been free to speak their mind and that's important," Weiner said. "Second, first I say to him there are court orders that prevent us from doing it, and two I give them a little bit of the history because maybe they don't have it. When we negotiated the first agreement in 2002 that the union and the commissioner's office, again this is an agreement, promised all of the players that were subjected to 2003 testing that that would be non-identified and confidential.
"It's not a question if whether a player did something right or did something wrong or judged what a player might or might not have done in 2003. There were rules in place and those guys were promised that these are what the rules were be. I think to a man once that explanation is given, they understand. I understand what motivates a player to say, as bad as it is to talk with you guys about the fact they struck out with guys on second and third, I'd rather do that then talk about drugs all the time, why can't we get rid of this story. But that motivation isn't enough to overcome the legal situation and those promises."
Other topics Weiner touched on were:
- Revenue sharing figures to be a major issue in the up-coming collective bargaining agreement. Weiner points out that teams which receive revenue sharing money have to report what they allocated it toward in an April report each year.
- The Players Assocation is open to HGH testing, but only if it is scientifically-proven to be accurate, which they don't deem to be the case right now. The current agreement in regards to drug testing is reviewed on a yearly basis as to keep up with any scientific developments.
- Negotiating in any sort of re-alignment is "particularly challenging" because of all of the other factors that are tied to such a move.
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