07.31.09

Calcaterra : PED Users Have Rights, Too

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, The Law at 2:59 pm by

ESPN allowed alleged humorist Colin Cowherd to complain on Thursday’s “SportsCenter” that Major League Baseball had to stop the “drip drip drip” of slowly leaking names from the infamous gang of 104 PED users of 2003 by making the full list available (“the NFL would just release the entire list the day before the Super Bowl”, argued Cowherd). Presumably, someone at Bristol U. took time  to explain to the network’s prized mental midget that MLB isn’t the party responsible for a few of the names ending up in the New York Times.   In Chicago, Ozzie Guillen demanded “can somebody in baseball, please, we’re all begging people, get that stupid list out and move on. This is ridiculous. This is embarrassing.” To which Circling The Bases’ Craig Calcaterra replies, “Setting aside the fact that such a thing is practically impossible — actually releasing it all would require a court order itself, and no one else involved in the case has any incentive for it to be lifted — it’s also a horrible idea.”

The list, as everyone seems to be forgetting, would not have existed if the people whose names appear on it (and about a thousand others) hadn’t been promised that it would remain confidential while it existed and would be destroyed soon after it was created. Those promises were broken, first by the players’ own union, who violated the players’ trust, and then by the federal government, who, in the opinion of many, overstepped previously-established legal grounds to seize the information in the course of their BALCO investigation. An investigation, mind you, that had nothing to do with the vast majority of the players on the list.

The listed players have had at least two legal duties owed to them breached and two legal rights entitled to them violated: the fiduciary duties owed to them by their union, the contractual duties owed to them by baseball and the testing lab, their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, supposedly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and the right to have their medical information kept private, guaranteed by HIPAA. It’s too late for Manny, Papi, A-Rod, and Sosa, but around 100 other of these guys still have not been damaged by these egregious acts, though they will be if their names are released as everyone is so blithely demanding.

And what is to be gained by such a release? The satisfaction of the media, who would love to report and opine on this some more, and the satisfaction of the general public who either gets off on the salaciousness of it or, more commonly, simply wants this all to go away and thinks the quicker the names are out the more likely that is to happen. Call me crazy, but I don’t think my rights to privacy and to the security of my personal medical information are something to be preserved or denied based on how good a story this makes for someone.

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