MLBPA Chief Michael Weiner With Potential Game Changer On Biogenesis

Major League Baseball Players’ Association chief Michael Weiner held his annual All-Star Game press conference this morning. That is news in and of itself, in light of Weiner’s battle with brain cancer that has now sidelined him to a wheelchair. But even in his weakening condition, Weiner made news on the Biogenesis front.

I followed up and Bill Shakin replied.

Why is this big news? Because the plain language of the Joint Drug Policy says that a player who violates the policy by use or possession of a performance enhancing substance is subject to the same discipline as a player who tests positive. As I explained in the post MLB and Biogenesis: A Primer, Section 7.A of the Joint Drug Policy states:

A player who tests positive for a Performance Enhancing Substance, or otherwise violates the Program through the possession or use of a Performance Enhancing Substance, will be subject to the discipline set forth below. (emphasis mine) 1. First violation: 50-game suspension; 2. Second violation: 100-game suspension; 3. Third violation: Permanent suspension from Major League and Minor League Baseball.

Weiner, with Bill Shakin’s clarification, appeared to say that if the Biogenesis investigation turns up evidence of a player’s use or possession, the league would proceed under the “just cause” provisions of the Joint Drug Policy and the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I explained those provisions, as well, in the Primer post and further in last week’s post entitled “Is Selig Preparing To Use The Nuclear Option?” Essentially, the just cause provisions give the commissioner the power to discipline a player if he acts against the best interests of baseball.

But that sort of provision wouldn’t typically come into play when there is a more specific discipline scheme that already covers a particular kind of conduct. One possibility is that Weiner and the union believes that Section 7.A. does’t apply when a violation can be proved only by circumstantial evidence. That is, if the league develops evidence of a player’s use of PES only through Biogenesis notes and the testimony of Tony Bosch, then that isn’t sufficient to trigger the 50-100-lifetime penalties. The Joint Drug Policy doesn’t even hint at that, but it could be an understanding between the union and the league that arose during negotiations of the agreements.

If Biogenesis-related suspensions for use or possession of a PES don’t start at 50 games, where do they start?

Further tweets from the national baseball writers reported Weiner to say that the suspension lengths were negotiable.

That’s good news for a player who’s never tested positive for PES but whose name shows up on some Biogenesis documents. Maybe he only gets a five or ten game suspension because there’s only circumstantial evidence. But it could be bad news for others, like Alex Rodriguez, who are reported to have had a long-standing relationship with Tony Bosch and Biogenesis. If the league develops evidence of pervasive use or possession by A-Rod, it could seek much harsher penalties, even if they fall short of a lifetime ban.

In any appeal from a suspension, MLB will have the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the player violated the Joint Drug Policy and that the punishment is just and reasonable.

We hoped you liked reading MLBPA Chief Michael Weiner With Potential Game Changer On Biogenesis by Wendy Thurm!

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Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and NewYorker.com. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.

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Steve
Guest
Steve

bad news* towards the bottom. Sorry, I have to for future readers… it irks me.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

No, you most certainly did not *have* to.

Jaack
Guest
Jaack

He could be feeding orphans with the wages he gets from the Grammar and Spelling 3rd Reich.

Scraps
Guest
Scraps

Yeah, and “who’s” substituted for “whose” also. Uh-huh. For future readers.

Look. FanGraphs is free. There is no reason to comment with simple text corrections. Go down and open the “Contact Us” window. If they ignore the correction, fine; if you are irked, leave.

To comment like that is not for future readers. It’s for you.

Synovia
Guest
Synovia

“Look. FanGraphs is free.”

Any webpage that is serving adds and putting cookies on my machine is not free.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

Hey, are you the Steve who keeps showing up late to Corey Kluber Society meetings? Are you ever going to remember the doughnuts?

ettin
Guest
ettin

You should have spelled it “donuts” just to irk him.

Uncle Sam
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Uncle Sam

Beat me to it!

Uncle Sam
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Uncle Sam

Donuts. Donuts. This is America. It’s donuts.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

If the Americans had invented English, it wouldn’t be called English!

Mike Green
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Mike Green

Incidentally, why are they called doughnuts? I get the dough part, but what about the “nuts”? They don’t look like a Planters product or like testicles. They’re not hexagonal or octagonal like a nut that fits a bolt.

Here in Canada, we have doughnuts and Timbits. Strangely, Timbits do resemble testicles…

Homer Price
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Homer Price

They are 0s (which Brits call ‘naughts’ or ‘noughts’) made out of dough. Doughnaughts>doughnuts>donuts>yum.

pitnick
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pitnick

That’s a cute explanation, but I find no evidence for it…

They were originally described as “balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat.” The holes came later. As small brownish balls, they probably looked vaguely nut-like.

shadow8pro
Guest
shadow8pro

Nuts, as in nuts and bolts.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B

It was obviously from the response given to the question–

“Pardon me kind sir, do you have any fried dough?”

(Shakes head no)

“NUTS!”

Jason B
Guest
Jason B

Of course that was a simpler, less profane time. Nowadays instead of “Nuts!” we would say, “Sh!T!!” So instead of Dough?Nuts! or doughnuts, they would now be called doughsh!t.