Friday, February 8, 2008

Don Fehr

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and players association head Don Fehr recently appeared together before a Senate committee looking into the steroids scandal in baseball. Selig, of course, has done what he can but his hands are tied because most actions require approval of the Players Association, which has been intransigent. Thus, it comes down to Fehr as the obstacle to progress.

Fehr's attitude is vaguely troubling. I think the problem is he continues to think and act like the lawyer he is. He is overwhelmingly concerned about protecting the "rights" of players accused of wrongdoing, rather than looking out for the good of the game as a whole. But this is a self-defeating attitude, because what is good for the game as a whole is also good for the majority of the players,

What about the "rights" of those players who did not cheat, and were put at a disadvantage by those who did? Don't they have rights also, the right to compete on a level playing field. Fehr's concern for the cheaters is very misplaced, and makes me sick the more I think about it. His "invasion of privacy" mantra sounds lamer and lamer the longer this goes on.

I am reminded of an incident a number of years ago, when Albert Belle gave Fernando Vina a hard elbow in the face during a play at second base. It was a blatant attempt to injure Vinba, and baseball therefore assessed a punishment against Belle. The Players Association took up Belle's cause and appealed the punishment. Then poor Vina spoke out, saying "What about me, I'm a member of the Players Association too. Aren't they going to look after me as well?"

This illustrates the dilemma Fehr and his cronies get into when they lose sight of the larger picture, and obsess too much about "rights".

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