Monday, February 26, 2007
Fehr says union will advise players on Mitchell probe if asked
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The players' association will offer advice
but said it's the choice of each individual whether to cooperate
with former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell's investigation
into steroids use.
"We haven't made any comment about the Mitchell investigation
specifically," union head Donald Fehr said Monday. "What you
should expect, however, is that any time any player has an issue
with that or something arises, then we will give them whatever our
best advice is under the circumstances, and then players make their
Mitchell, hired by commissioner Bud Selig just before the start
of the 2006 season, warned baseball owners in January that a lack
of cooperation with his investigation into steroid use will
"significantly increase" the chances of government involvement.
Fehr, starting his annual spring training tour by meeting with
the Arizona Diamondbacks, said Mitchell's comments were unnecessary
and that important individual rights are involved.
"I don't think there's anything productive for us to engage in
a war," Fehr said. "We spend a lot of time in this country lately
with lawyers trying to get public relations advantage on things.
I'm not sure that when you're dealing with rights which may be in
some sense fairly technical and legal that you ought to be doing
On another drug-related issue, Fehr said the union will "take a
hard look" at any verified test to detect human growth hormone.
That drug cannot be detected by a urine test, and a blood test is
in its early stages of use.
"So far as I know it hasn't been peer reviewed by anybody," he
said. "Nobody knows the details. We'll take a hard look at
whatever it becomes when and if it becomes."
He believes baseball's current anti-drug rules, strengthened
under pressure from Congress, "are working pretty well."
Fehr sidestepped an opinion about Barry Bonds and whether Selig
would honor him if the Giants slugger breaks Hank Aaron's career
home run record.
"You know, look, at this point with all the controversy
surrounding him, you ask Bud what he's going to do and he's going
to demur and basically say `I don't know yet," Fehr said. "We'll
wait and see what happens. I'm not going to prejudge anything."
Fehr said this is his 30th spring training tour, and for a
change, there is no contract rancor between the union and owners.
The sides reached a new labor agreement last October without the
usual public angst.
"It was remarkable," Fehr said. "It never happened before in
my career. It made me feel pretty good."
The agreement currently is in the proofreading stage.