OK, now what?
Reputations are ruined. Clouds of suspicion will always be there. This may be the classic definition of too little, too late for the exposed.
On Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal agents overstepped their bounds when they seized the list of the 104 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
Investigators only had a warrant for 10 drug test results as part of the BALCO case, not the 104 results it seized.
Baseball stars including Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Sammy Sosa have all had their names leaked and careers tarnished because they were supposedly on this “sealed” list.
Ortiz was asked to comment on the ruling before his game. “I don’t care,” he said, never even looking up from his computer.
Other baseball figures had more to say on the topic.
Braves third baseman Chipper Jones: “ A lot of people’s credibility and a lot of people’s dignity have been damaged in this. It’s not fair to the clean players. It’s not fair to the players who’ve been leaked. Get ‘em all out there so we can start the healing process.”
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen: “Whoever’s got the list, get them out of there, make us suffer for a couple days and move on. Just get the thing out.”
Los Angles Dodger manager Joe Torre: “ I hate the whole systematic leaking of names, because it’s never going to go away. Even though it’s something that’s six years old, it keeps becoming current news. It’s not giving our sport a chance to heal.”
St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Adam Wainwright has a different take: “ Leak the names that leaked the names. People are obviously breaking the law acquiring those names, and it’s not the agreement the federal government had with Major League Baseball.”
In 2003, baseball players agreed to drug testing without penalties to determine the extent of use in the sport. If more than 5 percent tested positive, mandatory drug testing would be put in place.
In 2004, federal agents obtained a search warrant and seized the records from the two labs. The court ruled that the government went outside its boundaries.
“This was an obvious case of deliberate overreaching by the government in an effort to seize data as to which it lacked probable cause,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote.
He agrees that the players' union had good reason to want to keep this a secret.
“Some players appear to have suffered this very harm as a result of the government seizure,” he said.
So, it seems now that the rest of the players on the list appear to be safe. This ruling should prevent any leaks to the media. Only time will tell, but I think we have been down this road before.
Copyright AP - Associated Press