Saturday, March 13, 2004

Welcome to this week's edition of the "Guys who don't Get It" awards!

Our first award nominee is Major League Baseball Players Association head Donald Fehr, who got dope-slapped by Senator John McCain during testimony about steroids in front of the Senate Commerce Committee last week.

The senators were meeting with Fehr, "Commissioner" Bud Selig, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and NFL Players Association head Gene Upshaw to discuss the issues surrounding the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports. The hearing was prompted by the recent revelations that a company called BALCO provided steroids to Barry Bonds personal trainer and that MLB's own testing determined that between 5-7% of players were tested positive for these substances.

Tagliabue and Upshaw were practically holding hands, telling Congress that they were in complete agreement on the NFL's stringent testing plan. Bud Selig stated that MLB would be willing to work with the players to institute a better plan. Fehr, meanwhile, rambled on about the union being opposed to searches without cause and stuff like that. McCain and the other senators grilled him, with the best line being McCain saying that the union is "aiding and abetting cheaters."

Here's why Fehr doesn't get it. His position is to look exclusively after what he thinks is the short term benefit of the players. He doesn't seem to grasp that what is good for the game of Baseball is in the long term interest of the players. He doesn't seem to get the fact that people are laughing at Barry Bonds as he goes after one of the greatest records in sports. He doesn't seem to get the concept that the integrity of the sport is being undermined, because the fans don't know who is cheating and who isn't.

Baseball needs to get with the program and implement a serious steroid testing policy similar to the NFL's, or even the policy baseball has in place for minor league players. Donald Fehr and the players association need to start to be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.

Our second nominee this week is New England Patriots cornerback Ty Law. Ty complained in today's Boston Globe that the Patriots latest contract offer to him was a "slap in the face". Law currently has two years left on his current contract. That contract, when he signed it, made him the highest paid cornerback in football. Now Law wants an even bigger contract and claims that the Pats aren't showing him respect by granting him whatever he wants. He's also said that he doesn't want to be a Patriot anymore since the team didn't grant his request.

My suggestion to Law: shut up and play. You signed a lucrative contract that will pay you over $7 million this season. When the contract is complete, or when the Patriots release you, you are free to seek out another deal. Until then, no one wants to hear about how awful it is that the Patriots are paying you more in a season than most of us will see in our lifetimes. And then he claims it isn't about the money. One thing about pro athletes: when they say it isn't about the money, it's most definitely about the money.

I love Ty Law as a player. He's one of the greatest Patriots ever and will no doubt have a spot waiting for him in Canton when his playing days are over. But no one wants to listen to him whine about his contract.


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