Players Association Releases Statement About Ortiz, Ramirez

Just when David Ortiz is getting ready to speak out about a report claiming he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, the MLB Players Association released this:

The 104 players on the infamous list may not have tested positive after all.

Michael Weiner, the incoming head of the Players Association, released a statement prior to Ortiz's news conference in which he insinuated that the Red Sox slugger may not have committed baseball's most shameful crime.

Weiner hinted at his disgust over the New York Times' "active pursuit" of the names on the list, reiterating the fact that releasing the names violates court orders.  He also said that, in conjunction with the league's collective bargaining agreement, the Association is not permitted to supply players with specifics regarding their tests results — which means the Association cannot tell players which substances they allegedly tested positive for.

Weiner added that the Association cannot even confirm whether or not certain players' names appear on the list.

He also suggested that in order to prove that the players who tested positive were actually using PEDs, further scientific testing is required. Legal nutritional supplements could have triggered false-positive tests.

Weiner concluded that the Association plans to honor the court's ruling that the names on the list remain anonymous.

You can view the full statement here:

The New York Times recently reported that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez "are
among the roughly 100 Major League Baseball players to test positive for
performance-enhancing drugs in 2003." The reported sources for this statement
were "lawyers with knowledge of the [test] results" who "spoke anonymously
because the testing information is under seal by a court order." The Association
has previously offered its views regarding this patent violation of court orders by
attorneys, and The New York Times' active pursuit and publication of what it
openly acknowledges to be information that may not be legally disclosed.

In light of the Times' report, and all the other newspaper reports it has spurred,
the Association feels compelled to offer the following additional comments:
“The sealing orders, which were appropriately issued by the various courts to
maintain the collectively-bargained confidentiality of the testing, prevent the
Association from supplying a player with specifics regarding his 2003 test results,
or from discussing those specifics publicly. The practical effect of the sealing
orders, if that confidentiality is to be maintained, is to further preclude the Players
Association from confirming or denying whether a player's name appears on any
list which purportedly discloses the 2003 test results.

The result is that any union
member alleged to have tested positive in 2003 because his name supposedly
appears on some list — most recently David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez — finds
himself in an extremely unfair position; his reputation has been threatened by a
violation of the court's orders, but respect for those orders now leaves him
without access to the information that might permit him to restore his good name.

Unlike those anonymous lawyers who have violated the court orders — and The
New York Times, which has authorized an active and willful pursuit of those
violations — the Association will respect the courts' rulings. But we can legally
say the following, each of which we suggest must be considered in assessing
any and all newspaper reports stating a player has "tested positive for steroids in
2003.”

First, the number of players on the so-called "government list" meaningfully
exceeds the number of players agreed by the bargaining parties to have tested
positive in 2003. Accordingly, the presence of a player's name on any such list
does not necessarily mean that the player used a prohibited substance or that
the player tested positive under our collectively bargained program.

 Second, substantial scientific questions exist as to the interpretation of some of
the 2003 test results. The more definitive methods that are utilized by the lab
that administers the current Drug Agreement were not utilized by the lab
responsible for the anonymous testing program in 2003. The collective
bargaining parties did not pursue definitive answers regarding these inconclusive
results, since those answers were unnecessary to the administration of the 2003
program.

Third, in 2003, legally available nutritional supplements could trigger an initial
"positive" test under our program. To account for this, each "test" conducted in
2003 actually consisted of a pair of collections: the first was unannounced and
random, the second was approximately 7 days later, with the player advised to
cease taking supplements during the interim. Under the 2003 program, a test
could be initially reported as "positive", but not treated as such by the bargaining
parties on account of the second test.

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