Union Will Fight Ruling On Steroids

By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 29, 2006

Claiming the union wanted to protect the privacy rights of more than 100 baseball players who flunked drug tests in 2003, MLB Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr said in a statement yesterday he would consult with legal counsel to determine how to keep those records out of the hands of federal investigators.

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that investigators could keep the 100-plus confidential records they found commingled in computer files with the drug test results of eight of 11 players who were the intended target of a search warrant. Wednesday's ruling, which included a lengthy dissent from one of the three judges on the panel, partially overturned decisions from three lower courts.

The ruling means more professional baseball players could be ensnared in the drug probe known as BALCO that has already resulted in more than a dozen athlete suspensions and five criminal convictions. San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is the subject of a perjury investigation in connection with BALCO.

"Under a search warrant seeking information about only 11 baseball players, confidential records for every player were seized, along with confidential records of thousands of other people with no connection to baseball, including many with no connection to sports," Fehr said in the statement. "We will consult with our counsel, and then determine what our next step should be in our fight to protect the Constitutional rights -- including the basic right to privacy -- of our members."

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