Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, January 06, 2005


This was yet another letter I wrote to the Milwaukee Journal over the steroid mess, though it was more about the prevalent antagonistic attitude toward labor and citizens’ rights in general:

March 21, 2004

I am continually dismayed by the media's incessant mischaracterization of Donald Fehr related to his Senate hearing appearance on steroid use. Jim Stingl's Sunday column contained this typically banal and under researched example.

"As he denies that performance-enhancing drugs are bad for baseball, you'd normally find his head in his own behind."

I watched the entire hearing and Mr. Fehr was never in disagreement with anyone concerning the danger of steroid use in baseball, let alone in society in general. No sanene person could take such a position, and yet we leap to pin it on this man. Why such enthusiasm?

Don Fehr believes that matters related to the players' employment are subject to negotiation. Is he out of step with the times in taking this position? Sadly, there is no doubt. He believes that mandatory random drug testing is contrary to our constitutional rights, whether done by the state or as a condition of employment. Is he out of step with the times in taking this position? Frighteningly, there is no doubt.

He believes that just cause for being searched is not that 5% of one's community has been shown to have contraband. Is he out of step with the times in taking this position? Astoundingly, there is no doubt. I pray there are enough like him to save us from the pragmatists as our cars, homes and bodies are being subjected to search with accelerating frequency.

" ...that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This was the second statement declared by the founders of our nation. Donald Fehr is out of step with he times in that he remembers, as do I, that once these rights were interpreted to have been be bestowed upon the individual.

I am certain as well that Donald Fehr believes, as I do, that "the pursuit of happiness" means having the right to enjoy the inventions of humankind, including employment, housing and transportation. These are not privileges, these are rights! Society must self-police but our founding principles preclude that we must forgo one
right for another.

Baseball players would have to stand up to uphold these same rights and others for the umpires, concessionaires and the people who deliver their Gatorade before I could consider their association as a legitimate champion for the rights of working people. I do submit however that what we are seeing is an example, admittedly outdated, of a collection of workers with some semblance of authority in determining the conditions of their employment. This is so rare today that even the Senators were unsure how to respond in the face of such bravado.

We know in our hearts that the workplace is increasingly unfair to us. We know in our hearts, whether we are law breakers or not, that when we see a roadblock it is with some sadness and fear. We know in our hearts that when the school indiscriminately searches our child's belongings a seed of anger is planted. So why do we attack Donald Fehr so vehemently? Perhaps it is a reaction something like nervous laughter.

Is Donald Fehr behind the times? I, for one, hope very much that he is only between times.


Every time I hear about things like driving being a privilege instead of a right I just get crazy! I don’t mind following the laws, but if do leave me the F*** alone! I find it hard to believe that Jefferson and his mates used “reasonable search” to denote anything other than reasonable in the light of each individual situation, not that society could reason that some percentage was breaking the law and so allow random search. Airline security? I don't have time for that today!


At 11:25 AM, Blogger Bullock said...

Once upon a long time ago, a society looked upon sports as a worthy recreational past time, something to do after work hours or on special designated days. They watched and admired athletes' performances and knew they worked hard to get themselves to a fine tuned competitive level.Some societies bestowed special favors and privledges to make their lives easier.
Today's athletes enjoy a standard of living unsurpassed in history. For an average pro career of 5-10 years, they can expect to make an average yearly salary that an average joe won't make in a lifetime.Plus pensions, too.
What you have today is a group of pampered individuals with high powered agents and lawyers, who want their own way all the time.Their rights? If drug testing, right or wrong, is a reality in our society and a condition of employment, what makes this individual exempt?
"I don' wan be a role model." (but buy my jersey)
" I doan know what that creame was, my trainer he give it to me." (not accountable for my actions or words)
You can argue privileges vs. rights on many issues but pro ballplayers...? Bionic, blood doped, hormone-infused, over-priced entertainers. They make a Faustian deal but most are willing to accept it.Show biz and celebrities have always had their own selfish class in society with their own 'special' rights.
Bottom line, if athletes don't want drug testing for a relatively short time of their lives, they should try free agency in the real world.

At 2:44 PM, Blogger sequoit said...

It wasn't really about baseball players, I could give a crap about their private lives or their personalities beyond what I have to see in the arena .

It's partly about human dignity. If drug testing is right then we should all stop off at the vet's on the way to work at least twice a week to urinate in front of strangers. If it's wrong then my point is not that the players have special rights, but more that they have rights others who don't embrace solidarity lack.


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