Here’s a deep thought: if Major League Baseball is certain enough that its players took PEDs supplied to them by Biogenesis that they’re willing to file a lawsuit to that effect, why are they not certain enough to simply suspend Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and all of the other players named?
Seriously. You can’t file a lawsuit in good faith unless you are willing to swear under oath that what you put in that lawsuit is true. And for their part, the lawyers, by virtue of the rules of civil procedure and legal ethics, are bound to file only those lawsuits which they believe to be in good faith. My misgivings about the merits of this lawsuit aside, let’s assume — because it is polite to assume such things — that Major League Baseball truly believes and has basis for what it says in the complaint.
If so, is that not enough for them to suspend the players under the Joint Drug Agreement?
There’s not a burden of proof in the JDA. It merely requires, in the case of no positive test result, “just cause.” They have just cause to file the lawsuit — and they already suspended a minor leaguer based on what is now known — so why not just suspend Braun and everyone on a just cause basis now and make them appeal the discipline?
Of course they would appeal it, and with no shortage of vigor. But they’re going to do that regardless of what happens in this lawsuit. Indeed, baseball’s whole end game is to get the Biogenesis records and then suspend players, so they’e going to have this fight eventually, and there’s no way the players’ union will ever concede that what documents MLB is able to get — likely none, but whatever — prove anything. They’ll argue until the end of the world.
So have the fight now without this charade of a lawsuit. Put Braun and everyone on defense. No matter what happens — even if Braun wins on appeal again — Bud Selig can throw up his hands and declare victory, saying that they did what they had to do and, once again, those no-good players got off on a technicality. Or, perhaps, with a new arbitrator in place and all of the stuff that has thus far spun out of Biogenesis, they actually get their men this time.
Seems preferable to monkeying around with a dumb lawsuit.