If you missed it last night, Major League Baseball is reported to be considering a suspension of Josh Hamilton, possibly as long as a year. My take on how such a penalty would be a horrible and damn nigh obscene idea can be read here.
But one thing I left out of last night’s post was a question: how and why in the hell are the deliberations of the panel considering Josh Hamilton’s fate being released to reporters?
Go read the original report from Bill Shaikin and Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Note just how much detail about the panel’s deliberations are there. We have the makeup of the panel, the content of their deliberations, the status of their deliberations and their plans to move forward. All of which come from “a person familiar with the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the situation is not supposed to be discussed publicly.”
This, combined with stories last week about the substances which Hamilton was using during his relapse, shows that Major League Baseball has no compunction whatsoever about making Hamilton’s relapse — a tragic and very personal part of an addict’s life which, from what can be told at the moment, is having impacts on his family as well — newspaper fodder. That they’re releasing this information is unconscionable. And that’s before you remember that, per the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement, all of this stuff is supposed to be confidential.
But of course leaks in drug cases are nothing new. You’ll recall that late union director Michael Weiner slammed the leaks in the Biogenesis case two years ago. He said at the time:
“The leaking of confidential information to members of the media interferes with the thoroughness and credibility of the Biogenesis investigation. These repeated leaks threaten to harm the integrity of the Joint Drug Agreement and call into question the required level of confidentiality needed to operate a successful prevention program. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged the results of the investigation based on unsubstantiated leaks that are a clear violation of the Joint Drug Agreement.”
But here we are again.
The entire universe of people who should be privy to information about Josh Hamilton’s relapse and potential punishment is quite small. On baseball’s side: Rob Manfred. His close aides. The panel in question, which is said to have four people on it. A random lawyer or two. On Hamilton’s side: him, his lawyer, Tony Clark and a very small universe of union officials.
How Major League Baseball can’t keep a lid on this, especially given that they’re reportedly still in the middle of it all, is pretty pathetic. And does absolutely nothing to help a drug addict in crisis or to give comfort to any future player with drug problems who want to stay out of the shadows and come into the light.