Baseball wants off-the-field conduct on the table in labor negotiations

Steroids are so 2010.


With high profile baseball players like Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera and Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo getting arrested this year for DUI, Major League Baseball aims to crack down on certain off-the-field conduct that could give the sport a black eye.

More on how this could factor into the upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations, after the jump.

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Bloomberg’s Erik Matuszewski reports that Major League Baseball will seek the option to discipline players involved in off-the-field cases, such as driving under the influence, when labor contract talks begin after this season.

“This will be a topic of negotiations this time around,” Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said today in a telephone interview. “Right now what we do with the union is a result of informal understandings, there’s nothing in the agreement,” Courtney said. “The team or commissioner could discipline an employee for off-duty misconduct.”

The Bloomberg article cites four other DUI incidents involving MLB players — all within the last four months. None of players were disciplined.

Helping the sport and its players.

According to this post by Molly DiBianca, only four states have laws that preclude employers for disciplining employees based on legal off-duty behavior. Obviously, DUI does not qualify. However, it does not appear that punishing players is the driver behind making this off-the-field issue a part of labor negotiations. Mr. Courtney affirmed that MLB has other motives:

“Frankly, with alcohol abuse, our approach has been one more of making sure the players get adequate help to keep their careers on track as opposed to pure discipline.”

Hopefully both baseball and the players’ union can agree that this issue is one that can be addressed in a way that will not only protect the players, but also the sport.