|Players Should have some Right to Privacy|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on May 24, 2009
But doesnâ€™t a player have the same rights as any other citizen?Â Even Hollywood stars, beleaguered by paparazzi, donâ€™t have to put up with having their confidential records exposed, despite all the gossip they might create. Why does baseball have a right to view a record that might say player X had gonorrhea, or that player B had hemorrhoids, or that player C has erectile dysfunction, or player D irregular liver enzymes?Â Â The answer is, If it doesnâ€™t affect their play on the field, and even if it does, baseball shouldnâ€™t have a right to look that far into a personâ€™s medical history.
It is one of the big stumbling blocks the union had with MLBâ€™s drug testing policy.Â The invasion of privacy and the security of medical records troubled them and rightfully so.Â No other union in the country has to deal with those kinds of provisions.Â In fact no one outside of the US military and extremely sensitive governmental positions has to yield as much about their medical records as todayâ€™s baseball players do.
Thatâ€™s troubling.Â Baseball doesnâ€™t have a good record of keeping things secure.Â Baseball stories leak, and usually hours if not days before any official announcement comes about the story has already been read by tens of thousands of people.Â The story of how Mannyâ€™s drug information came about, not to mention the drug involved, and the why came to light because of this.
While Iâ€™m all for transparency when it comes to drug testing, the transparency needs to end there.Â Tell me that player A tested positive for steroids on a blood test or a urine test.Â Thatâ€™s what should convict him and lead to his punishment -- not the fact that his doctor prescribed something that he may have thought there was a medical need for.
Yes, I believe that Manny was stupid and got caught because of his boneheaded decision to try to dance around the testing, but I was sold when you told me he had tested positive for a banned substance.Â That was the right thing to do.Â Expose the cheating, expose the stupidity, but invading the medical privacy of a citizen is a slippery slope, for if players lose that right, the right is jeopardized for all of us.Â Thatâ€™s not a good precedent for anyone, and fans of the game should think carefully about how they feel about it.