|Thursday deadline for agreement on Giambi-Mitchell meeting|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 18 June 2007 14:23|
Lawyers from the players' union and Major League Baseball resumed talks Monday after a weekend break to set rules for a Giambi-Mitchell meeting.
The deadline is only for an agreement to meet, not for the actual session to take place.
Selig said June 6 that he wanted the meeting to take place within two weeks. Because Selig issued his announcement late that day, the deadline was set for this Thursday morning, a person involved in the talks said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no public statements had been authorized.
When he requested the meeting, Selig threatened the New York Yankees designated hitter with discipline, saying he would factor the player's level of cooperation with Mitchell into his decision.
No active players are known to have met with Mitchell, whose probe was announced by Selig in March 2006 and has gone more slowly than envisioned by the former Senate Majority Leader. But Giambi gave Selig increased leverage to force a meeting when the former AL MVP was quoted last month by USA Today as seeming to admit to steroids use. Giambi then met with baseball lawyers to discuss those remarks.
Giambi currently is on the disabled list with a foot injury and the Yankees say they don't know when he'll be able to play again.
The players' union would certainly challenge any discipline imposed by Selig, and any suspension or fine would have a reasonable likelihood of being overturned by an arbitrator. Baseball's labor contract says players can be suspended for ``just cause.''
Before its first agreement banning steroids in 2002, baseball's practice was that a player was sent for counseling for a first admission of drug use. In addition, the unilateral drug policy issued by commissioner Fay Vincent in 1991 said there wouldn't be any suspensions for first offenses. The enforceability of Vincent's rules was never clear.
Penalties for a first offense began, in most cases, in 2005.
Giambi told a federal grand jury in December 2003 that he used steroids and human growth hormone, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in December 2004. Giambi then made repeated general apologies during a news conference before the start of spring training in 2005 but never used the word ``steroids.''
He went further when he was quoted in USA Today on May 18 as saying: ``I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up - players, ownership, everybody - and said: `We made a mistake.' We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. ... Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it.''