Does Don Fehr Get An *?

Donald Fehr
Donald Fehr

ESPN is reporting that Don Fehr, the long-time executive director of the Major League Baseball Association, is stepping down.

And although he probably didn’t take Stanozolol or Primobolan to enhance his labor negotiations, I’m wondering this afternoon if his name should go into the history books with an *.

Fehr was one of the reasons why, when I was younger, I always sided with the players. After all, he was able to better convince me of the players need for money than the owners.

But when I got into the journalism business, I started to wonder if this whole concern for privacy thing was overshadowing the greater good of getting a legitimate drug testing system, so us fans could know what was real and what was not.

Five years ago, drug testing wasn't even a concern for Fehr and his cohorts. And it caused quite a stir when his right hand man, Gene Orza, said this to me in March 2004, when I asked him about drug testing:

"Whether it's good or bad for you, it's a far cry to say that because it's bad for you, you should participate in a structure which allows your employer to punish you for doing something that you shouldn't be doing," Orza said. "That's not my understanding of what unions do for their employees."

If Fehr were never pressured to give in, we still might not have the steroid era. Without testing, we might not know that guys like Bonds, Palmeiro, Rodriguez and Sosa were juicing. If there were no tests, would I even think about giving Fehr an asterisk today?

But Fehr did give in. He did agree to a stringent testing program. So shouldn’t I applaud him for the fact that he knew that this had to happen in order to give the sport some credibility? Or with Congress breathing down his neck did he not have a choice?

Let’s leave it up to you.

Questions? Comments?