Foul Balls: The Legal Fixation On Athletes

The Washington DC juggernaut is at it again with the persecution/prosecution of athletes. Today it is announced that charges have been filed against Houston Astros, and former Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics, shortstop Miguel Tejada. From Yahoo Sports:

The charges against Tejada, who currently plays for the Houston Astros, were outlined in documents filed in Washington federal court on Tuesday.

The documents indicate that a plea agreement has been reached with Tejada, who won the 2002 American League Most Valuable Player award while playing for the Oakland Athletics and is a five-time All-Star.

Tejada faces as much as a year in jail if convicted on the misdemeanor charge of making misrepresentations to Congress. Under federal guidelines, he would probably receive a lighter sentence.

The charge came in a legal document called a “criminal information,” which only can be filed with the defendant’s consent and typically signals a plea deal. A hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. EST Wednesday in Washington, and Tejada and his lawyer plan to hold a news conference later in the day in Houston.

Now, as the article states, the charging document being an information certainly indicates a plea. Also, this being a misdemeanor for false statement not under oath, it is unlikely that Tejada will serve anything more than nominal incarceration, and, quite frankly, may well serve none.

The bigger point is that this undoubtedly signals Tejada’s cooperation with Federal authorities. That would appear to mean they are still furiously working to bail out George Mitchell and his bud, Selig, for the craptastic Mitchell Report and they are determined to criminally nail Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in that regard. And they are going after anybody and everybody significant in the path to try to break loose evidence on Bonds and Clemens. After all the commotion on the two All Star defendants, the prosecution evidence set, that would be admissible at trial, really still sucks for convicting them.

But wait; there’s more! There always is when it comes to our elected idiots and athletes. Yep, our intrepid Congress is back on the baseball oversight beat; from Newsday:

Alex Rodriguez soon might have to repeat his steroid admission on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) plans to recommend to the head of the congressional committee that has previously hosted baseball players that A-Rod receive an invite to testify about his steroid use, Cummings told Newsday last night.

"I think we’re going to have to see what Rodriguez will tell us," Cummings said in a phone interview.

Now, in fairness, the early word is that House oversight Chairman Edolphus Towns is declining Cummings’ suggestion for a hearing. That, in and of itself, is somewhat shocking; who’d a thunk that Towns would be a more responsible and reliable voice for sanity than Cummings? Towns reportedly said:

"The American people need leaders who will focus on stemming job losses and getting credit to flow in the marketplace before hearing from yet another person who cheated both himself and the game of baseball."

No shit Edolphus. Thank you. But, you know, that goes for the DC US Attorney’s Office and Department of Justice as well. Why are they wasting time on this penny ante bunk? Let’s ponder for a moment what other things they might could be focusing on.

Hey, I know, Alberto Gonzales! There is little question but that Gonzo perjured himself in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in July, 2007. Heck, talk about bi-partisanship, Senators from both parties on the SJC were outraged and totally convinced it was perjury. I would sure like someone from the DC USA Office to explain to me how in the world they can justify their dogged pursuit of Miguel Tejada and Roger Clemens, but can’t quite seem to find the time for the far more heinous offenses of a cabinet official lying to Congress, and the public, about wholesale evisceration of the Fourth Amendment and defiling of the Constitution.

Or how about the fact that the same USA Office couldn’t bring itself to enforce subpoenas against the Bushbots like Harriet Miers, Josh Bolten and Karl Rove? What about Monica Goodling, who not only violated her immunity agreement with her testimony, but didn’t produce squat in the way of help in return?

There are many other things that would seem to be far more pressing for the DC USA to be focusing their razor sharp prosecutorial skills on than baseball players pumping up. I hope you all feel free to list them in comments. Instead, they will be in court Wednesday morning working the big Miguel Tejada misdemeanor matter. Hooray!

43 replies
    • bmaz says:

      It was a shoddy piece of work naming names without sufficient factual underpinning. It completely failed to hold the commissioner’s office and the owners accountable for their actions in sanctioning and encouraging the use of steroids, hormonal supplements and amphetamines. The author/overseer, George Mitchell, had an unethical conflict of interest and should never have been involved in any manner with the report as he was a good friend of Selig’s and was a director and/or partial owner of the Boston Red Sox at the time (and conveniently omitted Red sox players and focused on Yankees players I might add). It was a shameful effort on many fronts.

      • FrankProbst says:

        Got it. I honestly didn’t know. I don’t follow sports that closely. And I had no idea about Mitchell’s Red Sox connection.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh, don’t pay any attention to me, I get a little worked up on this whole issue. Am pretty sure that is why Marcy wound me up and sent me off on this mission; she knew there would be explosions.

          Peterr @7 – good call about the science duplicity and other ill acts. Exactly right.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          (Adjusting thinking cap here — )
          So if we claimed that Global Warming was weather on steroids, and the problem with the financial markets was something to do with illegal scoring, d’ya think we might get some attention for those issues…?

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          You scoffed at randiego’s link to DKos about the near-meltdown described earlier this week on CSPAN. If he comes around, just an FYI that KO has followed it up tonight.…..9#29128659

          $550 billion drawn out of the US market in a few hours created a wild panic that we still haven’t addressed, but clearly what really matters is baseball steroids.

  1. Peterr says:

    Why are they wasting time on this penny ante bunk?

    They’ve spent too many years with Jim Bunning in their “Members Only” elevators, cloakrooms, committee meetings, and luncheons. For many in the House and Senate, this is some strong incentive to be very wary of ballplayers.

    As they say, “Nip it in the bud.”

  2. Peterr says:

    Seems to me that some time could be profitably spent doing some serious oversight of Halliburton/KBR contracts, or the possibly perjurous testimony regarding the rape of civilian contractors in Iraq and its subsequent coverup. And given some of the stories coming since Jan 20th from career staffers in the science-based executive branch departments and agencies, there may also have been more than a little perjury when folks testified from EPA, FDA, NIH, CDC, Interior, Forest Service, etc.

    I seem to recall various iterations of this exchange:

    Q: Was there any political pressure brought to bear on scientists, to shape their conclusions away from the scientific data to conform more closely to administration political views?
    A: None whatsoever. We went where the science took us.


  3. darms says:

    Lie to congress & you’re a ball player, well it’s off to jail for you. Lie to congress & you’re a high-level rethug like Bradley Schlozman & it’s all hunky-dory. Guys, I’m really tired of this…

  4. nomolos says:

    Gracious, zap the messenger. These “athletes” or effin cheaters as I call them took substances that gave them an unfair, unsportsmanlike advantage. They cheated, they should be thrown out of the game.

    I stopped watching baseball years ago, right after the pretty boys, who “earn” their money by standing around on summer days scratching their balls and picking their noses, went on strike. As a union person I was offended by their’s and the owner’s petty greed. The owners, the overseers and the players all knew about the steroids and there use was ignored because the profits were great.

    I still prefer cricket, a far more interesting and rapidly moving game. As a friend of mine describes baseball “They took all the boring parts of five days of cricket, condensed it into three hours and called it rounders” (the name of baseball before baseball was “invented”) . Boring.

  5. tanbark says:

    FreePatriot: yeah, it’s you. :o)

    The threat to amurka from those owners and athletes indulging in faster-rotating-turnstiles-through-chemistry is clearly worse than savaging two countries and turning them into mass-graves-r-us for the wogs who live there.

    I notice that a little over a week ago, Hillary Clinton continued her seemingly genetic propensity for parroting bushCo lines-that-justify-anything, when she pronounced Afghanistan a “narco-state”. The bad news for her, and for anyone who wants to “clean up” that sitch, is that those people have been growing poppies, etc., for a lonnng time, and since it’s about the only way they can feed themselves, they aint likely to change, unless we want to seriously put them on the welfare rolls. And, the last time I checked, the U.S. Treasury was stretched a tad thin, vis-a-vis the efforts to make Iraq and Afghanistan safe for the Fortune 500.

    I guess the conservatives who dragged us into these two tarpits don’t mind THAT kind of welfare, as long as it gives them a little time-window to get the fuck out of Dodge while dumping the pinless handgrenade in the lap of the dems.

  6. ApacheTrout says:

    Glad you picked up on this too. I wrote about it yesterday over at dkos. Beyond my snark, this is another example of Congress being an impotent bully. When it really counts, Congress can’t perform, so then it goes stomping around at the mall looking for someone to pick on who isn’t likely to fight back. If I were Tejada, I wouldn’t even bother responding to the indictment. Follow Rove’s example in not showing up for subpoenas or Cheney’s philosophy of “so?”.

  7. Ishmael says:

    While we are talking about Congressional hypocrisy, I have always been struck on the focus on baseball PEDs, while the rampant abuse in the NFL has produced little commentary and no COngressional hearings. I find this particularly disturbing given the documented health dangers that NFL players face from concussions and the reduced average lifespan of NFL players and disabilities they face after their playing days end, which may be related to the greatly increased size and strength among NFL players in the last 20 years.

  8. Ishmael says:

    …and further on the hypocrisy front, the zealous interest of law enforcement in the pot smoking of Michael Phelps. Apparently a number of arrests have resulted from the efforts of publicity-seeking local sheriffs in South Carolina, including a drug paraphernalia charge against the bong owner who tried to sell it on ebay. I would hope that the charges could be tossed on some kind of abuse of process argument.

    • bmaz says:

      Mitchell deserves credit for writing a scandalously unsupported and unethical pile of self serving bile. The fact that the pile of crap has been bootstrapped into faux credibility by after the fact investigation and persecution through the combined excess power of the United States Congress and FBI is a mark of shame, not respect. He was paid to do his own job, and he was an unmitigated, unethical failure at that. Mitchell produced something akin to a fucking National Enquirer Britney Spears rumor piece and then sent out Congress, the FBI, the DEA and the IRS out to do his work for him to support it. He should be ridiculed, not praised, for this pernicious paid hit piece effort. Our starving and precious government resources should be spent on investigating and prosecuting things that matter, not covering George Mitchell and Bud Selig’s pitiful asses.

      • macaquerman says:

        NYC stands in solidarity with brother bmaz on the Mitchell report.
        He should have his ass kicked out o’ the country. Send him someplace far away where he can stick his snout into somebody else’s business and it won’t matter what he does.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        It is, what it is…

        “Never forget, Mitchell told MIT graduates in 2003, “That in the essence
        of evil, silence makes you an accomplice.”

        He HAD to name names…

        • macaquerman says:

          Brady Anderson,Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garciaparra, Trot Nixon, Roger Clemens, Jason Varitek.???
          Did Gabe Kapler actually sneak into the report?

        • bmaz says:

          Keep in mind that he went after Clemens because he needed a huge name and he was a Yankee at the time; the allegations had nothing to do with his time at the Sawx.

        • macaquerman says:

          The whole idea of wasting the time and other resources on having Congressional investigations of baseball players speaks to our level of seriousness as a people and to our Congressional habit of avoiding free publicity in favor of hard work.
          With just some of the money spent on this, we could have appropriated enough land in the Fens to build an honestly-sized ballpark and still had enough money left over to supply edible ingredients for the atrocious Fenway franks.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          When I go to the Fens, I hate my seats… people always moving in and around, obstructing my view…
          I do like the dogs and beer, though
          We DO need a new freaking park with parking…
          Ask Mayor Menino…

        • macaquerman says:

          If you forego the beer (not preferable) you might be less satisfied with the taste of dog.
          In all seriousness, it was a bad idea, very badly done. Rather than release it, Mitchell should have dumped it and dumping it could have been done in a couple of constructive ways.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          You are right… we’ve all heard the whispers that Red Sox players
          used steroids… logic dictates that each team had their users.
          I don’t think Mitchell said “I’m a Red Sox Director so I’ll look the other way.” He relied on McNamee, Radomski,
          The best analyis is from Wasserman who says

          “The hearsay criticism is generally wrong. Most of the evidence given to Mitchell is not hearsay, but rather firsthand testimony regarding transactions and conversations between Radomski or McNamee and particular players. The general reliance on non-testing, non-scientific evidence also is not problematic. The assumption that only a failed drug test constitutes evidence of steroid use reflects both a misunderstanding of how the process of proof works–documentary and witness testimony are ordinary means of establishing facts–and unwarranted overconfidence in the ability of drug testing, standing alone, to catch steroid use.

          Granted, Radomski’s and McNamee’s mainly state that they supplied performance-enhancing drugs to players, not that they saw the players use those drugs (although McNamee testified to personally injecting several players). However, evidence that a player obtained steroids allows the inference that he used those steroids.

          Mitchell also has been criticized for naming names in light of two acknowledged limitations upon his investigation: First, the 80 names almost certainly do not exhaust the universe of baseball’s steroid users–only those who did business with Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee. On this point, Mitchell concedes that use likely was more widespread.”

          Second, naming names is somewhat inconsistent with the Report’s call for MLB to forego punishing players; if Mitchell truly wanted punishment off the table, why identify past users? The answer may lie in Mitchell’s desire to make the report a definitive historical accounting of this chapter in baseball history, revealing the truth, the full and correct story, and allowing the game to move on from there. Mitchell thus may have viewed his role less as preparing a report for future prosecutions, and more as a kind of truth-and-reconciliation commission–examining and identifying past misdeeds to set the societal historical record straight, without imposing retrospective punishment for those misdeeds.”

          In other words, Mitchell was between a rock, drug dealers, coverups, and baseball culture.
          He was not Patrick Fitzgerald, but he did his best.

        • bmaz says:

          Problem is neither Radomski nor MacNamee had enough credibility to claim the freaking sun rises in the east without corroboration and Mitchell had no freaking corroboration. It was an unethical report.

        • macaquerman says:

          The sooner people start learning to trust drug dealers,the sooner this country will be ……..
          Nodded off there a second

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          Honor among thieves?

          Actually I liked McNamee’s admission, contrasted to Roger’s bizarro

        • bmaz says:

          Well, except that MacNamee is a confirmed perjurer already in this case alone; without even going back to the rape case in Florida.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          He said he was sorry…
          Do you know the status of Roger’s defamation suit? Justice moves slowly.

        • bmaz says:

          Naw, civil litigation generally goes nowhere at a snails pace. Trust me on that one. They are probably just getting into discovery and then will argue over motions after that. If there is a criminal case, it will come and go and probably determine inherently the result of the civil cases thereafter.

          And, again, just for the record, it is the process that kills me. When the time comes I will be making the same complaints on behalf of Barry Bonds, and I think he is guilty too. I just cannot abide how they have gone about this; if it had been done correctly, i would be doing cartwheels with you.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          Thanks. I see your point.
          I just think that all processes are flawed in one manner or another.
          I guess you’d say I’m more from the karma-law-school that believes what goes around, comes around…. although I’m still waiting for the hammer to fall on Bush, Cheney and Gonzo…

        • bmaz says:

          Second, naming names is somewhat inconsistent with the Report’s call for MLB to forego punishing players; if Mitchell truly wanted punishment off the table, why identify past users? The answer may lie in Mitchell’s desire to make the report a definitive historical accounting of this chapter in baseball history, revealing the truth, the full and correct story, and allowing the game to move on from there.

          I can answer that. He did it as an unethical afterthought at the specific demand of Selig; it was not the original version, nor intent, of his report. This is exactly why I say the things I do about it.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          I’m no fan of Bug Selig…
          But, I don’t think there is a linky to “that demand”
          To date, the only player that has gone after the Mitchell Report is
          our friend Roger.
          Hasn’t it withheld the test of time so far?

        • bmaz says:

          I think I have read that somewhere too, but my info comes from someone involved in the matter that i know very well. No it is not Rusty, nor anyone associated with Clemens.

        • bmaz says:

          Then he HAD to do a competent investigation and back it up with credible evidence; but he did not. Then he runs to his Congress pals to bail his sorry ass out of the flames. but with his obvious disqualifying multiple conflicts of interest AND his crappy investigatory work, he should be laughed out of any room.

  9. pmorlan says:

    Oh I see baseball players are ok to go after for their “terrible crimes” but war criminals are off limits. I do so love the perverted priorities of our political “leaders” – NOT.

  10. Ishmael says:

    Not to mention Mitchell piously criticizing the players and the players’ union for not volunteering to “cooperate” with his “investigation” – any lawyer who would advise his client to talk to Mitchell, who wasn’t subject to any rules and was working completely on a self-serving management agenda is incompetent.

  11. BayStateLibrul says:

    George Mitchell is the liberal Senator from Maine.
    I’ve always admired him….
    “Unethical” in my judgment is a stretch…

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