Feds obtained results after union fought agreement

Updated: May 2, 2004, 5:56 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The steroid test results of all 1,200 Major League Baseball players from last season have been obtained by federal investigators after the players union reneged on an agreement during the BALCO probe, Newsday reported Saturday.

Though no information from the results has been leaked by investigators, one source inside baseball told Newsday that such a disclosure could be a "potential disaster" that may create "hysteria" in the baseball world.

According to the report, IRS agents initially sought all player results from Quest Diagnostic Labs, which administered the steroid tests in 2003. But after negotiating with the league and the union, investigators went after only the results of the 10 players who testified before a grand jury, which include superstar Barry Bonds as well as Yankees sluggers Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield.

Only after the union reneged on the agreement by attempting to keep those players' results private did investigators use a warrant on April 8 to seize documentation on all 1,200 players, the paper reports.

The New York Times last week reported that it is widely believed the test results could indicate if any of the baseball players who testified committed perjury before the grand jury. However, the release of all 1,200 test results could also culminate in the names of players who tested positive being publicly outed.

The union is expected to file a motion to limit the focus of the investigation and have the results of all but the 10 players returned, a source close to the union told Newsday.

A "Basic Agreement" signed by both the league and the union in July 2002 had promised players that their results, which reportedly had 5 to 7 percent of players in 2003 testing positive for steroids, would remain anonymous.

Newsday reported that one big-leaguer is considering filing suit against the players union, and agents for two high-profile players have expressed dismay about the possibility of the results being released. One agent believed such a disclosure might affect his clients' Hall of Fame votes, reported the newspaper.

The union had the chance to destroy both urine samples and test results prior to a federal subpoena being issued, sources told Newsday, but officials failed to take advantage of the short window of opportunity.

In addition to seizing the drug test samples and results from the Las Vegas-based Quest Diagnostic's lab last week, agents also obtained documentation from Comprehensive Drug Testing that matched those results with players' names, the Times reported in April. The Long Beach, Calif. lab collected and coded the samples.

In February, four men connected to the Burlingame, Calif. supplements company under investigation, including owner/founder Victor Conte Jr. and Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson, were handed a 42-count indictment for distributing steroids to baseball and football players as well as track and field athletes; all have pleaded not guilty.

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