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Marshall: Drug Tests in Contract : Dodger Signs, Despite What His Union Calls 'Provocative' Clause

January 22, 1985|GORDON EDES | Times Staff Writer

Despite opposition from the Major League Players Assn., which objected to a clause providing for mandatory drug testing, outfielder Mike Marshall signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers Monday.

Donald Fehr, executive director of the players union, said the inclusion of the clause was "deliberately provocative" and accused the Dodgers of "trying to provoke a controversy and fight."

Marshall said he and his agent, Jerry Kapstein, came to terms with the team last week but delayed signing until discussing the drug clause with the players' union.

The Dodgers, in an effort to detect drug or alcohol abuse, are making it mandatory for players to submit to urine tests on demand.

"I was kind of caught in the middle," said Marshall, who signed the contract during a Dodger luncheon.

"The bottom line is I don't have anything to hide," Marshall said. "The clause is fine with me.

"I can see the player association's side. I can see the Dodgers' and owners' side. It came down to Jerry and myself making a personal decision on what was best for me."

Marshall said that Fehr had not spoken directly to him but had voiced his opposition to the contract to Kapstein.

"We understand the situation the player is in," Fehr said by phone Monday night. "The club makes the ridiculous statement to a player that if you have nothing to hide, why not sign it (the contract)? That's craziness. We might as well let the police search our houses every night, if we have nothing to hide.

"They offered the player a bundle of money and pressured him. But I understand he said he fully supports the players' association's position.

"We are reviewing the matter and will take it up with the (owners') Players Relations Committee. We will do whatever we have to do to rectify the situation."

Drug testing is expected to be one of the issues involved in the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement between the players and owners. The old agreement expired Dec. 31.

"If they want to negotiate a change in the uniform players contract, that's one thing," Fehr said. "But it is our position that anything short of that is absolutely unenforceable.

"The Dodgers couldn't have done anything more to upset the apple cart. . . . To go half-cocked on their own doesn't seem innocuous. It seems deliberately provocative.

"They're trying to provoke a controversy and fight. (Dodger owner) Peter O'Malley is on the negotiating committee, and they haven't raised a whimper (on this issue).

"So what's the purpose? Why isolate an individual player and put pressure on him?"

Marshall said he had not been involved directly in the contract negotiations. He apparently got the go-ahead to sign from Kapstein immediately after Monday morning's workout at Dodger Stadium. Marshall placed a call to the agent from a pay phone while still in uniform.

Marshall, who was eligible for arbitration for the first time, reportedly will be paid more than $300,000 after making $150,000 last season.

Marshall is not the first Dodger to sign a contract that included the drug clause. There have been a few others, Dodger Vice President Al Campanis said, including shortstop Bill Russell. Players who previously had signed multiyear contracts are not affected by the new clause.

"All we're asking is for a player to take a test," Campanis said. "Supposing you worked for a company and they would like for you to take a test? What would you do?"

Campanis said he was not aware whether other teams were requiring drug tests. "But I doubt we'll be the last," he added. "I think it's good common sense.

"I don't see why anybody that is not involved (in drugs) should find any bones about it."

Mandatory drug testing is expected to be an issue in player-owner negotiations of a new collective bargaining agreement.

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