Though it was related to page 70 in this morning’s Daily News, Wednesday’s decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is going to have a huge impact on future reporting of performance enhancing drugs.
Essentially the 9-2 vote means that the federal agents who seized the samples from the 2003 major league baseball drug tests were “In violation of the players’ protections against unreasonable searches and seizures” — but then, if you’ve been reading Jockbeat, you’ve known for months that that was the case.
What does this mean in practical terms? With federal criminal penalties as a consequence, there probably won’t be any more “leaks” of names who tested positive to selected media sources such as Sports Illustrated and the New York Times. It means the players not yet named who agreed to the tests back in 2003 on the basis of anonymity will likely remain anonymous.
The ruling also means that the federal agents, Sports Illustrated‘s Selena Roberts, who outted Alex Rodriguez, and Times writer Michael S. Schmidt, who outted Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz, may well find themselves in civil court for violating the player civil liberties. The St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright said it best when the heard the court decision: “These names were court-sealed. For crying out loud, you can’t release them. Leak the names that leaked the names.”