- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2007

Commissioner Bud Selig doesn’t have the right to ask Jason Giambi to speak to George Mitchell and cooperate with baseball’s steroids investigation.

In fact, Selig doesn’t even have the right to conduct a steroids investigation without first negotiating with the players union.

Just ask Marvin Miller, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1982.

“I think [Selig] is out of line,” Miller says. “He unilaterally appointed Mitchell to head an investigation. This is not approved by the union.”

As head of the union, Miller helped players collectively negotiate advances in salaries, benefits and working conditions, including the birth of free agency, over the course of five collective bargaining agreements.

Miller, now 90, lives in New York with his wife, Terry. He still follows baseball, and he adamantly disapproves of Selig’s steroids investigation and his bullying of Giambi.

Miller says the investigation violates labor laws because it was not collectively bargained.

“That’s not subject to argument,” he says.

Selig has asked Giambi to cooperate with Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader, in the next two weeks after Giambi’s recent apology for “doing that stuff.”

The commissioner hasn’t said whether he will discipline Giambi for his remarks. Instead, Selig has said how the Yankees designated hitter deals with Mitchell will be taken into account.

“[Selig] doesn’t have unilateral powers to push players around, because no one does,” Miller says.

And if Selig doesn’t have that power, then he can’t transfer it to Mitchell.

“Mitchell is Selig’s deputy in this,” Miller says. “You can only give powers to your deputy that you have. [Selig] doesn’t have that kind of power. He could have appointed his secretary to do it, and he or she would have no more authority to do it.”

Miller also doesn’t hold a high opinion of Mitchell’s position in the commissioner’s office.

“Mitchell has succeeded in downgrading himself in the eyes of the American public,” he says. “He has gone from the majority leader of the Senate to an appointee without the authority to do anything.”

As for Giambi, if he were to meet with Mitchell, he would be the first active player known to do so.

The players association has asked Giambi to hold off on a meeting.

Miller’s advice to Giambi: “He has every right to do whatever he pleases.”

Unfortunately, the leadership of the players union isn’t what it used to be.

“I cannot see myself being this quiet over a unilateral attempt to enforce policy that has to be collectively bargained,” Miller says. “I would have exposed this framework a long time ago.”

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