While the whole Orza/MLBA/sample destruction drama seems to have receded into the background since Monday, there is one big question about all of this that bothers me, and that’s why it was ever possible — destruction or not — for names to be linked up with the 2003 samples. I had only been thinking vaguely about this, but reader/fellow shyster Ken Schultz articulated the problem quite nicely in a recent email:
Everyone is focusing on Fehr’s failure to shred the document the day he got it. If it was just a list of random numbers and a column with a “1″ (for yes) and “0″ (for no), there would have barely been a reason to shred the document.
People conflate “confidential” and “anonymous.” They don’t mean the same thing. Not even close. Confidentiality is always, whether explicitly or not, subject to judicial order requiring disclosure. Anonymity is not. The DOJ could have subpoenaed names/results of anybody, BALCO or otherwise, but if the league/union never had that information in the first place, there would not be any issue.
Fehr/Orza holding the doc for 5 days MAY have been wrong. Allowing names to attach to particular samples was CERTAINLY wrong, violating the spirit and (I assume) the letter of the agreement between the union and MLB.
Is anyone privy to the 2003 testing agreement? Does anyone know why there ever was a way to link names and samples? I’m no testing expert, but given the limited purpose of those tests, it strikes me that a purely anonymous system, as opposed to a merely confidential one, would have been preferable.