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

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.

Dodger Notes Among the players who appeared at Monday's workout at Dodger Stadium was pitcher Steve Howe, although he did not participate. Howe, recovering from surgery on his left elbow, said he expected to begin throwing lightly in about three weeks. Al Campanis said Dr. Frank Jobe is projecting Howe to be ready by the middle of spring training or the first of April. . . . Jay Johnstone, a free agent after having been released by the Cubs at the end of last season, took part in Monday's workout. The Dodgers are one of several teams Johnstone would like to catch on with. . . . Catcher Mike Scioscia, who was expected to be present, missed the workout because of the flu. Scioscia is getting married this weekend. . . . Infielder Bob Bailor showed up with full beard and mustache, causing him to be dubbed Jeremiah Johnson by pitcher Orel Hershiser. "Best movie ever made," said Bailor, who said he had watched the saga of a mountain man for the 15th time on TV the previous night. Bailor will get married next month. . . . Relief pitcher Ken Howell was named pitcher of the year in the Dominican Winter League, Campanis said. Howell recently struck out the side in the ninth inning of a recent playoff game. . . . The Dodgers previewed their 1984 highlight film at Monday's luncheon. The film, titled "Eye on the Future," was noticeably light on last season's highlights, focusing instead on past glory days and on a tribute to the late Walter Alston. . . . The Dodgers also unveiled a plaque dedicated to the late Danny Goodman, long-time director of advertising and novelties. The plaque will be mounted outside the Dodger gift shop.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World