Lawyers Say Padres Are Not Entitled to Wiggins’ Treatment Records
The doctor reports from Alan Wiggins’ recent stay at a drug treatment center are being kept from the Padres not because they contain incriminating evidence, but because Wiggins’ lawyers believe the Padres have no right to see them.
Instead, those reports, which contain psychological evaluations of Wiggins, will be given to baseball’s Joint Review Counsel, which soon will make a ruling on whether Wiggins is medically fit to again play baseball this season.
Apparently, this has become an issue of trust. And the people on Wiggins’ side simply do not trust the Padres, who they think would leak the information to the media if they it.
“The issue is not whether he Wiggins wants to turn them over, but whether the Padres are entitled to them,” said Eugene Orza, associate general counsel for baseball’s Players Assn. " . . . There is a federal law that prohibits them from getting them, and that’s because they are confidential records about an individual.
“I will give them to the JRC (Joint Review Counsel), but not to the Padres. They forfeited their right with the way they’ve handled themselves. Suppose, and this is completely hypothetical, that those records said Alan beat up his sister when he was eight. You think that wouldn’t leak? There’s no doubt about it.
“I wouldn’t give those records (to the Padres) if they only said Alan Wiggins was 6-foot, 180 pounds. They’re not entitled to them. The fact that he wants to stand on his rights, doesn’t mean he’s guilty.”
Why is there no trust? The Padres apparently ruined things, according to Orza, when they opened up to the media. Orza mentioned one incident, in which a pad was found in Wiggins’ Los Angeles hotel room the night he mysteriously disappeared in April. That pad, which reportedly contained phone numbers, was given by the Padres to a San Diego newspaper, Orza said. That newspaper later reported that Wiggins made calls to a known drug dealer from that room.
The Padres have directed all questions to their general counsel, Beth Benes, yet she refused comment Monday.
Meanwhile, baseball’s Joint Review Counsel, made up of three doctors, will convene in a matter of days to make a decision on Wiggins’ status. If they rule that he is fit to play, Wiggins (under rules of the Joint Drug Agreement) must play baseball this season. And since the Padres have said he will not play for them, he likely would be traded or released.
If the counsel rules that Wiggins is not fit, he likely would be through for this season.
“This is the first time any dispute has come to the JRC,” said Lee McPhail, executive director of baseball’s Player Relations Committee. “It’s impossible to say what will happen (as far as their timetable). I’d envision a meeting that lasts four or five hours, and a decision the following day. That’s my guess.”
Orza said Monday that the head physician from the Hazelden Foundation in Center City, Minn., sent the Padres a “back to work letter,” saying Wiggins, who spent 28 days at the drug center, was fit to play. Incidentally, the Padres arranged for Wiggins to enter Hazelden, and team owner Joan Kroc has donated large sums of money to the center.
“So why do the Padres need an underlying psychological evaluation? And can they be trusted after what they’ve done?” Orza said. ". . . He’s agreed to take a medical exam (for their doctor), but they refuse because they want the medical records . . . He (Wiggins) is not afraid to give it to the Padres. The Padres are just not entitled to it.”