Did the Yankees try to get such clauses included but yielded after push back from A-Rod and Scott Boras, his high-powered agent? If so, wouldn’t that have been a red flag? If they didn’t push for that kind of clause, wouldn’t that say something about the baseball owners’ real attitudes about drug cheating? Would it mean either that the Yankees don’t really care or that they knew that other teams would take A-Rod without that kind of escape clause? Reporters arriving later this month at the Yankees’ spring training camp in Tampa ought to be pushing everyone for answers.
The current A-Rod contract was signed more than five years ago. We know a lot more now about how widespread the PED problem is, and fans seem to be much more sensitive to it, as shooting stars like last year’s Melky Cabrera keep getting exposed. So has anything at all been added to the contracts ballplayers are signing today about PEDs that’s different from when A-Rod re-upped with the Yankees in 2007?
With that in mind, what’s Major League Baseball’s position on using contracts to support its claimed new-found determination to rid the sport of PEDs? Why couldn’t the league require that all contracts contain a provision that in situations where a player’s performance declines significantly over a set period of time — say, 100 games — after he is caught using PEDs (and serves out whatever suspension he receives) the team can nullify that contract? I’d love to hear the players’ union leaders explain why they’d be against that.
3. China hacking: the Wall Street Journal says, “Us, too”
Last Thursday, The New York Times published a front page story detailing its findings that it had been the victim of a long campaign, allegedly from China, to infiltrate its computer systems. According to the Times, the hackers targeted reporters and editors working on its recent stories exposing the fortunes being accumulated by Chinese officials. The next morning, the Wall Street Journal ran its own front-pager reporting that it, too, had been the victim of Chinese hackers. The Journal story quoted “people familiar” with the paper’s investigation of the hacking as saying the paper “has faced hacking threats from China during the past few years,” and that the Journal had been notified by the FBI of a potential breach in “the middle of last year.” The Washington Post also reported on Friday that it, too, had been hacked.
Why did the Journal and Post wait until the Times’s story came out to report this important news? It’s a complicated question worth a thoughtful story. Reporting on internal security issues facing a major company that handles market-sensitive information could shake customers’ confidence in the company. It could also compromise ongoing security investigations, not to mention hurt the business of the Journal - and its parent companies, Dow Jones and News Corporation - in China. It could even endanger the Journal’s and the Post’s people on the ground there. Then again, as I wrote here a few weeks ago, the escalating confrontation between China and Western media is fascinating, important stuff that is “going to be worth constant coverage.”
So what’s the story behind the Journal and Post apparently withholding a scoop about the hacking until the Times published its story? And what kind of debates were there at the Times before it went ahead and reported this apparent assault on America’s prime newsgathering organization?
Then there’s Bloomberg, which the Journal reported had also been a target of hacking but which claimed to have repelled the intruders. If true, what does Bloomberg do that the Times and Journal don’t do, and what are the Times, the Journal and other news organizations now doing differently to protect themselves?