03/11/2003 7:55 PM ET
Amid controversy, Sox take tests
Union rep Wunsch confirms all players tested
TUCSON, Ariz. -- ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago reported on Tuesday that 16 White Sox players had discussed a plan to refuse to take the drug test mandated by the collective bargaining agreement.
|By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
The report stated that the players in question wanted to refuse the test not in defiance, but in order to be labeled as having failed the test in an effort to trigger mandatory steroid testing through 2005.
Under the terms of the CBA, every player on the 40-man roster takes the test at least once, and throughout the season approximately 250 take the test again. If fewer than 2.5 percent of the players test positive, the testing will stop. If more than five percent test positive, mandatory steroid testing will continue until 2005.
White Sox player rep Kelly Wunsch would not confirm the report, but the veteran reliever did say there was some discussion before the actual testing and that some players reportedly just wanted to help level the playing field where steroids testing is concerned.
"There were some ideas floating around that once we sat down and thought about it, they got shelved very quickly," said Wunsch.
That discussion triggered the interest of the Players Association. Wunch said he talked with someone in the union and that the conversation lasted no more than one or two minutes.
"I had a few questions and called to clarify a few things," Wunsch said. "I came back and said, 'Let's take the test.' "
He said there was no concern over tests turning up positive.
"I think the majority of players will tell you they are not afraid of testing," Wunsch said. "Nobody turned in an essay as to why they weren't going to take it, but it was a tiny little bump in the road. Everyone on the list was tested today, and all the players to be tested in the next few days will get tested.
"There's no question the union as a whole wants to make sure steroids are not an issue. It's why we negotiated it as a union. But anything to subvert that process would be doing it unfairly to everybody else.
"This is the fairest way to go about it, and that's what we did," Wunsch said.
The White Sox organization had no comment, with the drug testing standing as a private matter between the players and their union.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.