Friday, February 11, 2005

The Old York Times on "What Did the Junkees Know Before Signing BALCO-Boy?"

A person with knowledge of the contract said that before they signed off on Giambi's seven-year, $120 million deal, the Yankees acquiesced to his request and removed all references to steroids from the guarantee language routinely included in contracts.
The Yankees were not innocents in this matter. They didn't say to themselves: Delete references to steroid use? Well, all right if you insist, but why would you want us to do that?
They wanted Giambi badly enough that they relinquished the right to suspend him or stop payment on the contract or terminate the contract or convert it into a nonguaranteed contract if he was found to use steroids. No other words were deleted from that paragraph of the contract, the person said.
That act alone made it difficult for the Yankees to try to void the contract after The San Francisco Chronicle reported Giambi's leaked testimony before a federal grand jury on Dec. 11, 2003. A hearing into a Giambi grievance over the termination would have produced some tantalizing testimony.
Union lawyer: Mr. Steinbrenner, before you approved a $120 million commitment to Mr. Giambi, did you have any idea or any suspicion that he used steroids?
George Steinbrenner: Umm. ...
Giambi was asked at a news conference yesterday at Yankee Stadium if he misrepresented himself when he signed the contract. Arn Tellem, his agent, answered for him.
"Absolutely, unequivocally no," Tellem said. He didn't spell it out, but he didn't have to. The Yankees' action three years ago spoke eloquently enough. Their willingness to delete steroids demonstrated that they clearly understood Giambi's representation.
The Yankees signed Giambi on Dec. 13, 2001. The Chronicle reported that he had told the grand jury that he used steroids during the 2001 season. He made sure his continued use of performance-enhancing drugs would not jeopardize his contract.

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