Baseball is testing DNA in the D.R. We cool with this?
I understand the problem, but this solution seems rather troublesome to me:
Confronted with cases of identity and age falsification by Latin American baseball prospects, Major League Baseball is conducting genetic testing on some promising young players and their parents.
Many experts in genetics consider such testing a violation of personal privacy. Federal legislation, signed into law last year and scheduled to take effect Nov. 21, prohibits companies based in the United States from asking an employee, a potential employee or a family member of an employee for a sample of their DNA . . . Last week the Yankees voided the signing of an amateur from the Dominican Republic after a DNA test conducted by Major League Baseball’s department of investigations showed that the player had misrepresented his identity.
As explained in the article, this is an area of science and medicine fraught with ethical landmines. This may be the best quote: “The funny thing about this all is that the most famous baseball player with a genetic disorder was Lou Gehrig. Would they have signed him if they knew he was predisposed to A.L.S.?” Not sure if that’s as big a concern as it would be in an office setting -- baseball is generally done with its people by the time they reach the age genetic diseases start to affect them -- but it’s not as if there aren’t other concerns.
What happens when a team, looking to verify someone’s biological information, finds out that their shortstop prospect isn’t really the son of the man he thought was his father? What happens later, when a player reaches free agency and the team who signed him knows X about his predisposition to bone or ligament injury because they conducted the tests out of the country while other teams -- presumably subject to the new law -- do not and cannot?
I’m sympathetic to the teams in all of this because they’re paying out huge amounts of money to players who are quite often lying to them and, unlike any other kind of business transaction, it’s not as if they can easily sue to get their money back if fraud is discovered. Absent testing, that signing bonus is going to be long gone by the time a guy’s true age comes to light, and the courts in the Dominican Republic may not be too terribly welcoming to the teams. Once a player reaches Miguel Tejada’s age suing becomes impractical for numerous reasons, both legal and otherwise.
But are we cool with this? I’ll take argument on either side of it, but it gives me some vaguely Orwellian chills.