The first year of testing should be used for administrative purposes only. That is, players who test positive should not be disciplined, other than to be steered toward an educational employee assistance program. In subsequent years positive results would bring suspensions, with the severity of those suspensions consistent with the frequency of the offense.
Amateur draft. Both sides agree that players from outside the U.S. should be included in the pool for the June draft, thus preventing deep-pocketed teams from cornering the market on Japanese free agents, Cuban defectors and the like. The owners want the draft to be 38 rounds, the players want 16. Call it 27 and move on.
Seven years ago the players agreed to the concepts of increased revenue sharing and a luxury tax, which were put in place for only the 1997, '98 and '99 seasons. Both prescriptions might have had the desired effect, but the dosages were inadequate, and they did virtually nothing to narrow the widening gap between the richest clubs and the poorest. Salaries weren't curbed; the average has more than doubled since the last strike, in '94. Players took home 56% of the revenues last season, up from 38% in '90 and 21% in '75, the last year before free agency.
Now both sides agree that the revenue-sharing formula must be more potent. The common ground is easy to see, but getting there requires something as rare to the labor landscape as rain is to the desert. It requires a spirit of cooperation.
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