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MLBPA “threatened” players who spoke out, lawyer at center of union drama claims

The battle within the Major League Baseball Players Association took another turn when one side of the warring factions claimed the other was trying to “harass and intimidate” players into changing their minds about the union’s leadership.

Harry Marino has been at the center of an ongoing power struggle in the MLBPA leadership, pitting the current leadership of Tony Clark and Bruce Meyer against a disgruntled group of players worried about the direction of the union.

The latest salvo came in the form of statements from Marino and former MLBPA employee catcher Josh Thole, both of whom made serious allegations against the union and, in particular, director of player services Kevin Slowey.


Harry Marino
Harry Marino has been at the center of an ongoing power struggle in the MLBPA leadership. Courtesy of Minor League Advocates

“I received a number of calls this week from minor league player representatives saying that Kevin Slowey was calling them to bully and intimidate them into changing their minds about the current direction of their union,” Thole said in one Explanation. per The Athletic. “I really don’t know where anything went wrong, but this is a sad day. It’s obvious this is no longer the MLBPA (late executive director) Michael Weiner remembers.”

Marino made a similar statement, although he did not specifically mention anyone with his allegations.

“It was shocking and disappointing to hear that several major and minor league players were being threatened, bullied and retaliated against for expressing their honest opinions,” Marino said, according to The Athletic. “It is important to remember that federal law protects the right of every union member to ‘express his or her views, arguments, or opinions’ and to ‘meet and assemble freely with other members.'” Players should never stand for the exercise of these rights.”

Clark did not address either allegation, but in his own statement called the mutiny “a coordinated and covert action” and claimed that it “has caused problems for players at all levels of professional baseball.”

Major league and minor league players have fallen under the MLBPA umbrella since 2022, and Marino helped minor league players unionize.

The ongoing power struggle continued last week after several players called for Meyer to be replaced by Marino in a heated video call with some members of the MLBPA’s 72-member board.


Tony Clark (r.), executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and Bruce Meyer.
Tony Clark (r.), executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and Bruce Meyer. AP

The MLBPA’s eight-player Major League Executive Subcommittee also announced Sunday that it was distancing itself from Marino, saying in a statement: “This is no longer a Harry Marino discussion in any respect.”

Tigers right-back Jack Flaherty is part of the executive subcommittee and said The Athletic In a separate interview, he said he regretted a call in which he “put Tony in a bad position.”

“Where Harry tried to force his way through,” Flaherty said. “He tried to pressure Tony and Tony stood his ground and said it wasn’t going to happen. Tony has done nothing but stand firm through it all. That was something I would like to take back. I never wanted Harry to be in Bruce’s position.”

Flaherty added that he and Clark had spoken and discussed what happened and that he felt the situation had “spiraled out of control.”

“I didn’t try to push Harry and give him any momentum. “I just tried to let Tony know what was going on and what was coming,” he said.

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