Major League Baseball bans guns, long knives and explosives from clubhouses

By Ronald Blum, AP
Friday, February 19, 2010

MLB bans guns from clubhouses

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball has a new message for players and employees this spring training: Keep guns, long knives and explosives out of the clubhouse.

Signs have been placed in spring training locker rooms stating “individuals are prohibited from possessing deadly weapons while performing any services for MLB.” The rules apply to employees of the commissioner’s office, other central baseball businesses and to teams, including players.

A baseball official said MLB developed the rules last year after former NFL star Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself, which led to a two-year prison sentence. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because comments weren’t authorized.

Guns became a controversy in the NBA this season, when Washington guard Gilbert Arenas was suspended indefinitely without pay by commissioner David Stern. Arenas brought guns to the Verizon Center; the NBA labor contract bans weapons at league facilities.

New baseball players’ association head Michael Weiner said the rules were put in place last season but the signs were not posted until now.

“The commissioner’s office negotiated the policy with the union, as it applies to players,” he said. “The content of the notice itself was not agreed to by the union.”

Titled “Major League Baseball’s Weapon-Free Workplace Policy,” it says MLB “shall prohibit the possession or use of deadly weapons in any facility or venue owned, operated, or controlled by it.” Included are “firearms, explosives, daggers, metal knuckles, switchblade knives, and knives having blades exceeding 5 inches.”

Security and law enforcement are excluded, and possession in parking lots is allowed if protected by local laws. Major League Baseball said it is allowed to grant exceptions.

AP freelance writer Mark Didtler in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.

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