SBJ/July 29-August 4, 2013/Labor and Agents

Clark: Don’t read too much into title

Tony Clark, who was named the MLB Players Association’s deputy executive director last week, said his new title does not necessarily mean that he is the successor to MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner.

Clark was elected to the newly created position by a 26-0 vote of the executive board on a conference call last week. Players voted for Clark after Weiner recommended him for the position, Clark said.

Weiner, who is battling brain cancer, announced at the All-Star Game earlier this month that his symptoms had worsened and that players would elect a deputy executive director.

Clark played 15 MLB seasons and was active as a player representative throughout his career. He joined the players association in 2010 and was most recently director of player services. He was based out of his home in Arizona, but he moved with his family to New York a few months ago at Weiner’s recommendation.

Clark spoke to SportsBusiness Journal last week about his new role and what it means.

Clark will help define a new post at MLBPA.
How do you feel about your new role?

CLARK:
The circumstance surrounding why this consideration even needed to be made is a tough one. … The one thing I take going forward is the idea that Michael had made a recommendation to our player leadership as to me being moved into this newly created position. And his support and his confidence in me is something that allows me to put my head on the pillow at night.

How were you elected to the position?

CLARK:
Michael made the recommendation [last week] via conference call with our executive board. The process itself has been discussed for some time, going back to even last year. But there wasn’t an acknowledgment by Michael, or senior staff, officially until yesterday as to the direction that Michael wanted to go in or was going to recommend that we go in hiring someone.

What does your new job mean?

CLARK:
I am to be an extension of Michael. So, without going into detail, it is exactly everything that Michael does. … What my day-to-day is going to be is going to continue to shape itself, but rest assured that within the short term I will garner a greater appreciation for the day-to-day activities of Michael and the executive director’s seat.

What powers does the deputy executive director have?

CLARK:
I have the opportunity to be more engaged in what is going on day to day. With this role, the players recognize in the event of something happening that doesn’t allow Michael to be in the position that he is in at any particular time or any particular day, that the initial responsibility may fall to me in supporting the players and in the functioning … of the association. ‘Deputy’ doesn’t suggest ‘acting.’ ‘Deputy’ doesn’t suggest permanent. ‘Deputy’ simply suggests supporting to Michael’s active [role].

If and when a successor to Michael Weiner is named, when would that happen?

CLARK:
That decision will be left to the executive board. The players literally run our organization. They make those decisions. … A successor will be determined by the players at the point in time when it is necessary to make that decision. … We are in a very new area. The title and the position has never existed before. Because of the circumstances, Michael believes it was a necessity at this juncture. I will add this. To me, Michael has an “S” on his chest. He always has. So if there is anybody that I don’t believe any of the rules apply to, it’s Michael.

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