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Fox Rothschild partner Edward Hayes has helped baseball players such as Curt Schilling negotiate contracts, obtain endorsement deals, organize charitable organizations, and buy and sell real estate. But when the Boston Red Sox’s star pitcher was subpoenaed to appear before a congressional committee seeking information about steroid usage in baseball, Hayes had to provide a very different kind of representation. Schilling called Hayes with immediate concern. After all, he has never been implicated for using steroids during his lengthy career, which included almost nine years with the Phillies. So Hayes contacted staff members for the Committee on Government Reform and asked why his client was being dragged into the scandal along with players who have been implicated or rumored to have used steroids such as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco. Staffers assured him that the committee members wanted to hear from players who have not been embroiled in the scandal and have actually opposed using the banned substances. So Schilling and Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas were asked to fit that bill. Even after that call, Hayes said he had two major concerns. One was the area of inquiry to which his client would be subjected. Schilling did not want to be put in the position of being asked to out fellow players for using steroids. In addition, Hayes was concerned that Schilling would be faced with guilt by association with the other players called to testify. “I was concerned that the day after the hearings every newspaper in the country would have a picture of Curt with his hand in the air in a mass swearing-in next to the other players with a photo caption that read ‘Steroid Scandal,’” Hayes said. “I was just concerned about his reputation.” So after an April 15 trip to Washington, D.C., and some negotiations with committee staffers, it was agreed that Schilling would be sworn in and could enter the chamber separately. Hayes also suggested to congressional leaders that Schilling be allowed to establish a steroid education task force geared toward young people. Congress accepted the suggestion and named Schilling and Thomas co-chairmen, announcing the committee formation before his testimony last Thursday. In the two weeks between receiving the subpoena and Schilling’s testimony, Hayes and other Fox Rothschild lawyers found and pored over every public statement Schilling made about steroids so he would be prepared to deal with questions from congressmen. Hayes also secured Steven Umin, a partner at Washington’s Williams & Connolly who has experience in dealing with administrative agencies. The day before the hearing, Hayes flew to Fort Myers, Fla. – the Red Sox’s spring training home – and waited for his client to finish his daily workout before the two worked on the statement Schilling would read before the committee. Beat reporters asked Schilling why he needed a lawyer if he had not taken steroids and the chatty fireballer responded with his usual candor. “You take a lawyer with you to protect you in case you say something stupid,” Schilling said. “And since we are talking about me, there’s a substantial likelihood I’ll say something stupid.” Schilling and Hayes flew to Washington that night and were at the Capitol building the next morning at 10 a.m. After waiting a few hours to be called, Schilling and the other current and former players were sworn in. Schilling read a statement in which he bashed Canseco for writing a book that accused McGwire and Palmeiro, among others, of taking steroids. He went on to speak in favor of the recently adopted testing procedures – criticized as too lenient by many committee members because they give players the opportunity to commit five steroid-related infractions before they are permanently suspended from the game – saying that subjecting players to the public humiliation of being labeled a steroid user was enough of a deterrent. “From Curt’s perspective, he thinks it was a big deal that the players union re-opened the collective bargaining agreement and made positive results public,” Hayes said. “He has been an outspoken critic of the previous testing policy. And when he was asked about it, he said personally he would have no problem with an Olympic standard [in which athletes are banned for years at a time after only one offense]. But he wouldn’t say what Congress wanted him to say – that baseball wasn’t dealing with the problem.” Hayes made the conscious decision to sit behind Schilling – and not next to him like the lawyers of other players – because he didn’t want to give the impression that Schilling needed an attorney for the proceedings. He said he was not concerned that Schilling’s responses were viewed as being milquetoast by some members of the media who are accustomed to the pitcher’s shoot-from-the-hip style. “He didn’t want people to perceive that he was a mouthpiece for the league,” Hayes said. “And while I know that’s what some people might have thought, I think he came out of it in good shape because he wasn’t lumped in with the other players, and really, the problems McGwire had overshadowed everything else.” McGwire, who in 1998 broke the nearly four-decade-old single-season home run record set by Roger Maris, was repeatedly asked whether he had taken steroids. And he answered by saying that if a player admitted to taking steroids, the player would be subject to public scorn. If he said he didn’t, then he would be called a liar. So when asked if he personally took steroids, McGwire’s response was that he wasn’t going to talk about the past. Hayes said he would have given McGwire different advice. “That dance he kept doing about not wanting to talk about the past was done so he would not have to plead the Fifth Amendment,” Hayes said. “No disrespect to the people representing him, but everyone who saw him still comes away thinking that’s just what he did. If he had started out the hearing by pleading the Fifth, he would have taken some heat but the public reaction wouldn’t have been as bad.” Hayes said he would have explored whether McGwire, despite receiving a congressional subpoena, needed to appear at the hearing. He said he would have looked as to whether the committee had jurisdiction over the topic of steroid use. And even if he did determine it did have jurisdiction, he would have explored if asking McGwire about whether he used steroids was pertinent to the hearing. “So you could have raised objections to questions that were not pertinent to the public health,” Hayes said. “The testing program deals with the public health. Whether McGwire used steroids does not affect the public health.” Hayes’ inroad as a baseball player agent emanates from his own playing days at Temple University in the 1970s. His coach, Skip Wilson, is still in charge of the Owls’ program. And after Hayes graduated from Temple Law in 1979 and joined Fox Rothschild, the school’s elite baseball players often turned to him for legal representation. At one time or another he has represented former major leaguers John Marzano and Jeff Manto and current Detroit Tigers outfielder Bobby Higginson, for whom he has negotiated two multimillion dollar contracts. He also represents Philadelphia native Joe McEwing, for whom Hayes negotiated a contract with the Kansas City Royals over the weekend. But his big break came in 1994 when he began representing Phillies all-star centerfielder Lenny Dykstra. Since that time he has helped Dykstra, now retired and living in California, with real estate transactions, legal matters, estate planning, and the development and expansion of a car wash chain business. It was Dykstra who referred Schilling to Hayes in 1996. Schilling had an agent at the time but used Hayes for a variety of legal matters. He assisted Schilling in selling his houses in Kennett Square and Arizona and purchasing a house in the Boston area. He represented the pitcher in a dispute with a former financial adviser over missing money, which was confidentially settled out of court. He also helped Schilling negotiate endorsement deals with Ford Motor Co. and Dunkin Donuts. He helped Schilling and his wife, Shonda, establish a foundation to raise money for skin cancer research as well as to advance his interests in raising money for ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. And last year during the Red Sox’s drive to a World Series championship, he helped Schilling secure a copyright for a T-shirt with the slogan “Why Not Us?” Schilling fired his agent in 2003 and negotiated his own contract extension when he was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Red Sox. Hayes said when Schilling would finish a negotiating session with Red Sox officials, he would call his lawyer and plot the next course of action. Hayes estimates that 25 percent of his practice is now dedicated to representing baseball players in a variety of legal and business matters. The bulk of his practice is spent representing title insurance companies in real estate litigation. While he said he is glad the hearing is in the rearview mirror, Hayes said he knows he was a part of history. “In 15 or 20 years, people might still see the footage with my smiling face behind Curt,” Hayes said. “We’ll see what comes of all this but it could have historical implications like the Black Sox scandal [when eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox were banned for life from baseball for accepting money to throw the World Series]. It was a strange experience but one that I will never forget.”

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