Earlier this week, the MLB announced that John Keker has been hired as lead counsel to defend the league in the lawsuit filed by the city of San Jose.
It appears to be a shrewd move by commissioner Bud Selig and his underlings. The San Francisco-based attorney has already said that he plans to file a motion to have the case dismissed in early August. But who exactly is Keker?
Keker was schooled at Princeton and Yale (where he received his J.D.) and he earned a Purple Heart in Vietnam. Today, he’s widely regarded as one of the top white-collar defense attorneys in the country. He served as the lead prosecutor in the Iran-Contra case, and has represented the likes of Lance Armstrong, George Lucas, Google and the MLB Players Association.
Oh, and he’s also a season ticket holder of the San Francisco Giants. So the man who is leading MLB’s case to uphold its antitrust exemption, is a really big fan of the team that would most benefit from the league winning the case.
When the San Francisco Chronicle asked Keker about this seemingly blatant conflict of interest, Keker was quick to point out that he’s also a big supporter of the Oakland Athletics. What’s more, he’s apparently been cleared to represent the league. He assured the Chronicle: “It’s all been worked out.”
The only question is, by whom? The conclusion that can be drawn from all of this, is that Selig really doesn’t want the Athletics to move to San Jose. I suspected as much last week when Chuck Reed, the mayor of San Jose, told me he’s never actually had a conversation with Selig.
This decision to bring on Keker further supports that claim. It’s still unclear how high of a priority the Athletics’ unresolved stadium situation is for the commissioner, but one thing certainly is clear: Selig does not intend to lose this court case.
Perhaps if Keker wins this case, this Giants fan will unwittingly help the Athletics move one step closer to a new stadium in the Port of Oakland.