MLBPA & Klean Athlete Partnership Offers a Way to Keep Baseball Clean

In the encouraging words of Celine Dion, "A new day has come," or at least we hope so for the sake of the MLB's credibility in the future. The best part is that it is just in time for the All-Star break and various honorable events, like the Home Run Derby, being held this week.

Indeed, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) entered uncharted territory in the business world, and it involves a component that has has been a major hot topic for over a decade. Professional baseball is changing its strategy to incentivize its athletes to steer clear of products that may lead them - intentionally or unintentionally - to breach the Joint Drug Agreement through collective bargaining agreement and place their future in the League in jeopardy.

The MLBPA and Klean Athlete Nutritional Supplements, an NSF Certified for Sport® line, have formed a non-exclusive partnership potentially through 2017 that is self-described on Klean Athlete's homepage as a "first-of-its-kind partnership designed to optimize nutritional health and well-being of players." Although the price tag and monetary figures have yet to be disclosed, we do know a few major features of their partnership agreement:

  1. All nutritional supplements sold, distributed, and marketed under the Klean Athlete brand name can bear the label "Official Provider of the MLB".
  2. The MLBPA gave permission to Klean Athlete to use the MLB Logo on its products.
  3. Klean Athlete can call itself and be identified as an "approved and authorized nutritional supplement partner of the MLB."

Klean Athlete did not hesitate to utilize the rights from this agreement and decorate its website with these logos and phrases (see images below). Because this is not an exclusive partnership, the MLBPA technically can pursue similar agreements with other companies like Klean Athlete. Regardless, this trailblazing move evidences that MLBPA is trying to prove to the League and its fans that it cares about the game's integrity as much as it cares about the health of the athletes the entity is organized to protect. Seeing that the organization is at a good place and recognizes that it is time to give athletes an option with an official, confirmed thumbs up that they are "otherwise clean of all applicable banned substances and approved under the then-current Joint Drug Agreement by and between the MLBPA and Major League Baseball" as well as complying with all NSF requirements and its ongoing testing.

To read a PDF of the MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, click here.