No. There is no doubt that the owners and players were slow to respond to the scandal. But their late reaction does not change the legal landscape. Both are free to do whatever the law allows to protect their interests. If the union wants to legally challenge the findings in Mitchell's report, it is free to do so. Some would argue that the owners and the union are somehow "estopped" from taking actions. "Estopped," in this context, would mean that the law would prevent them from going to court with issues. No one is estopped. There is no estoppel. They can do what they want despite their tardy recognition of the problem.
Selig says he will decide player punishments on a case-by-case basis. Is this fair to players? How could he discipline one player and not another? What standard would he use?
Using the evidence described in detail in the pages of the Mitchell report, Selig could decide things on a case-by-case basis. The evidence on each player varies both in quality and quantity. If the evidence consists only of a statement from one witness of doubtful veracity, Selig could rule that there will be no punishment. If the evidence is powerful and corroborated by phone records, checks, e-mails and other documents, he could rule that the player would be disciplined. He would decide on the evidence and not on the importance of the player.
Lester Munson, a Chicago lawyer and journalist who has been reporting on investigative and legal issues in the sports industry for 18 years, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.