Wittman, Blast in grievance

October 31, 1991|By Bill Free

Former Baltimore Blast midfielder Tim Wittman will attempt to retrieve $6,250 in back pay Nov. 11 when his grievance against the team is heard by arbitrator George Nicolau.

The Major Soccer League Players Association, on behalf of Wittman, is claiming that Wittman was injured at the end of last season and should have been paid by the Blast until doctors ruled he was capable of playing again.

Will Bray, assistant to MSLPA director John Kerr, said yesterday that Wittman should have been paid at the rate of a third-year player -- $2,500 a month -- after his contract ran out July 1.

Baltimore stopped paying Wittman on July 1, even though he didn't receive clearance to play from Blast doctor Joseph Ciotola until Sept. 15.

Wittman underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee last March 18 and was virtually out for the last seven games of the season. His only appearance after the March surgery was a brief stint in the first quarter of a March 30 game against the Cleveland Crunch.

Wittman, who is now with the San Diego Sockers, didn't play in the final two games and underwent arthroscopic surgery again to repair cartilage in his left knee June 10.

"It's a private matter between our club, our legal counsel and Timmy," said Blast vice president of soccer operations Drew Forrester, when asked why the team was denying the grievance.

However, in August, then-Blast general manager John Borozzi said the team was questioning whether Wittman was injured enough not to play in the last game of the season.

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