While Red Sox principal owner John Henry's claim that he was fined 500,000 for remarks about baseball's revenue sharing system may seem like a fanciful exaggeration, it turns out that Henry was indeed socked with that figure, according to sources.
In Novemeber of 2009, in remarks supplied by e-mail simultaneously to CSNNE.com and The Boston Globe, Henry complained that too many teams were accepting revenue sharing from big-market clubs but failing to re-invest the money properly to produce a winner on the field. Henry decried the current revenue sharing system and expressed a wish that revenue sharing would be given a drastic overhaul in the next collective bargaining agreement.
Henry revealed Tuesday, in an interview on WEEI, that as a result of his comments, he was fined 500,000 by commisioner Bud Selig, who has placed a gag order on owners as negotiations for a new CBA draw closer.
A spokesperson for the commissioner's office offered no comment citing MLB policy on fines assessed by Selig. However, an industry source said the 500,000 cited Tuesday by Henry was "not inaccurate." The source was unsure whether a fine of that magnitude had been assessed before or since Henry's comments.
Last month Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner echoed some of Henry's complaints from 2009, and in a rare bit of fraternity with the rival Red Sox said the two American League superpowers were on the same page on the issue of revenue sharing.
It's likely that Steinbrenner and the Yankees were also fined for those remarks, though that could not be confirmed Tuesday.