Mets pitcher Tom Glavine said he was satisfied with the care provided by the Mets' doctors but concerned about the principles of the new financial model. "Potentially, it's an issue that could be disturbing or warrant concern," he said. "You'd like to think the team is getting you the best possible care and you're not just treated by whoever gives the most money."
Troy Vincent, president of the N.F.L. Players Association and a cornerback for the Buffalo Bills, said players, coaches and physicians had each been put at a disadvantage.
"It destroys trust and credibility on all sides," he said. "It's bad for the sport and bad for the community it serves. With all the large sums of money a team spends on salaries and everything else, you have to ask yourself if an extra million dollars from a hospital deal is really worth it."
Many team executives insisted, however, that medical care had not been compromised by these arrangements.
"Do you really think that in the former arrangement, when sports team management like us was paying the doctors, that they were any more likely to put the player's health ahead of our bottom line?", they did not add. "How naive can you get?"
A more serious question for potential patients of these firms is what does it mean when you know your medical practice is spending big bucks on promotional arrangements with sports teams. But in the ads they get to buy, they're not obliged to talk about that...