washingtonpost.com  > Politics > In Congress
Page 2 of 5  < Back     Next >

Transcript: Steroids in Baseball

DAVIS: That could mean they're in contempt, which is a fine, or it can be a jail sentence.

RUSSERT: Do you agree?

WAXMAN: Well, that's what it could ultimately come to, but I hope it doesn't. Because I think it's important to have an investigation of steroids in Major League Baseball.

To me, the shocking thing is that baseball doesn't seem to have been much concerned about all the steroid stories about their players over the last 10 years. We shouldn't be doing these hearings. They should have been doing these hearings, for a number of reasons. One, the integrity of the game is at stake.

But from my point of view, the most serious problem is that it permeates to our kids that using steroids to be better athletes is socially acceptable and they're under a competitive disadvantage if they don't do it.

So if you look at the last 10 years, it used to be one out of 45 kids used steroids. Now its' one out of 16. That's 500,000 kids that are using steroids. That's a real serious threat to their health. And it's also a message that cheating is acceptable.

RUSSERT: Would you agree with Chairman Davis that if the players do not show up, both the committee and the full House will hold them in contempt of Congress.

WAXMAN: Well, we have no other choice but to pursue the ability to enforce our subpoenas. But I hope it doesn't come to that.

RUSSERT: There's been a lot of discussion of your posturing in this particular situation. Congressman Paul Kanjorski, who is on your committee, said this to the Philadelphia Inquirer: "I'm astounded. I think there's been a total failure to justify why these subpoenas are necessary. It appears to be a publicity stunt. To spend our time calling seven baseball players -- maybe I've missed something -- is this the most important issue in the United States today?"

"I've received no analysis or evidence that it is. I served as a paige here 50 years ago during the Mccarthy hearings. I was here when Nixon used subpoena power. I know how destructive they can be. What are we looking for?

"Until the committee proves there's a public crisis, it doesn't warrant even a committee hearing; no less, the issuing of subpoenas."

WAXMAN: It is a public health crisis. And our testimony from medical experts is going to show this. We have the parents of kids who have used steroids and committed suicide. Over half a million youths are using steroid. And these major league players are their idols.

Major League Baseball has not come down hard on this. Players have not been out there denouncing it. The policy that they have, we're going to find out. At the hearing, we're going to investigate it. But it's not what they say it is at this point. And I think the public demands action on this.

RUSSERT: Stanley Brand, an attorney for the Major League Baseball Players Association is saying that this is beyond your committee's authority and that it is prying into the privacy of these American citizens, the baseball players.

WAXMAN: Well, we wrote, Jim Davis and I, wrote an extensive letter to Stan Brand, the attorney for baseball, explaining to him why it was within the jurisdiction of our committee. The rules provide for it.

But if you just look at the fact that they're violating the Controlled Substances Act, which Congress passed in 1991, they're violating baseball's own rules against using steroids. And yet, steroid use is increasing. We ought to find out at the minimum why federal laws aren't being enforced adequately or what changes in the law ought to be made. That alone justifies our jurisdiction.

What strikes me is that baseball doesn't want to investigate it. And they don't want us to investigate it. It seems to me that they've had a "don't know, don't tell" policy for the last 10 years. They've said that there's a problem but they don't know who's involved, how it happened. But they're going to put something in place that will fix it.

In your business, when CBS made a serious mistake about President Bush's service record, they changed their policy but they did it after they had an independent investigation. Baseball doesn't want any investigation of this issue.

RUSSERT: Chairman Davis, in terms of the people who have been subpoenaed, why Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire?

DAVIS: Well, they've been named. I mean they've been accused by former colleagues of having used drugs at this point. In one case, we've had players who have said they want to be able to come up and set the record straight.

< Back  1 2 3 4 5    Next >

© 2005 FDCH E-Media