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Transcript: Steroids in Baseball

WAXMAN: No. They won't. Some have had -- we have, in one case, one player has said that they don't want immunity, they're ready to come and testify.

RUSSERT: But anyone who asks, it will be granted?

WAXMAN: Not necessarily.

DAVIS: Well, we're still looking at that and still discussing it.

RUSSERT: Dave Anderson of the New York Times, a very respected sports writer, wrote this on Friday: "Without Bonds, Hearing Loses Much of Its Power. For all the questions being raised in the skirmish between a congressional committee and Major League Baseball over most of the subpoenas issued for Thursday's real opening day, the scheduled hearing in Washington on steroids in baseball, perhaps the most important question has been raked under the infield dirt: Why wasn't Barry Bonds subpoenaed?

"Since Bonds is the symbol of suspected steroid use in baseball, a hearing without his testimony, whatever it may be, loses some, if not most, of its credibility. Without issuing a subpoena for Bonds, the committee is giving him an intentional walk."

How do you respond?

DAVIS: Well, there are a lot of reasons why people are on or off the list, including the BALCO investigation in San Francisco, but including the fact that we didn't want to make this about one player. The problem of steroids has been systematic throughout baseball. You bring Bonds in, it's going to be just about Barry Bonds. It's more widespread than that.

RUSSERT: But if you have Giambi and Palmiero and McGwire and Sosa, it's not just about one player. Why...

DAVIS: There are a lot of factors that go into this, including other investigations going on, in terms of who we asked and who we didn't.

RUSSERT: So, with Barry Bonds, your concern is the granting of immunity?

DAVIS: I didn't say that. I think there are a lot of factors that go into deciding not to go with Bonds.

RUSSERT: As you know, Congressman Waxman, baseball fans are watching Barry Bonds close in on the homerun record of Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron. Why not bring him before your committee and ask him straight up, did you ever take steroids?

WAXMAN: Well, he may come before us at some future hearing. This may not be the last hearing we hold on this subject. It depends on how much we learn on Thursday. And of course, if people don't even want to come in, refuse, snub their nose at the Congress, then we're going to have another hearing at least.

But the important point is not any one player. The important point is the widespread use of steroids by baseball players and other athletes and what changes in the law we might need and how we can stop this. Signal to the kids that they have to take steroids to be athletes and be competitive? High school kids are told, if they want a scholarship, they better take steroids?

RUSSERT: Who says that?

WAXMAN: Well, that's the whole line of if you're a professional, your competitors take steroids; you're at a competitive disadvantage if you're in college and want to go into the pros, you feel like you have to take steroids; and then high school kids get the sense that, if they want scholarships, to be good athletes, they've got to take steroids. It forces them, it's a pressure on them.

And then, on the other side of it is it becomes socially acceptable. Baseball and other sports have made it acceptable for people to use steroids to enhance their performance, which also means they're cheating in order to win.

RUSSERT: How widespread do you think this problem is?

DAVIS: Well, there's no question, it's been very widespread. Now that baseball's starting testing, we'll be getting some of the test results. We don't want to know who passed and who failed, but we need to know, you know, what the numbers are. We'll get, I think, a better handle on it.


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