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Frequently Asked Questions

Congressional Hearing on Steroids in Baseball

By Dan Jung
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 16, 2005; 8:00 PM

Why is Congress investigating steroid use in baseball?

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, said the main motivation for the investigation is the rising use of steroids among the country's children. Along with testimony from baseball players and executives, the committee also calls upon medical experts and parents whose children committed suicide after using steroids.

"Kids are dying from the use of steroids. They're looking up to these major league leaders in terms of the enhancements that they're using. And we have to stop it," Waxman said in an interview March 13, 2005 on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), the committee's chairman, adds that baseball's image and integrity are also on the line. "There's a cloud over baseball, and perhaps a public discussion of the issues, with witnesses testifying under oath, can provide a glimpse of sunlight."

Transcript: Excerpt from "Meet the Press" (March 13, 2005)

Committee Seeks Steroid 'Discussion' (The Washington Post, March 4, 2005)

Why wasn't Barry Bonds subpoenaed?

Committee members cite a continuing grand jury investigation into BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative whose founder has been indicted for distributing steroids to top athletes, and fear the hearing would become too focused on Barry Bonds as reasons he was not subpoenaed. Jason Giambi, who was originally subpoenaed, has since been excused because of his role in the same federal case against BALCO.

"The problem of steroids has been systematic throughout baseball," Davis said March 13, 2005 on NBC's "Meet the Press." "You bring Bonds in, it's going to be just about Barry Bonds. It's more widespread than that."

Transcript: Excerpt from "Meet the Press" (March 13, 2005)

What is the BALCO investigation?

In 2003 a federal jury began an investigation into BALCO after reports surfaced that the company was providing performance-enhancing drugs to track and field athletes. Many prominent baseball players, such as Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi, have since been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. In February 2004 BALCO's president, Victor Conte Jr., and three of his associates, among them Bonds's personal trainer, were indicted for conspiring to distribute steroids and other drugs to dozens of professional athletes.

Four Are Charged in High-Profile Steroid Case (The Washington Post, Feb. 13, 2004)

Who's Who in the BALCO Investigation (The Washington Post, Dec. 4, 2004)

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