Linked to HGH Purchases
Steroid Report Names Star Players
Panel: Baseball Union, Commissioner and Owners Share Blame
Friday, December 14, 2007
NEW YORK, Dec. 13 -- A 21-month investigation into use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball concluded Thursday a culture of secrecy and permissiveness gave rise to a "steroids era" in the game that included some of its biggest names, most prominent among them superstar pitcher Roger Clemens.
The long-awaited report by George J. Mitchell gave a detailed account provided by a onetime team trainer who told the panel that he injected Clemens -- a seven-time Cy Young Award winner regarded as the greatest pitcher of the last half-century -- with steroids and human growth hormone while he was with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. Clemens was one of 91 players named in the report, a list that included 33 all-stars, 10 most valuable players, and two Cy Young winners.
The report criticized team officials across the league who did little to police their own clubhouses and high-ranking officials in management and the players' union which, the report said, had little motivation to interfere with the surging popularity and economic growth experienced by the game over the last decade. It spread blame for the rise of the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone in baseball among the players, team officials, the union and Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig.
"Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades -- commissioners, club officials, the players association, and players -- shares to some extent in the responsibility for the steroids era," the report said. "There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on. As a result, an environment developed in which illegal use became widespread."
Among the most prominent current and former players fingered in the report were Barry Bonds, Miguel Tejada, Gary Sheffield, Andy Pettitte, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire.
"Players who used [performance-enhancing] substances were wrong," the report said. "They violated federal law and baseball policy, and they distorted the fairness of competition by trying to gain an unfair advantage."
Clemens's attorney said the pitcher denied the allegations in the report. "He just emphatically denies everything in there," said the attorney, Rusty Hardin.
The panel headed by Mitchell, a former Senate majority leader and federal prosecutor, was commissioned by Major League Baseball in March 2006 to address the steroid issue. The report runs 311 pages, plus attachments, and cost, according to two baseball officials, more than $20 million.
Much of the information in the report was old, and merely rehashed previous media reports linking various players to ongoing law enforcement investigations. But the cooperation of two clubhouse insiders -- former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk J. Radomski and former Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees strength coach Brian McNamee, who testified to injecting Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone -- brought about the report's most stunning revelations.
Mitchell also criticized baseball's leadership, chiefly Selig and union counterpart Donald Fehr, for "a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on." As a result, the report says, "an environment developed in which illegal use became widespread."
After the report was released, Selig repeated previous assertions that baseball leaders did all they could do to fight the steroid problem, but said he accepted Mitchell's findings, including those that focused blame on himself.
"If we were naive and missed some signals that [we] should have caught, I'll accept that responsibility," Selig said in an interview with a small group of reporters late Thursday afternoon.