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DECEMBER 19, 2007

Now that the Mitchell Report has been released to the public, and names have been named…we have a pretty good idea of who has bought steroids from Kirt Radomski. We also have records from compounding pharmacies and prescribing doctors, which only tells us that the players involved have used performance enhancing drugs legally (Major League Baseball even has a special exemption clause for this type of case).

But legally even the Radomski evidence wouldn’t be a very strong case against any of the athletes. All we have is some cancelled checks, and the word of one man that they were for steroids and/or growth hormone. The information we have from the doctors and pharmacies only tells us that certain steroids were legally procured by certain athletes – nothing there is legally (or professionally) damning.

My prediction, which we’ve already seen come partially true already, is that now we’re going to see people making some pretty weird claims. After all, we have no real proof that anyone did anything substantial other than cut a check to a personal trainer, and have some conversations with him on the phone – or, in some instances, receive a package or two in the mail. In other cases we only know that some players legally bought steroids.

None of that is even enough (legally) to build even the weakest of cases against those players named. The truth is that we all know that they purchased, received, and ultimately used anabolic steroids and/or hGH. And all of the players who have been named know that.

But some have still filed an appeal in the court of public opinion – making some outlandish claims. One player said that he only did 2-3 shots of hGH (not enough to give him any results), another player “forgot he bought the steroids” and didn’t use them (he “threw them out untouched when he moved”). And that’s not all…other players “bought them and didn’t use them” or “did a shot or two” or whatever…

That’s roughly as believable as me going to a bar and “just doing a shot or two”.

Of course they didn’t use them. We’ve all see the after-school special where the (noble) high-school athlete buys a vial of steroids and stares at it before throwing it in the garbage (thus striking a blow for….uhh….something-or-other…I guess).  But this isn’t an after-school-special or a very special episode of “Different Strokes” where we can all learn a lesson from Kimberly’s successful on-screen battle against chemical dependency (performed by the actor Dana Plato). This is real life, where we deal in reality where the more appropriate lesson is Dana Plato’s unsuccessful off-screen battle with chemical dependency (performed by the actor Dana Plato).

In this world (the real one, which I spend most of my day living in) – professional athletes do not buy thousands of dollars of performance enhancing drugs and then just “forget about them” or “do a couple of shots”. But you probably already knew that.

Some players (who used steroids well prior to the Mitchell Report being conceived) have made the claim that there “was no specific rule in Major League Baseball” that prohibited the use of performance enhancing drugs). I won’t argue the point that technically there was (because I’m right, and there was) – but isn’t there an assumption that you follow the law, to at least some degree? I mean…certainly there is an assumption that baseball players are (implicitly) contractually obligated to follow the laws of this country?
Don’t we assume that they could get in trouble with the league if they break laws? I mean…we certainly expect that they could get in trouble if they kill someone, deal dugs, use drugs, etc…? If they wanted to display that type of behavior they should have picked a different career path (the NFL perhaps).

I didn’t buy any of the players stories for a second, and I’m sure you didn’t either – and I can’t imagine that the players really expected us to.



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