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Steroid Testimony: Opening Statement, Jose Canseco

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Mr. CANSECO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, distinguished guests. My name is Jose Canseco, and for 17 years I played professional baseball. I am humbled by the opportunity to appear before you today. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that my athletic ability and love for America’s game would lead me to this place and this subject that has brought me before this committee.

When I decided to write my life story, I was aware that what I revealed about myself and the game I played for the majority of my life would create a stir in the athletic world. I did not know that my revelations would reverberate in the halls of this Chamber and the hearts of so many.

My heart and condolences go out to those families who lost their children through the use of steroids. Today I commit myself to doing everything possible to assist them in conveying to the youth of America the dangers that using steroids will bring. After this hearing I will be happy to work with them in whatever way I can to help convey to the youth of America the message that steroid use is unnecessary to be a great athlete, and that they are harmful to those who take them.

When first contacted by the committee, I was willing to cooperate in all aspects of the investigation. Unlike others, I have never refused to appear before this committee and assist in this endeavor. However, due to the fact I am on probation in Florida for events unrelated to baseball and steroid use, and to the clear evidence of the overzealous efforts of State prosecutors to make an example of me, I request immunity from this committee. I requested immunity from this committee. With immunity I will be free to answer all questions posed to me by the committee without fear of how my testimony would affect my probation. Without immunity, I cannot.

Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much.

Mr. CANSECO. It has been represented that this committee has been called to get to the bottom of steroid use in baseball. Having said that, this meeting is not about prosecution or individual use. If that were true, granting immunity to me should not be an issue. Although I have nothing to hide, and although my answers to your questions will be helpful in resolving uncertainties and issues facing this committee, because of my fear of future prosecution for probation violations or other unrelated charges, I cannot be totally candid with this committee. When appropriate, I will invoke the protections offered me by the fifth amendment. It is unfortunate that the committee chose not to grant me this request, especially since I have been the only player or member of baseball who did not fight the request to appear here today. It is unfortunate the committee has made this decision, as it will not be able to fully investigate the steroid issue without all testimony, and the issue will continue to plague the sport. Thank you for asking me to appear. I will try and answer every question that may be posed to me. Thank you.

Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much, Mr. Canseco.

canseco's written statement is on pg 210-214 and will be inserted here'

Chairman TOM DAVIS. You are appearing voluntarily.

Second, I would note that we did try to get immunity. I talked to the Attorney General about it. We were not able to get it in the time scheduled, unfortunately, but we thank you for your statement.

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