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Steroid Testimony: Opening Statement, Sammy Sosa

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STATEMENT OF SAMMY SOSA

[NOTE.—The following statement was provided through Mr. Sosa’s attorney.]

Mr. SHARP. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Waxman and representatives of the committee, my name is Jim Sharp, and I represent Mr. Sosa. I appreciate the departure from the norm permitting me to read his statement.

The statement of Mr. Sammy Sosa.

Good afternoon, members of the committee. I understand that people have said that steroids are a big problem in professional baseball, and that it is trickling down to our children. I am here to offer my testimony in the hope that it will assist the committee in remedying this problem.

I grew up in San Pedro in the Dominican Republic with four brothers and two sisters. My father passed away when I was 7 years old. We sold oranges and shined shoes to get by. Early on I displayed a talent for baseball, and when I was 16, I left home and signed with the Texas Rangers. I played in the Minor Leagues for 4 years before I played in my first Major League game when I was 20 years old.

Playing at that level is very difficult, especially for someone as young as I was. I had to fight for everything, and that meant working out harder than the next guy, lifting a few more reps than the last guy. It meant spending more time in the batting cages and less time in the clubs.

Everything I heard about steroids and human growth hormones is that they are very bad for you, even lethal. I would have never put anything dangerous like that in my body, nor would I encourage other people to use illegal performance-enhancing drugs. To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything. I have not broken the laws of the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic. I have been tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.

I support testing professional athletes for illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Because rigorous testing is new to baseball, the initial reaction of many players was to bristle at the perceived invasion of privacy, but if more testing is what it takes to help clean up the sport, I am behind it.

In light of recent scandals and serious public health problems, we players need to commit to doing whatever it takes to regain our credibility as athletes and as members of the community. I do a lot of charity work for young people. I am genuinely committed to their welfare. I am willing to work with you and the Congress as a whole to educate kids and young athletes about these serious issues. Education, of course, starts in the home, but we baseball players can help by speaking out against the use of illegal performance- enhancing drugs. To the extent that I can help in these efforts, I am anxious to do so.

Thank you very much.

Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much.

sosa's written statement is on pg 217-218

Mr. SHARP. If you will indulge me at this point, he would just like to say a few words.

Chairman TOM DAVIS. That would be fine. Make sure the microphone is in front of him.

Mr. SOSA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was back there in the room, and I was watching on the TV the two families that lost the two kids, and it really shocked me and breaks my heart. I want to send sympathy to those families that had to go through that situation, and, you know, the quicker we can resolve this problem as to that which is bad for kids, you know, I am willing to work with you guys and do the best that I can to stop this. I just want to say that. Thank you very much.

Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much.

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