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Steroid Testimony: Questioning by Congressman Henry Waxman

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Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman, before I start with this panel, I wanted to acknowledge a third family that is here with us today, the family of Efrain Marrero, a 19-year-old kid from California who loved to play football. He killed himself after falling into the grip of steroids. As his mother Brenda has said, steroids killed my son. I understand that his mother and father and sister Erica are here today, and they are working with the Garibaldis and Hootons to get the message out about steroid use to America’s youth, and I want to say on behalf of all of us, thank them for coming.

On the question I want to ask, and I don’t know which of you to ask, what I want to know is you have seen steroid use in baseball. You have seen it from inside the clubhouse. Mr. Palmeiro, maybe it would be best to ask you, is it something that most of the baseball players knew about?

Mr. PALMEIRO. I have never seen the use of steroids in the clubhouse.

Mr. WAXMAN. How about the fact that players were using steroids; is that something that other players knew?

Mr. PALMEIRO. I’m sure players knew about it. I really didn’t pay much attention to it. I was focused on what I had to do as part of my job.

Mr. WAXMAN. Did players know? You have spoken out about this. Did you know that other players were using steroids?

Mr. SCHILLING. I think there was suspicion. I don’t think any of us knew, contrary to the claim of former players. I think while I agree it’s a problem, I think the issue was grossly overstated by some people, including myself.

Mr. WAXMAN. Grossly overstated? Why did you do that?

Mr. SCHILLING. I think at the time it was a very hot situation, and we were all being asked to comment on it. And I think my opinion at the time was to go with someone who maybe had a better idea than me. But given a chance to reflect, when I look back on what I said, I’m not sure I could have been any more grossly wrong.

Mr. WAXMAN. Do you think it is a nonproblem in baseball?

Mr. SCHILLING. If one person is using it, I think it’s a problem. I think the desire to get to zero players using is a great goal. I don’t know how achievable that is.

Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Sosa, did you know that other players were using steroids?

Mr. SOSA. To my knowledge, I don’t know.

Mr. CANSECO. Absolutely.

Mr. WAXMAN. You say it so affirmatively, but the others seem to be vague about it. Was it only where you were playing?

Mr. CANSECO. I didn’t hear you.

Mr. WAXMAN. They seem to be vague as to whether it was known by the players that some players were using steroids. Do you think there should have been any doubt in anybody’s mind that steroids was being used by—would you say a large number of players?

Mr. CANSECO. There should have been no doubt whatsoever, none.

Mr. WAXMAN. Does it stop with ballplayers? Steroid use has grown. Do you think that the team trainers, the managers and general managers, and even the owners might have been aware that some players were using steroids?

Mr. CANSECO. No doubt in my mind, absolutely.

Mr. WAXMAN. It’s not a secret that stayed with the players; others knew it in the baseball community?

Mr. CANSECO. Absolutely.

Mr. WAXMAN. Do any of you disagree with you that?

Mr. SCHILLING. Disagree with——

Mr. WAXMAN. Not only did some baseball players know that others were using it, but that managers and other teammates and the trainers also were aware of it?

Mr. SCHILLING. Again, I think it falls—it includes a lot of suspicion and a lot of questioning. Unless you were Jose and you were actually using it, I don’t think you had firsthand knowledge of who knew.

Mr. WAXMAN. Last week a very respected person in the athletic world called me with a suggestion. He said if we want to dramatically cut the use of illegal steroids by kids, we should pass Federal legislation that applies one standard to all major sports, to colleges and high schools, instead of a patchwork of different policies. He suggested taking the Olympic policy and applying that program to everyone. The first violation would result in a 2-year suspension, and the second would bring a lifetime ban. Do you think that would be effective? Let me start with you.

Mr. CANSECO. I think, in my opinion, the most effective thing, right, would be for us to admit there’s a major problem. It’s got to start here, and we have to admit to certain things we have done and change things there. From what I’m hearing, more or less, I was the only individual in Major League Baseball that used steroids. That’s hard to believe.

Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Sosa, do you think we ought to have that gold standard of the Olympic program, zero tolerance? You got caught using steroids; for whatever the sport is, that you are suspended for 2 years, and after that second offense, you’re out. Do you think that would be effective with baseball and other sports as well?

Mr. SOSA. I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, I don’t have too much to tell you.

Mr. WAXMAN. You can think about it.

How about you, Mr. McGwire?

Mr. MCGWIRE. I don’t know, but I think we should find the right standard.

Mr. WAXMAN. Do you think that the standard the baseball commission is using right now is the right standard?

Mr. MCGWIRE. I don’t know. I’m not a current player.

Mr. WAXMAN. You haven’t looked at it?

Mr. MCGWIRE. Correct.

Mr. PALMEIRO. I wouldn’t have a problem of playing under any type of standard. Like I said, I have never taken it, so if you want to play under the rules of the Olympics, I welcome it.

Mr. WAXMAN. My time is up, and I hope we will get another chance.

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