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Steroid Testimony: Questioning by Congressman John Sweeney

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Mr. SWEENEY. Welcome all, and thank you for your participation. I want to ask a general question of the entire panel with the idea that I would followup with a specific. The general question is you all made very strong statements about your interests in helping us develop some public education process. Very briefly, because there is a time issue and I would like to hear from each of you what you think the danger is, what your perception of what has happened out there in the world because of the allegations of steroid use; and second, what can Major League Baseball and the Players Association do tangibly, if you have ideas? And, Mr. Schilling, I will start with you.

Mr. SCHILLING. I think the inherent danger here is inactivity. I don’t think a PSA is going to do it. I think there needs to be tough legislation mandated on the Federal level that affects high school athletics, college athletics. And I do agree, I think if you come to one standard and a blanket standard for everybody that is tough and strict and enforceable, there’s no question that’s the way to go.

Mr. PALMEIRO. I do believe we are role models, and we do have a lot of power in what kids listen to and the message that we send to them. And I believe that if we do send the right message, we can help tremendously.

Mr. MCGWIRE. I believe that’s one of the reasons I am here is to make this a positive thing instead of a negative thing, and I will do everything in my power to turn this around from a negative to a positive.

Mr. SOSA. I agree with Mr. McGwire. One of the reasons we are here is to stop that. And I think we did some more tests. And one way or another, we are here to help.

Mr. CANSECO. I think the most important thing is going to be awareness here. I mean, it is in the forefront right now. We are looking at it. Major League Baseball player, whatever comes out of this meeting will say, wow, we have eyes on us, they are looking at us. We have to change something. Hopefully this book educates people and what is going on in sports and how devastating the use is in Major League sports. And no matter what comes out of this, at least we are going to have some type of start, some type of position to say, look, you got to stop this. The owners have to stop this continuing. They have to stop this, period.

Mr. SWEENEY. I have two questions to followup. One is that given its impact, especially with the last panel on scholastic athletics and kids in this country, do any of you doubt that maybe Major League Baseball—and when I say Major League Baseball, I’m including the Players Association—don’t you think that Major League Baseball has an obligation to help pay for that program because all of those things cost money? Anyone disagree that Major League Baseball helps to subsidize?

Chairman TOM DAVIS. Talking about the owners here?

Mr. SWEENEY. I’m talking about the owners and possibly the Players Association in conjunction.

Mr. SCHILLING. For the owners I say yes.

Mr. SWEENEY. My point is baseball has an obligation here; don’t you agree?

And the final question, I’m going to go into sensitive territory, and our intent is not to embarrass anybody here. We have just established— we all agree this is a public health policy issue. This is not treading on conduct that rises to the level of criminality in the past years, but this year it is, and that is the use of steroid precursors and designer steroids and how prevalent that was in baseball because that is part of the culture. And specifically, Mr. McGwire, I have to ask you this question from your statement. In part 10, you essentially say that the impact on children is devastating. You recognize that. And you want people to understand that the use of any performance-enhancing drug can be dangerous. It is rather an infamous occurrence that in the year you were breaking the home run record, a bottle of Andro was seen in your locker.

My question to you is your position now says that the use of that product, which is now illegal but was not then—how did you get to that point that was what you were using to prepare yourself to play? And if you could tell this committee how you ended up there. And I would like to know if other players have similar experiences. I think that would help us understand what you all live in.

Mr. MCGWIRE. Well, sir, I’m not here to talk about the past, I’m here to talk about the positive and not the negative about this issue.

Mr. SWEENEY. Were you ever counseled that precursors or designer steroids might have the same impact?

Mr. MCGWIRE. I’m not here to talk about the past.

Mr. SWEENEY. I will simply say to alleviate the kinds of questions that surround the game, we need to understand the game.

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