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Steroid Testimony: Questioning by Congressman Patrick McHenry

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Mr. MCHENRY. Thank you all for coming here today. I know it is not an easy situation for any of you. I appreciate the fact that as individuals you don’t like the idea of having to come before Congress and swear an oath. I certainly understand that, and I respect your right to privacy as individuals.

Our hearings today are not about you as individuals. A lot has been made of a book written, a lot has been made of statements that have been made, but it’s not about you as individuals, it is the overall societal problem. And you all mentioned, with these families that testified earlier, the impact it had on you as individuals. That’s a message that your sport, you and your colleagues are sending in many ways.

And so I have a simple question, and you can answer yes or no or choose to not answer. That is certainly your right. Is using steroids the use of steroids, is that cheating?


Mr. PALMEIRO. I believe it is.

Mr. MCGWIRE. Not for me to determine.

Mr. MCHENRY. For you, is it cheating, yes or no?

Mr. MCGWIRE. It’s not for me to determine.

Mr. SOSA. I think so.

Mr. CANSECO. I think so. And in many ways it also cheats the individual who uses it because eventually if found out or come to the forefront, they have to go through this. Absolutely.

Mr. MCHENRY. My followup question is to Mr. McGwire. You said you would like to be a spokesman on this issue. What is your message?

Mr. MCGWIRE. My message is that steroids is bad. Don’t do them. It’s a bad message. And I’m here because of that. And I want to tell everybody that I will do everything I can, if you allow me, to turn this into a positive. There is so much negativity said out here. We need to start talking about positive things here.

Mr. MCHENRY. How do you know they’re bad?

Mr. MCGWIRE. Pardon me?

Mr. MCHENRY. Your message, coming from professional baseball, would you say that perhaps you have known people that have taken steroids, and you have seen ill effects on that, or would your message be that you have seen the direct effects of steroids?

Chairman TOM DAVIS. Let me just note here that House rule 11 protects witnesses and the public from the disclosure of defamatory, degrading or incriminating testimony in open session. House rules at this point are both clear and strict. I think if the testimony tends to defame, the committee can’t proceed in open session, and we want to proceed in open session today. So with that in mind, you can choose to answer that, Mr. McGwire.

Mr. MCHENRY. Respectfully, my question is just about the message he would carry to the people.

Chairman TOM DAVIS. I just wanted to give——

Mr. MCGWIRE. I have accepted, by my attorney’s advice, not to comment on this issue.

Mr. MCHENRY. If you go down the line again, and I will ask another question, and everyone can answer simply and directly I would hope. If it is proven that a player has set records while using steroids, should those records stand?

Mr. CANSECO. It’s impossible to measure, I would guess, what one steroid does to one player and another player. There is no guideline to try to say, well, if he hits 60 or 70 home runs because he was on steroids, we are going to take away 20 or 25 of his home runs. It’s impossible.

Mr. SOSA. It’s not up to me.

Mr. MCGWIRE. Not up to me to determine that.

Mr. PALMEIRO. I believe that’s up to the Commissioner.

Mr. SCHILLING. Absolutely not.

Mr. MCHENRY. Thank you for your frank answers. And as members of the Players’ Union, which you all are or were, your representatives sat down and negotiated on your behalf about the steroid policy. And part of what we will hear from the Commissioner, I’m sure, and your union representative, is the fact, well, from your union representative, that he was empowered to negotiate certain directions.

Did you support the old policy, the old policy on steroids? Did you empower your union representative—what was your stance on the issue of steroids within your union votes as members of the union? Did you support a more stringent policy, or did you ask your union representative to limit the policy when it comes to steroids?

Mr. SCHILLING. No, I didn’t support the old policy. And as a team, the Diamondbacks made it very clear we didn’t support the old policy to the point where we spoke about not taking the tests ourselves to force a failed result to increase the toughness of the policy. And I think that’s exactly what happened.

Mr. PALMEIRO. Since there was a new policy in place, and first time I was tested, I was in favor of it. I was aware we needed to take bigger steps and more steps, and I think we need to give a chance to this new policy. And if we do take more steps, I’m in favor of that also.

Mr. MCGWIRE. I’ve been retired.

Mr. MCHENRY. When you were a member of the Players’ Union?

Mr. MCGWIRE. There was no policy.

Chairman TOM DAVIS. Gentleman’s time has expired, and we will allow the previous answer to be accepted.

Mr. SOSA. I don’t have the specific question to explain to you.

Mr. CANSECO. The policy was never an issue when I was there.

The only players that may have been privy to it briefly were members of the Players Association. Each organization had a representative that would go and represent that team. So as beyond that, no policy was ever mentioned or really talked about.

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