Dan Duquette, the former Red Sox general manager who found himself defending the club’s approach to steroids during his tenure after former infielder Lou Merloni said Saturday that a team-approved doctor once told Boston players how to properly use them, spoke to WEEI’s “The Big Show” about the topic today.
Here are a few of the highlights of the interview. Merloni was a co-host of the show:
On whether the version of events Merloni spoke about over the weekend was accurate:
Duquette: “I’m not buying it . . . and the reason is all of medical people were clear on the policy of the club. I will say that I felt it was really important to education the players on the associated health risks associated with steroid use. Because, let’s face it, there was a player’s choice. It wasn’t a team choice. The team made it’s choice very clear: you can’t do it, it’s against the law and it’s against major league baseball policy and team policy.”
On whether he thought Merloni’s comments suggested that the Red Sox told players how to do steroids:
Duquette: “No, but I think it was inferred from his comments. And the club was never doing that.”
On whether he had doctors and trainers discuss steroid use with the team:
Duquette: “We had people come and tell the players about the risks of using steroids, yes we did. I thought a lot of the guys who started using steroids, they didn’t have medical access to them, and there was a lot of health risks for the first users of steroids that were prominent in a number of different sports.
On the Red Sox’ approach to steroid education during Duquette’s time as GM (1994-2001):
Duquette: Absent a testing program at the major-league level, I thought the most important part of any program that a team could have was educating the players, educating players to choices they were making, so that they could make an educated choice and avert the health risk. The comment made [by Merloni] on Saturday implied that the club was encouraging steroid use or steroid abuse. That wasn’t the case.”
[Note: This comment came after Merloni attempted to clarify his remarks from Saturday and said there were frequent meetings about the dangers of using steroids, but no encouragement to use them. He made the analogy today of teaching a teenager about safe sex.]
On whether he thought Roger Clemens used steroids upon signing with the Blue Jays before the 1997 season:
Duquette: “I was just disappointed that we couldn’t get the same results from him here . . . I’ll have more to say about that in another forum. I’ll have more to say about that in the future.
On whether he was surprised by Manny Ramirez’s suspension:
Duquette: “I was disappointed. I wasn’t surprised.”