Mitchell press conference tidbits

George Mitchell spoke about his findings about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Some details below …

  • In lieu of punishments, Mitchell thinks the commissioner should allow a fresh start, except for the most severe instances of steroids use. He concluded that the use of performance-enhancing drugs was widespread in baseball and that baseball was slow to respond (he called it a “collective failure”). He said steroid use appeared to be down, but that use of human growth hormone has risen. “Baseball does not need and cannot afford the never-ending search” for names of those who used performance-enhancing drugs.
  • This just in from the Associated Press: Roger Clemens, Miguel Tejada and Andy Pettitte were named in the long-awaited Mitchell Report on Thursday, an All-Star roster linked to steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs that put a question mark — if not an asterisk — next to some of baseball’s biggest moments.
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    Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroids, also showed up in baseball’s most infamous lineup since the Black Sox scandal.

    The report culminated a 20-month investigation by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, hired by commissioner Bud Selig to examine the Steroids Era.

    It was uncertain whether the report would result in any penalties or suspensions.

    Several stars named in the report could pay the price in Cooperstown, much the way Mark McGwire was kept out of the Hall of Fame this year merely because of steroids suspicion.

    “Former commissioner Fay Vincent told me that the problem of performance-enhancing substances may be the most serious challenge that baseball has faced since the 1919 Black Sox scandal,” Mitchell said in the 409-page report.

    “The illegal use of anabolic steroids and similar substances, in Vincent’s view, is ‘cheating of the worst sort.’ He believes that it is imperative for Major League Baseball to ‘capture the moral high ground’ on the issue and, by words and deeds, make it clear that baseball will not tolerate the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.”

    Eric Gagne and Paul Lo Duca were among other current players named in the report, both linked to Human Growth Hormone.

    “We identify some of the players who were caught up in this drive to gain a competitive advantage,” the report said. “Other investigations will no doubt turn up more names and fill in more details, but that is unlikely to significantly alter the description of baseball’s `steroids era’ as set forth in this report.”

    More from Mitchell:

  • Mitchell is also recommending changes to baseball’s drug program, including having an independent administrator oversee the program. Mitchell said most of the violations recorded in his report occurred between two and nine years ago.
  • Mitchell (summarized): It’s important to deal with the players who are illegal users but it is at least as important, perhaps even more so, to deal with the reality that children are also using steroids. Mitchell confirmed the cooperation of a former Mets clubhouse emplyoee and other sources about the use of performance-enhancing substances.
  • Mitchell is speaking about his report: “For more than a decade, there has been widespread use of anabolic steroids in baseball.” He also said that the use of human growth hormone in baseball has increased. He said his report outlines “baseball’s steroids era,” and that each of the 30 clubs has been affected.
  • We’re watching on TV as the report is being handed out to reporters at the Mitchell press conference, which is taking place in New York City.
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