Paper apologizes 'without reservations'

Updated: April 11, 2005, 11:03 AM ET news services

ONTARIO, Calif. -- A Southern California newspaper on Sunday apologized to Bo Jackson and retracted part of a story saying the former football and baseball star used steroids.

"Jackson has stated publicly he has never used steroids," the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin said on its Web site. "We retract the quote and the further statement that the speaker personally witnessed this damage to his life. We apologize to Mr. Jackson, without reservation."

In a story published March 24 under sports editor Jim Mohr's byline, dietary expert Ellen Coleman was quoted as saying she knew personally that "Bo Jackson lost his hip because of anabolic abuse."

Jackson responded last week by suing the newspaper, MediaNews Group Inc., MediaNews Group Interactive, Inc., Mohr and three other employees for unspecified general and punitive damages in Illinois.

"I've got nothing to hide," Jackson said. "If anyone wants to check into my medical past, go get blood tests, go check up on those blood tests and see if there was any anabolic steroids in it. You're more than welcome."

Jackson's defamation suit would continue, his attorney Dan Biederman said Sunday, adding that he had no comment on the newspaper's retraction.

"The statement released today is the first step towards a resolution of this matter," Jackson's attorney Dan Biederman said in a statement to ESPN. "The statement confirms what we knew all along -- Bo Jackson never used steroids. The statement does not change the fact that this reporter printed a reckless lie and must be held accountable. Professional journalistic standards demand that there be controls in place that prevent such a reckless statement to be published across this nation over the internet. Perhaps this reporter and the editors of the newspaper can explain how you un-ring a bell."

Jackson said he found the newspaper's story online. Coleman later denied making any statements about Jackson.

The newspaper, based about 30 miles east of Los Angeles in Ontario, didn't immediately respond to messages left Sunday morning.

Jackson, the only player to be named to the NFL's Pro Bowl and appear in baseball's All-Star game, injured his hip playing for the Oakland Raiders in 1991 in a playoff game. He had a hip replacement the following year.

Jackson, who retired in 1994, is now a businessman who lives in suburban Chicago. He talks to children about health and nutrition issues and has denied ever using or even seeing steroids in any form.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.