Thursday, November 13, 2003
Stubblefield, Marion Jones testify
SAN FRANCISCO -- Oakland Raiders running back Tyrone Wheatley hit a photographer outside a federal courthouse Thursday, hours prior to testifying before a grand jury probing a nutritional supplements lab.
Wheatley was one of five NFL players, including four Raiders,
to appear Thursday before the panel. Others included former NFL
defensive player of the year Dana Stubblefield and Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Johnnie Morton.
Also appearing before the grand jury Thursday was Marion Jones,
who won an unprecedented five track medals in the 2000 Sydney
"I can't make any comment, you guys. I would if I could, but I
can't," Jones said as she left the grand jury room following her
Wheatley threatened and cursed at a group of photographers and
TV cameramen outside the building, then raised his right fist and
slapped photographer Noah Berger hard on the right wrist when
Berger raised his camera Thursday morning.
Berger, a freelance photographer on assignment for The
Associated Press, said he was not hurt. He filed a report with the
Federal Protective Service, but it was not clear whether Wheatley
would be charged.
Wheatley, who appeared before the grand jury in the afternoon,
declined to comment when asked repeatedly about the incident.
The five players, also including Raiders fullback Chris Hetherington and defensive tackle Chris Cooper, were the first
non-track and field athletes to testify in the case.
Stubblefield, the NFL defensive player of the year in 1997 while
with the San Francisco 49ers, declined to comment after his morning
appearance. His attorney, Michael Armstrong, also refused to
Morton, who had four seasons with more than 1,000 yards
receiving for the Detroit Lions before joining the Chiefs two
seasons ago, also refused to comment after his morning appearance.
Track and field stars including Tim Montgomery, the world
record-holder at 100 meters and Jones' boyfriend, have appeared
before the panel in previous weeks. Dozens of other athletes,
including baseball's Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi and boxer Shane
Mosley, also have been subpoenaed.
It's not clear what, if any, drug charges might result from the
investigation. An appearance before the grand jury, or being
subpoenaed to testify, does not mean an athlete is a target of the
Federal officials have refused to discuss the grand jury or the
scope of its secret proceedings, but two sources familiar with the
grand jury have said the probe is focusing on drug use by athletes
as well as possible tax evasion by the Bay Area Laboratory
Co-Operative, or BALCO.
An attorney for BALCO founder Victor Conte has said his client
is a target of the grand jury investigation.
BALCO also is at the center of an investigation by anti-doping
agencies into the newly discovered steroid THG. An unidentified
coach who turned in a used syringe containing THG said he got the
substance from Conte, who has denied being the course of the
At least five track and field athletes already have tested
positive for THG, and face two-year bans.
Also Thursday, major league baseball announced that more than 5
percent of this year's steroid tests came back positive, triggering
automatic testing starting next season.