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La Russa: McGwire in no-win situation

JUPITER, Fla. -- St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa
doesn't advise Mark McGwire to take legal action against Jose
Canseco for accusations of steroid use in his book.
La Russa passed the bar in 1979, the year he got his first major
league managing job with the Chicago White Sox, but never has
practiced law. But he said it would be a no-win situation for
McGwire, who played for him in both Oakland and St. Louis.

"I vaguely remember law school, but I remember that when you
start getting into libel and slander, that's one of the toughest
proofs in the world," La Russa said Friday. "It is so difficult.
... The players can do whatever they want to, but you've got to
think long and hard before you make that investment."
Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro has left open the possibility of
taking legal action against Canseco, who claims he introduced the
first baseman to steroids in 1992 when both players were with the
Texas Rangers. Palmeiro issued a statement last month in which he
denied using steroids and said Thursday he's considered hiring the
law firm of Orioles owner Peter Angelos.
McGwire also has denied Canseco's charges.
"In Mark's case, I just think if somebody accuses you of
something and you try to explain it, you come out so defensive,"
La Russa said. "It's a terrible position to be in."
La Russa compared the situation to one he found himself in
several seasons ago when former Cardinals player Ron Gant accused
him of racism.
"Having to defend the fact I've had black players as some of my
best friends, it was really uncomfortable," La Russa said.
"Anytime you get accused, being on the defensive is something to
avoid."
La Russa didn't think holding a news conference would be
"fair" to McGwire, either.
"I know he would handle himself well and it would be OK," La
Russa said. "I can't imagine it being fair. I think some people
would take stuff out of context, they'd take bits and pieces of
answers. ... I don't know what you'd accomplish by doing it. He's
smart, got a family, got advisers, they're thinking long and hard
on this."