Manfred: Errors insignificant; Jets support Pellman

Updated: March 31, 2005, 1:12 AM ET news services

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball's medical adviser, who praised baseball's steroids policy and challenged its critics while testifying before Congress, has discrepancies in biographical statements about his professional and educational credentials, according to a newspaper report.

 Dr. Pellman
Dr. Pellman

The discrepancies appear in media guides and handouts with information about Dr. Elliot J. Pellman, an internist who is also team doctor for the New York Jets and the New York Islanders, The New York Times reported in Wednesday's editions.

Pellman, also a former president of the National Football League Physicians Society, told the Times he had not tried to mislead anybody. He characterized the errors as minor, said he would correct them and primarily blamed the discrepancies on other people, including his secretary and the Jets.

"In a way, I thank you, because those discrepancies are not important enough to be there, and they have all been fixed," he told the newspaper.

Major League Baseball expressed concern about the Times' story, but offered its support for Pellman on Wednesday.

"Dr. Pellman has been a valuable asset to Major League Baseball over the last two years as the league advisor on medical issues, including performance-enhancing substances, and as the league's liaison to club physicians and trainers," the league said in a statement. "His work for us and other professional sports clubs and leagues has been marked by scholarship and research, and he has earned the respect of our member clubs through his efforts.

The league "expects that Dr. Pellman will correct the public record as it relates to any of his credentials."

The Jets also backed Pellman.

"Dr. Pellman has communicated an oversight on his resume, and we have acknowledged the clarification, and it will be reflected in future correspondences," the team said in a statement. "We are thankful to have Dr. Pellman leading our medical department, and stand firmly behind him, and his team of medical professionals."

Islanders general manager Mike Milbury said Pellman was "completely truthful in presenting his qualifications" when the team hired him in 1996.

Pellman's bio in the Jets media guide states he has a medical degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. But the Times report said state records show Pellman attended medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, and received a medical degree from the New York State Education Department after a one-year residency at SUNY-Stony Brook. He does not hold an M.D. from Stony Brook, according to Dan Rosett, a university hospital spokesman.

When the Times informed Jets vice president Ron Colangelo of the discrepency, he said: "So SUNY said he didn't get an M.D. from there? Oh my goodness, oh my goodness gracious."

Colangelo told the Times that the Jets send Pellman his biography every year for fact-checking. "You ask them every year to read their bio, but they usually don't," he told the paper.

And in papers sent to Harvard University for a seminar and to the House Committee on Government Reform, which held hearings on steroids in baseball two weeks ago, Pellman identified himself as an associate clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

But he is an assistant clinical professor, a lower-ranking and honorary position that is held by thousands of doctors. Pellman does not teach at Albert Einstein, and his associate status is pending.

The Times reviewed Pellman's credentials after his nationally televised appearance before the House committee on March 17. He was added to the hearing at the request of Major League Baseball and staunchly defended baseball's steroids policies.

When informed of the errors in Pellman's biography, Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, the ranking minority member on the House committee, told The New York Times in a statement: "This new information raises further questions about [Pellman's] credibility and the credibility of baseball's steroid policy."

Robert D. Manfred Jr., baseball's executive vice president, said the errors were insignificant. He said it was unfair to criticize Pellman for the false listing of an M.D. from SUNY in the shortened version of his bio from the Jets.

"I don't see why it should impact his credibility, I really don't," Manfred said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.