Sheffield calls out Torre, Jeter, Bonds in HBO interview

Updated: July 15, 2007, 2:56 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Gary Sheffield has strong words about New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, former Yankees teammate Derek Jeter, San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds and steroids in an interview with HBO's "Real Sports" that will air Tuesday.

Sheffield says Torre treats black players differently from white players and says Jeter, who is from a mixed-race marriage, "ain't all the way black," during the interview with Andrea Kremer, as reported by Newsday.

As for Bonds, Sheffield says "if I took what Barry Bonds took, why don't I look like him?" He also says that he never took steroids because "the bottom line is steroids is something you stick in your butt -- period."

Olney on Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield has a long history of picking verbal fights and complaining he has been mistreated. But Sheffield's words about Joe Torre are sharp and vicious, whether he meant them to be or not, writes Buster Olney. Blog Insider

He added that he would be willing to talk to baseball's steroids investigator, former Senator George Mitchell. "I don't feel like it's all that much of a threat to me," he said.

A copy of the interview was made available to Newsday, the newspaper reported.

Sheffield, who was traded to the Detroit Tigers during the offseason, claimed that black and white players in the Yankees clubhouse were treated differently, specifically how players Tony Womack and Kenny Lofton were handled by Torre. In the interview with HBO, Sheffield says the black players on the Yankees' roster would be "called out" in the clubhouse by Torre, while the white players would be called into Torre's office to discuss matters.

"They weren't treated like everybody else. I got called out in a couple of meetings that I thought were unfair," Sheffield told Kremer.

Sheffield later added: "He had a message to get across to the whole team, so he used me to get the message across." Sheffield said Torre didn't use the same method with white players.

"No ... I'd see a lot of white players get called in the office and treated like a man. That's the difference."

Sheffield

He had a message to get across to the whole team, so he used me to get the message across.

Gary Sheffield, on Joe Torre

When asked Saturday to respond to Sheffield's comments, Lofton said: "All I can say is, Sheffield knows what he's talking about. That's all I'm going to say," Lofton told the AP in the Texas Rangers' dugout just before the team took batting practice.

Sheffield said he doesn't consider Torre a racist. "No. I think it's the way they do things around there," he said. "Since I was there I just saw that they run their ship different."

At that point, Kremer says to Sheffield that the Yankees most high-profile player is black. "Who?" Sheffield says.

Told Jeter, Sheffield says: "Derek Jeter is black and white."

Later, he said there was no real significance to Jeter's bi-racial heritage, but added: "Derek Jeter used to come to me and try to tell you what Joe Torre is all about, he's a good man, he's this, he's that, but like I tell Derek Jeter, that's you. It's one thing that they treat you a certain way; you don't feel what other people feel."

Torre, asked about Sheffield's comments prior to Friday night's game in Tampa Bay, said: "I don't even want to answer those kinds of questions. I'm more comfortable not answering."

In the visiting clubhouse at Safeco Field on Friday, Sheffield stood behind what he said -- that Torre is not a racist -- but also tried to clarify some statements. In the piece, when it was mentioned that the Yankees' most prominent player -- Derek Jeter -- is black, Sheffield quickly clarified that Jeter is "black and white."

When asked the significance of that, Sheffield said, "It's really no significance. It's just you ain't all the way black."

On Friday, Sheffield said he and the Yankees shortstop were best friends on the team, and that Sheffield's son is also of mixed race.

"They're trying to make it a problem with him, when my son is the same. I'd say the same thing about my son," Sheffield said. "No one knows he's black until they look at the back of his jersey and see 'Sheffield.' "

Jeter declined comment.

As for Bonds, a former workout partner and friend of Sheffield's, the Tigers' outfielder says Bonds scoffed at him when he was using vitamins. Sheffield says he then got substances from BALCO, claiming not to know they were steroids.

Sheffield allegedly told a grand jury that he used steroid cream on his legs and "clear" under his tongue, but didn't know they were steroids.

He said his relationship with Bonds deteriorated because of a lack of trust.

"I trusted this man, he allowed me to stay in his house," Sheffield says. "I started seeing the control factor. I started seeing, wait a minute, you aren't going to tell me what to do."

On Friday, Sheffield said he doesn't speak with Bonds.

"We don't have no communication," Sheffield said. "I love and respect Barry to this day. I had a problem with him at that time, but I moved on and forgave."

Sheffield reportedly began the interview by saying: "I tell myself every offseason I'm not going to say anything crazy. I'm just going to have a peaceful season ... Can't do it. I'm cut from a different cloth."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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