Selig fires back, defends baseball's drug-testing program
CLEVELAND -- Commissioner Bud Selig defended baseball's drug-testing program Tuesday in the wake of the Mitchell report, which cast a shadow over the sport by singling out some of its biggest stars as cheaters.
Selig, who last week pledged he would act on recommendations made in the 409-page report, insisted baseball has been proactive in identifying players who used steroids and other banned performance-enhancing drugs.
I'm proud of where we are. We have the toughest testing program in American sports.
"I'm proud of where we are," Selig said. "We have the toughest testing program in American sports. We banned amphetamines, which were a problem in our sport for seven or eight decades."
Released last week, the long-anticipated report by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell linked more than 80 players to drug use.
Selig said he has read and re-read the detailed report, which named home run king Barry Bonds, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens and New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte among the players who illegally bought or used steroids and other substances.
Mitchell, hired by Selig in 2006 to head the investigation, revealed widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs in his report. He urged baseball to make sweeping changes to its testing procedures.
In a briefing with reporters that lasted less than four minutes, Selig also cited MLB's funding of a program on human growth hormone and baseball's minor league testing program as proof that he hasn't lagged in efforts to clean up the sport.
"I do hear people from time to time say we were slow to react," he said, "but my minor league program is entering its eighth year and so really from the late '90s on we have been monitoring this thing, doing as much as we can. The things I can do unilaterally I have done and will continue to do those.
"And I think the recommendations that the Senator made are very reasonable."
Selig said he has received little feedback since the release of the report. He entertained just two questions on the subject.
"Obviously, I've lived all this but I think for the time being while I'm studying things and analyzing things I just don't have any further comment," he said.
Since the Mitchell report was released, Clemens has denied allegations by his former trainer that he was injected with steroids in 1998 while with Toronto and steroids and HGH in 2000 and 2001, while with the New York Yankees. Also, Pettitte and former major league infielder Fernando Vina, now an ESPN analyst, admitted taking HGH while rehabbing from injuries.
On Tuesday, U.S. Senator and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning said players accused in Mitchell's report deserve a chance to clear their names. Bunning said MLB owes it to the players to set up judicial hearings so their sides can be heard.
Bunning said that without such hearings, the accused players will be convicted "in the court of public opinion," which he said isn't fair. The Kentucky Republican doesn't want to protect those who used such drugs. He said those players should be "called out" as users.
Selig was in Cleveland to present an inaugural mentoring award named in his honor to Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney for his efforts in advancing minorities.
As far as his own sport's diversity, Selig said he's concerned with baseball's racial imbalance -- on the field. He recently met in New York with 30-35 black players to discuss ways of getting more young black athletes interested in baseball.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
THE MITCHELL REPORT
The Mitchell report• Mitchell delivers his report | Read it (pdf)
• Players: Who's named in the report
• Recommendations from the report
• Report reaction: What they're saying
• Drugs listed in report | The Dope On Steroids
• Evidence may limit Selig's punishment choices
• Mitchell defends naming stars in report
• Owners praise Selig, support extended tenure
• Seligs hopes to finish review by spring
Clemens news• Reports: New name surfaces in Clemens saga
• Date set for Clemens, McNamee depositions
• McNamee unlikely to get congressional immunity
• Mitchell reportedly tried to contact Clemens twice
• McNamee's attorney defends immunity request
• Source: Clemens hedges on giving deposition
• Report of Clemens abscess raises more questions
• Astros unsure if Clemens to help at camp
• Clemens' accuser meets with federal prosecutors
• Rocket reps: McNamee 'avoiding' being served
• Source: No immunity expected for Clemens
• Laywer: McNamee 'avoiding' being served papers
• Clemens denies steroid use in taped conversation
• Trainer's lawyers alert Congress to second tape
Pettitte news• Pettitte undecided if he'll testify before Congress
• Pettitte gets new lawyer for congressional hearing
• Pettitte admits using HGH in 2002
Grimsley/Radomski documents• Unsealed documents: Radomski | Grimsley
• Federal agent Jeff Novitzky's sworn affidavit
• Watson denies allegations in Grimsley affidavit
• Hearst wants goverment. to explain conduct
Other News• Players, owners try to modify drug agreement
• Fehr: Foreign players deserve equal drug penalties
• Pujols bans TV station that erroneously named him
• MLB establishes drug investigations unit
• Report: Knoblauch ends silence on steroid report
• Kent: Players should undergo blood testing
• Rose investigator says Mitchell undermined report
• Report: Congressional hearing postponed
• MLB to crack down on clubhouse security
• Congressman blasts Selig on steroids policy
• Report: Players may still testify at hearing
• Report: MLB players won't testify for Congress
• Rose says users 'making a mockery' of game
• Selig defends baseball's drug-testing program
• Post-'03 cases face most MLB scrutiny
• Congress calling new hearings on steroids, HGH
• Report: Deal with feds led to McNamee testimony
• Report: Roberts admits one-time steroid use
• Nats prez: Team had no advance copy of report
• Indians' Byrd discusses HGH use with MLB
• Vina admits HGH use, but disputes steroid claims
• MLB's man: Progress in urine test to detect HGH
• O's respond to Mitchell findings
• A-Rod's reply to Canseco: I never doped
• Bush: MLB must take report seriously
• Pujols sets record straight on inaccurate report
• Reliever Donnelly 'sick' over inclusion in report
• Former D-back Cabrera denies using steroids
• Lowell calls for stronger steroid testing
Analysis• Munson: Delay means Congress serious
• Wojciechowski: Rocket's logic fizzles
• Assael: Clemens throws up and in at McNamee
• Munson: Clemens' lawsuit is part propaganda
• Olney: There's one thing Clemens can't change
• Crasnick: A tale of two Rockets on "60 Minutes"
• Neyer: Time to stop behaving like a child
• Bryant: Odds are against Clemens in interview
• Munson Q&A: Clemens, McNamee on the hot seat
• Neyer: Investigate all players
• Wojciechowski: Time for Clemens to speak up
• Neyer: Does HGH enhance performance?
• Hill: Pettitte's apology was a joke
• Stark: Pettitte no different than Pats' Harrison
• Stark: Clemens, Bonds tales similar, yet different
• Bryant: Selig must address steroids era records
• Santangelo admits HGH use; will 'face the music'
• Helyar: Not good for short-term business
• Fish: Baseball's steroids crisis management
• Crasnick: Clemens' Hall of Fame chances?
• Gammons: Drug culture quite slimy
• Hall of Fame voters speak out on Clemens
• Stark: Indelible impact on the game
• Wojciechowski: Thaw needed in cold war
• Bryant: Mitchell report flat without feds
• Fainaru-Wada: Report sheds light on Bonds
• Crasnick: Recently acquired players named
• The man behind Clemens, Pettitte bombshells
• Munson: Legal challenges troublesome
• Fish: Congress reacts quickly to report
• Helyar: Anti-doping experts don't agree on report
• Nelson: Fehr, MLBPA kept in dark on report
• Neyer: Non-surprising names
• Neyer: Scout's telling take on Gagne
Video• Complete coverage
Audio• David Justice on The Herd
• Best of Mike & Mike, on report's fallout
• PTI discussion over report's release
• Michael Kay Show
• ESPN.com's Keith Law
SportsNation• SportsNation reacts to Mitchell report
• What do you think of it?
• Fan blogs: How fans are reacting
More• Mitchell investigation timeline
• Kirk Radomski timeline
• List of suspended MLB players