Baseball Stars Face Steroid Accusations
DEBBIE ELLIOTT, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Debbie Elliott.
There were more allegations of doping in baseball today. According to a federal agent's affidavit, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte are among six players linked by a former Major League pitcher to performance-enhancing drugs. The contents of the affidavit are described in today's Los Angeles Times. Clemens and Pettitte deny the accusations, but the report puts doping in baseball in the headlines again, just as the playoffs are about to begin.
NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman is here. Tom, what do we know about the allegations contained in this affidavit?
TOM GOLDMAN: Before we answer that, Debbie, a little background. Several months ago, authorities questioned Jason Grimsley. He's a long-time journeyman relief pitcher. He played for several teams. They questioned him when he received a shipment at his home of banned performance-enhancing drugs, and at that time Grimsley allegedly named names of other players who'd used drugs, but those names were blacked out in the original court records.
Now, as you say, the LA Times says it has the names, and, as you say, the Times says Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and then three of Grimsley's former teammates on the Baltimore Orioles. Most well known is Miguel Tejada, a former Most Valuable Player; also Brian Roberts, a former All-Star; and Jay Gibbons. David Segui, who is now retired, also was one of those mentioned, but he came forward publicly after the story broke in late May and early June.
Now, according to the affidavit, Grimsley told investigators that Clemens and Pettitte used athletic performance-enhancing drugs. Tejada, Roberts and Gibbons, he said, were using anabolic steroids. And we should point out, the Times article says that Grimsley has said that federal agents attributed statements to him that he did not make.
ELLIOTT: So Tom, how are the players responding to these allegations?
GOLDMAN: Well, today Roger Clemens said, and I quote, "I just think it's incredibly dangerous to sit out there and just throw names out there." Clemens said I've been tested plenty of times, never tested positive. I passed every test.
Andy Pettitte says he was stunned by the report. He says, I played with Grimsley for a couple of years in New York and had a great relationship with him. Pettitte says he has never used performance-enhancing drugs. And also, Miguel Tejada said that. Gibbons said that. Roberts told the LA Times that he has nothing to talk about and didn't know why he was named.
ELLIOTT: Now, these are some pretty big-name players here. You know, Roger Clemens.
GOLDMAN: Well, that is the biggest. That's the name that jumps out. He's widely acknowledged to be the best pitcher of his generation. He's pitched into his early 40s at a very high level. He's still considered one of the top power pitchers in the game. According to that LA Times article, of his 348 career wins, 55 have come since the season that he turned 40.
Now, in Jose Canseco's controversial, tell-all book, you may remember from a couple of years ago...
GOLDMAN: ...Canseco speculated that Clemens's performance in recent years showed classic signs of steroid use. Clemens never has been formally linked to drug charges in any way, but this story puts his name out there. I mean, he's a certain Hall of Famer. His status is right up there with Barry Bonds at the very top of the game, and Bonds, of course, is the guy most people associate with doping allegations.
ELLIOTT: Thanks so much, Tom.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome, Debbie.
ELLIOTT: NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.