Mark McGwire Comes Clean on Steriod Use

Mark McGwire has come clean about playing dirty with steroids. In the statement below, he admits to using steroids during the season when he broke the home run record in 1998.

McGwire took a different legal approach than other players like Clemens and Sosa. At the congressional hearing, he refused to answer questions about his prior steroid use. Now, McGwire says that “I wish I had never touched steroids.” Yet, he does not apologize for lying to fans, Congress, and the general public — including threatening a libel lawsuit against one of his accusers. He says “I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come.”

He is now going to be the hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, his final big league team. Tony La Russa, McGwire’s manager in Oakland and St. Louis, has been among McGwire’s biggest supporters and thinks returning to the field can restore the former slugger’s reputation.

It was later revealed that Sosa previously tested positive for steroids, here.

“I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come,” McGwire said. “It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected.”

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and David Ortiz have all denied taking steroids. This has resulted in charges against Bonds and a criminal investigation of Clemens.

McGwire followed a wiser legal strategy in my view in refusing to answer the questions.

Here is his statement:

Now that I have become the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, I have the chance to do something that I wish I was able to do five years ago.

I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected. I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize. I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 off-season and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again. I used them on occasion throughout the ’90s, including during the 1998 season.

I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.

During the mid-’90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years. I experienced a lot of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too.

I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn’t take any and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good years when I took steroids and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly sorry.

Baseball is really different now — it’s been cleaned up. The commissioner and the players’ association implemented testing and they cracked down, and I’m glad they did.

I’m grateful to the Cardinals for bringing me back to baseball. I want to say thank you to Cardinals owner Mr. DeWitt, to my GM, John Mozeliak, and to my manager, Tony La Russa. I can’t wait to put the uniform on again and to be back on the field in front of the great fans in Saint Louis. I’ve always appreciated their support and I intend to earn it again, this time as hitting coach. I’m going to pour myself into this job and do everything I can to help the Cardinals hitters become the best players for years to come.

After all this time, I want to come clean. I was not in a position to do that five years ago in my congressional testimony, but now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it. I’ll do that, and then I just want to help my team.

For the full story, click here.

32 thoughts on “Mark McGwire Comes Clean on Steriod Use”

  1. “Do any other examples of sports-as-propaganda or sports-as-control come to mind? I would appreciate some more references, if you have any.”

    The Artist Formerly Known As FFN,
    I’ll lay out some ideas fror you and I’m sure you could do the legwork:

    1. Check out the history of Baseball’s Union. Marvin Miller’s excellent autobiography is a great source. note that until the ascendency of the Union baseball player had chattel status and even stars were horribly treated. Joe DiMaggio, MVP in 1941 was sent a new contract cuting his pay for 1942. Cross reference that with the negative publicity the MSM constantly gives the Union and you will find the message goes beyond the sport to basically attack the Union Movement in general.

    2. The NFL is franchise focussed rather than player focussed. This is made easy by the fact that the players are almost anonymous in their uniforms, but also represents a strategy on the part of the NFL to make the team important and the individual nothing. Analogous to a corporate culture perspective. The NFL also “broke” their player’s union by the use of scabs, which was praised by the MSM and by various politicians.

    3. Research the work of the sports leagues in the wake of 9/11 and the subsequent support of the Iraq War.

    4. Compare the publicity given by the NFL and the networks to Republican Presidents and politicians. Even adding Rush Limbaugh as a Monday Night football commentator befor he racistly self-destructed.

    5. Research the fact that in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and sometimes today Black athletes are praised for their physical skills, while white athletes get much more praise for their intelligence. Subtly emphacizing racism. Then too, while the NFL did allow blacks to play earlier, there was a belief that Black Quarterbacks should be changed to other positions because they lacked the intelligence to play quarterback. Warren Moon, who later became a great NFL quarterback had to first succeed wildly in Canada before he was brought back to the US. Even after signed he found that they hesitated before starting him. Even today when they discuss all-time great quarterbacks the discussion focusses on white one, where great ones like Donavan McNabb and Moon are never mentioned.

    See also that in those era’s the teams would consistently hire light hitting middle infielders as managers. It wasn’t until Frank Robinson was hired that the dam broke, but still only slightly. Very intelligent Black men like Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, etc. were never discussed as possiblities.

    6. Municipalities still build stadia, provide sites and/or tax credits to lure teams. The teams now demand rebuilding of stadiums before needed, so that they can add extra revenue from corporate-owned boxes and corporate bought tickets. In the new Yankee Stadium front row box seats are $2,600 per game. Most good seats in all stadiums are owned by corporations and even formerly cheaps seats almost everywhere average about $80 per game. Imagine bringing your family of four to a game. Yet all of these ballparks have resulted in perks supplied by municipalities under threat of desertion.

    That is only the barest tip of the iceberg. I can’t supply you citations of actual writing that deals with this and while I may believe much of it comes from my own assessment, I’m just not smart enough to have a solely original idea. I read a lot, think and synthesize what I’ve read and develop my opinion. Since my memory has deteriorated as I’ve gotten older, I might have actually read someone else who developed this topic. Hope it helps and would love to see your finished product.

  2. You mean Gambling is a problem in Baseball? You don’t say. Hmm, better not to get caught.

  3. Chris-

    I was off a year; ‘roids banned at least since 1991:

    “In truth, steroids have been banned in baseball since 1991 — in a policy baseball officials made little effort to publicize. A source provided a copy of the seven-page document to ESPN The Magazine on the condition of anonymity. Titled “Baseball’s Drug Policy and Prevention Program,” the memo was sent to all major-league clubs on June 7 of that year by then-commissioner Fay Vincent. He spelled out components of the program, and ordered, “This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs and controlled substances, including steroids.”

    On May 15, 1997, acting commissioner Bud Selig distributed a nearly identical version of the drug memo, again citing steroids and directing clubs to post the policy in clubhouses and distribute copies to players. Selig’s memo also went largely ignored. “I don’t remember anything being posted in the locker room on drugs, like we did with gambling,” said Bob Gebhard, then the Rockies’ GM. In fact, baseball’s gambling policy is still prominently displayed, and it must be read annually to each player by a club employee.”

  4. “This topic alone would be fit for study in a series of tomes that unfortunately I don’t have the desire to produce.”


    I might be interested in writing, if not a tome, at least an article. Do any other examples of sports-as-propaganda or sports-as-control come to mind? I would appreciate some more references, if you have any.

  5. Steroids did not become “against the rules” in MLB until 2002. So how was he cheating?

    Chris, this is a popular canard. Roids were specifically prohibited in MLB at least since 1992; it’s only in 2002 that they began actively testing.

  6. The more interesting question here is: Why wouldn’t GWB (Gonzales) grant McGwire immunity to tell the truth?

    Any thoughts?

  7. True that. I omitted that bit, but I’ve also heard a seatbelt would have likely saved Sam.

  8. AY
    Buddha is Laughing

    Kinison likely died from not wearing his seat belt. I mean-it’s kind of like Natasha Richardson: the wreck barely killed him.

    His life and death and Stevie Ray Vaughn’s had a lot of similarities.

  9. Not I Mike, not I. Keep it coming. I’ll take any curve, slider or fast pitch you can throw. I do not like the knuckle balls.

    Gibson is an ass that played Football and Baseball for MSU. Smoltz, signed a letter of intent to MSU but was drafted by the Tiger spring training and then was going to a farm team where Atlanta picked him up on draft.

    He has an interesting story as well. But not all of the drama that goes with most good players.

  10. AY,
    Cobb was an extremely talented monster. Willie was okay and smarter than he was given credit for being. I never heard anything bad about Kaline, but didn’t think he was a Hall of Famer, merely a very good player. Billy Martin was an alcoholic from a bad background that did the best he could. He was exploited and humiliated by Steinbrenner, a rich heir who ran the largest shipbuilding business in the world into the ground. Steinbrenner was saved by Mike Burke getting him to buy the Yankees and then turned around and screwed Burke six months later. Gibson was a highly overrated player whose image fit in with what the Lords of Baseball want to project. Smoltz does strike me as a good guy and he is in my opinion a Hall of Fame pitcher, whose stats may have been hurt by him doing relief for the team for a few years.

    Jackie Robinson, incidentally was one of the greatest players of any era, whose accomplishments often get diminished by his short career and being the standard bearer for Blacks in baseball. I saw him play and to me he was the most intelligent player of his era, bar none and should have been a manager except for the residual racism that lasted for years. Statistically he is an all time great and even ranks as one of the most exceptional fielders in baseball history. I could ramble on for a long time with this but would only bore most people in the process.

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