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.

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

    Don’t get me started. Chomsky hits it on the nose. Sports broadcasting and coverage is propaganda in service of the elite.
    Why should some people even be surprised considering the “bread &
    circuses” of the Roman Empire. Sports broadcasts promote the “he man/macho” ethos, which is so much a part of the Republican Playbook. This topic alone would be fit for study in a series of tomes that unfortunately I don’t have the desire to produce. The quick and dirty method of people seeing this is watching the original “Rollerball” movie from the 70’s with James Caan. THat movie lays it all out.

  2. Mike S.,

    Many good points made. I lost interest in Baseball in 81 for some reason. Then about 84 I started watching again. Low and behold it was the 84 world series. Sparky Anderson, the coaches coach. Trammell, Gibson, Parrish and that little know pitcher Willie Hernandez (Cy Young).

    In 83 they were sold to Domino’s for about 42 or 43 million then in 92, they were sold to Little Caesar himself, Mike Illitch for about 85 million.

    No disrespect intended to any ball player not mentioned but to many to say. Never forget what each has brought to baseball. Ty Cobb, Willie Mayes, Al Kaline and last but not least Billy Martin. I could tell you some personal stories of his. Let us just leave it at He was Baseball in Det and he could do no wrong.

    One of the most underrated Pitchers is John Smoltz. He has a good heart and is what you could call Mr. Baseball. Kirt Gibson is an ass.

  3. My hobby from the time I was ten into the end of the 20th Century was Baseball Statistics. I was even a member of SABR (The Society of American Baseball Research) from 1987 to 1989. When historical records started to fall in the late 90’s my interest diminished greatly because the pleasure I derived was from comparing players from different eras. By the end of the 90’s that was becoming impossible. To me, since this was before general public steroid knowledge, I blamed this change on smaller ballparks and larger players due to training routines that had heretofore not been used. The statistical divides were such and the variables so wide, that it wqas impossible to know how this era of players stacked up. The only salient fact was that a much higher percentage of ball players were surpassing 50 home runs, than had ever been the case. Even Brady Anderson from Baltimore hit more than 50 home runs one year.

    However, while my interest in the sport waned I do not blame it on the players, or on steroid use. Professional athletes have always used whatever aides were available to give them an edge and make more money.
    That was why in the distant past there was something called an “emory ball” and in the 50’s amphetamines (called greenies) were readily available in the dressing room and dugout. Willie Mays, for one admitted to taking them. The myth of the athlete as role model is promoted by those who profit from the sport be it owner, TV Network, or even sportswriter. They are not and never have been “role models.”
    Merely a bunch of athletically gifted people trying to make as many bucks as possible, which is the American Way, isn’t it?

    I still enjoy most sports, including baseball, because all I invest in them is my viewing time. I am therefore a modest sports fan of sorts.
    However, the term “Fan” is derived from “Fanatic” and all too often we see people fanatically investing their emotions, their money and their leisure time into being fans. It’s sad that they don’t have more in life to interest them.

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

  5. Is funny how forgiveness is rampant in the sports,entertainment and the political field, but in real life it is not.Case in point”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.”

    Can you imagine going to your employer or standing in front of your employees and saying,even though we drug test everyone,I as your boss didn’t mean to get caught shooting up drugs in the bathroom.

  6. Buddha,

    Not bad for a revival preacher to go into stand up. I do believe it was Washington state, some of the better grown.

  7. AY,

    Mitch Hedberg (the funniest guy you may have almost heard of) died of an OD in a hotel room just as his career was about to take off.

    But I’m going to have to defend Kinison a bit here. When he died in that car wreck, by all accounts he was on the path to getting his act together if not totally into sobriety when it happened (as compared to the bottomless drug pit he was before). He had traces of cocaine and prescription meds in his system according to the autopsy, but his drug use didn’t cause the accident.

    He was hit by a 17 year old drunk driver.

    So it was a case of legal drug abuse killing a recovering (if somewhat stumbling) addict of the illegal variety. This should be in no way considered an excuse or apology for Sam’s cocaine use. It’s powdered evil and his bad alone. But it wasn’t Sam’s jones that killed him. It was Johnny Budweiser behind the wheel.

  8. My point exactly. What was that Olympic Swimmer name that got into some heat for a bong? I don’t do any, but s you see I have an opinion.

  9. And really, isn’t the real issue not what he puts in his body, but that he’s cheating?

  10. rc,

    As Bill Hicks used to say, “I don’t just think weed should be legal. I think it should be mandatory.”

  11. AY

    Are we now requiring athlete’s to be pure of spirit and pure of body? I really don’t want to get into a debate about the relative harm of various recreational drugs, but we know that athletes take steroids to get a performance boost which could be deemed an unfair advantage over competitors. One would be hard pressed to put weed in that catagory. Cocaine maybe, but weed? Excessive use of weed would more likely diminish the athlete’s drive and competitiveness rather than amp it up unfairly. I see a number of people, particularly some politicians, who’s words and actions would indicate they could use a strong dose of THC to calm the beasts within them.

  12. “I’m sorry I got caught. And that my testicles have shrunken to the size of M&M’s. I’m a filthy cheater, but I made my millions. It’s the American fantasy, er, dream, oh, um, way.”

    Thanks Mark. You have reminded me of one thing though: Why athletes make poor role models. You became rich playing a child’s game and you cheated to do so in order to be thought “great”. You should have been content to realize you were lucky to begin with earning a living most could not dream of for what is essentially a part-time job. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I don’t want to hear about off-season training and your “sacrifices” when your job is a game.

    game \ˈgām\, n.,

    1 a (1) : activity engaged in for diversion or amusement

    You got paid for that. Most people have to pay for it.

    Any idea of your “superiority” now only exists in your mind. Thanks for sending kids the wrong message. Not about drugs either, nitwit, but about cheating.

  13. Wait, does anyone really know how much cocaine, weed and alcohol was consumed by Pro ballers prior to the 50?

    How come the NBA is the only pro sport that does not test for weed?

  14. “Choose rather to be strong of soul than strong of body.
    Pythagoras (582 BC – 507 BC) “

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