03-16-2005, 07:23 PM #1
McGwire to Attend House Steroid Hearing
McGwire to Attend House Steroid Hearing
By RONALD BLUM and HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writers
33 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Mark McGwire will join other past and present stars Thursday before a congressional committee investigating steroids in baseball , a spectacle the sport had hoped to avoid just weeks before opening day.
What the subpoenaed major leaguers might reveal under questioning by members of the House Government Reform Committee won't be clear until the hearing. Jose Canseco's request for immunity from prosecution was denied Wednesday, raising the possibility of players' invoking their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer.
"No witnesses have been or will be granted immunity," David Marin, a spokesman for committee chairman Tom Davis, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
But the panel's ranking Democrat, Henry Waxman of California, said: "Not everything's been fully resolved."
The flurry of activity on the eve of the highly anticipated hearing also included the committee's release of baseball's new drug-testing agreement; sharp critiques of that plan from members of Congress; an agreement that two-time AL MVP Frank Thomas can testify via video conference call; and the setting of a Sept. 6 trial date in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroid-distribution case in San Francisco.
The testing agreement, which the commissioner's office turned over to the committee Monday along with other subpoenaed documents, contains a provision that testing would be "suspended immediately" if the government conducts an independent investigation into drug use in baseball. The still-unsigned, 27-page document also retains a provision that allows the commissioner to substitute fines for suspensions, including $10,000 instead of a 10-day ban for a first offense.
The fines provision drew rebukes Davis, Waxman, Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who said he expects changes to the testing policy.
"To do anything less than that would constitute a violation of the public's trust, a blow to the integrity of Major League Baseball, and an invitation to further scrutiny of the league's steroid policy," McCain said.
Baseball executive vice president Rob Manfred, slated to appear with commissioner Bud Selig at the hearing, responded that players would be suspended in all instances for positive tests.
McGwire's decision to attend the hearing was revealed Wednesday by a representative of the slugger who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. McGwire was seen leaving the Government Reform Committee's office Wednesday evening.
Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling and Rafael Palmeiro also were expected to appear Thursday; Thomas had asked that he be allowed to stay in Arizona because of an ankle injury.
New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi, also subpoenaed last week, was excused Tuesday from testifying because of his involvement in the ongoing federal investigation into BALCO.
Never invited to appear was another star who testified before the BALCO grand jury: Barry Bonds, who broke McGwire's season homer record and is approaching Hank Aaron's career mark.
Union head Donald Fehr, baseball executive vice president Sandy Alderson and Padres general manager Kevin Towers will testify.
Canseco, who retired in 2001 with 462 homers, said he used steroids and wrote in a recent best-selling book that he injected McGwire with the drugs. The 1988 AL MVP also accused Sosa and Palmeiro of using steroids. McGwire, Sosa and Palmeiro all have denied taking performance-enhancing substances.
Some players around spring training said they plan to watch the hearings live; others, like Royals first baseman Ken Harvey, will follow news coverage.
"I want to see what questions they're going to ask," Harvey said. "They keep saying it's not a witch hunt, but I think it might be."
Said Colorado Rockies pitcher Jason Jennings: "It's such a weird deal. Nobody really knows what is going to be asked or what the point of it is."
Even a member of the committee wasn't sure what progress might be made Thursday.
"I'm troubled by the way we're proceeding on this - the structure and who we're bringing in," committee member Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y, said in a telephone interview.
"We're bringing in people who have not said they've used drugs. It was just indicated in a book. There are other people, people who've said they took steroids - like the governor of California - and I'm concerned we're not bringing them in."
Canseco's lawyer, Robert Saunooke, said the former slugger will not be able to answer questions that would incriminate him.
"It begs the question as to what they're convening this hearing for," Saunooke said in a telephone interview. "They effectively cut the legs off from underneath us."
As an example of how immunity would limit Canseco, Saunooke brought up McGwire's repeated denials of steroid use .
"If he still holds to that lie, then the only way we can disprove that is to give specific instances and talk openly and freely," Saunooke said. "If we can't do that, then our credibility is undermined."
Witnesses turned in opening statements to the committee, and Palmeiro and Thomas both repeated their denials of steroid use.
In Canseco's statement, he charged Major League Baseball with exploiting players.
"Why did I take steroids? The answer is simple," he said. "Because, myself and others had no choice if we wanted to continue playing. Because MLB did nothing to take it out of the sport."
03-16-2005, 07:51 PM #2
I hope on of those judges gets hot or something.
Did anyone see Jon Stewart on The Daily Show yesterday? Absolutely hilarious, he was talking about how the courst has the ability to suboena anything, and they chose...baseball. He was rippin on them for being so stupid and chosing one of the most American things around. Funny stuff.
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)