Transcript: Former Sen. George Mitchell's Press Briefing on Doping in Baseball

Gibson: And you talked about kids. And we have reported in this broadcast that federal investigators have come up with literally thousands of names of young people who are buying these things -- these performance enhancing drugs -- either through e-mails or credit card receipts. To what extent is baseball, and the example it sets, responsible for that?

Mitchell: It's not just baseball of course, Charlie. Kids aren't just baseball fans, they are sports fans. It's every sport in which young people look up to prominent athletes. And as Don Hooten -- who I quoted today -- told Congress in 2005, "Kids do what they see the pros doing." And one of the most shocking aspects of this entire investigation to me…was to learn that hundreds of thousands of our children -- American youngsters -- are using steroids, placing themselves at great risk. And it must be emphasized, that the effect of steroids on youngsters, can be much greater than that on adults, because they are already going through serious hormonal changes in their life.

Gibson: And you do make the point that it is all in sport, and not just baseball. But you also made the point…

Mitchell: Yes.

Gibson: …that baseball ignored this problem. It was right in front of them for years and years… and years. So isn't baseball partly responsible for the fact that kids think it's OK to do this?

Mitchell: Everyone in baseball -- Comissioners, club officials, the Players Association and players -- bears responsibility…to some extent…for the rise of the steroids era in baseball. For that, there can be no doubt. The problem now is to look to the future. How do you prevent it from occurring in the future? If you are concerned about the fact that hundreds of thousands of young Americans are using steroids, the most important thing you can do is to try to figure out how to reduce those numbers; how to stop that from happening; and that's what I have tried to do in this report.

Gibson: In your 20 months of investigation, did you get as far as you wanted in identifying the extent of use, and who was using?

Mitchell: It took a long time, Charlie, precisely because I did not have the power to compel anyone to cooperate -- and many, many people refused to cooperate. But I believe we learned enough to be able to accurately describe the steroids era in baseball. Also, I acknowledged -- and I even emphasized -- that obviously I didn't learn every user, I didn't uncover every supplier. What I learned was enough to describe the era. But I think it's inevitable that more names will be disclosed; there will be more investigations; and the real challenge for everyone concerned is to devise, adopt and implement policies that reduce -- and hopefully eliminate -- the use of these substances in the future.

Gibson: Because your report speaks of a "code of silence." And you talk about the players having meetings and saying all this needs to be kept "in the family." Do you think there was a, a purposeful attempt -- on the part of many, many players -- simply to hide this from you and not to cooperate?

Mitchell: No, I don't believe that, Charlie. I believe the quote that you referred to did not apply specifically to substance abuse. In fact, it probably didn't apply to that, but other things. But that's not uncommon.

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