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

In all human organizations, there is a bonding together -- especially male organizations. And there are various "codes of silence." They could even exist in broadcasting companies, or law firms. Baseball players aren't any different in that respect, expect that they live together for two thirds of the year. And, and so, there is a serious bonding that occurs, and it does produce -- inevitably and understandably -- this kind of "code of silence."

I regret that the players chose not to cooperate with me. But we still found out enough -- I think -- to accurately describe the era, and to lay the foundation for the kind of recommendations that are needed to clean it up in the future.

Gibson: Recommendations are only recommendations. And the question is, will baseball adopt what you have suggested? Will the Players Union go along? The Players Union was not cooperative with you in your investigation. What gives you any hope that they might be willing to adopt your recommendations?

Mitchell: I believe it's in the self interest of everyone concerned -- Commissioner, club officials, Players Association and players -- to join in a cooperative and sustained effort to deal with this problem in the future. I don't urge them to do this because it's good for me - or for you; I urge them to do this because it's good for them.

Gibson: Do you have any realistic hope they will?

Mitchell: Oh, I think so. Let's be fair, Charlie. They have made a lot of progress. After many years of adamantly opposing mandatory random drug testing -- in 2002, the Players Association agreed to a program that has mandatory random drug testing. And that has been effective, in that it has reduced the use of detectable steroids. And they have made many improvements in it. Even during the course of our investigation, as we uncovered problems and concerns, they moved to deal with them. So they have made an effort. I don't think you can fairly describe their record as being one of total inaction. And so they recognize that it's in their interest to deal with this issue. And I hope on that basis -- and because it's the right thing to do -- they will act.

Gibson: You are an investigator. In this instance, you are also a fan. As you come out of this, how do you feel about the game, about its integrity, and about what we have seen go on on baseball fields for the last ten years?

Mitchell: Charlie, I love baseball. I grew up as a young boy in Maine with, three older brothers who are great athletes, played a lot of baseball. I played a lot myself; I wasn't very good. And anyone who has ever tried to hit a pitch, knows how hard it is to have the stamina…the talent and the skill to reach the Major Leagues. So in the respect of talent, these players are different from you and me. But in every other respect, they are just the same. My love for the game has not diminished. The fans want to see them play. The fans would like to know that the competition is fair. They would like to be able to concentrate on what's happening on the field, not on what might be happening off the field in this kind of action. And so, I don't think that baseball is going to come to an end or…or that it's gonna be economically hurt. I do think that the integrity of the game is challenged. And ultimately, if nothing is done, there might be an economic consequence. But I think there is time to deal with this, and I hope they will.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...