Home > Uncategorized > Quick Reactions To Mark McGwire’s Statement On Steroid Use

Quick Reactions To Mark McGwire’s Statement On Steroid Use

Like most everyone else, I was not surprised by the statement Mark McGwire issued a few hours ago to the Associated Press. We all basically assumed McGwire took steroids. This admission is just a conclusion.

“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 wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize.

It’s nice to finally see some contrition and to see McGwire actually mention steroids. That’s all we ever wanted. We knew about it; we just wanted to hear it from him. All will not be forgiven because he tainted one of the most prominent records in sport. But I think that he is at least on the road to getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It would have been interesting to see how the BBWAA would have voted on McGwire for the Hall had he said this about three weeks ago. Some writers will always hold this against him. Other will vote for him, but not for a few more years because they want to make him wait — just as how he made us wait for an admission when he could have done it five years ago on Capitol Hill. But in the end, I now think Mark McGwire will end up in the Hall of Fame one day. This needed to be said first.

“… now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it.”

Well that’s good because there will be PLENTY of questions waiting for him when the Cardinals report to camp in February. He’s going to need to put a LeBron James-like gag order on the steroid talk after a while. Few will actually care about his role on the team. He will be asked about this every day.

“Baseball is really different now — it’s been cleaned up.”

OK, not quite. Rather, it’s getting cleaned up. It’s not a completed process. There still isn’t a test available for human growth hormone or, of course, female fertility drugs.

“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.”

McGwire also made a few of mistakes in his statement and this is one of them. He shouldn’t have attempted to rationalize his home run total with his steroid use. He knows as well as anyone that steroids helped him hit more home runs. Don’t play dumb with us, Mark. We want to forgive you; don’t press your luck. McGwire would have been better off concentrating on his guilt and omitting this paragraph.

“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 …”

Why not? You had a nation-wide forum. You had a perfect opportunity. Not only did you not admit to anything, you turned into a pitiful character. Today has been coming for McGwire since he agreed to be the Cardinals’ hitting coach and now that he is back in baseball, he had no choice but to face the media at some point. He had to come clean. He has to admit it now. Five years ago, I think he still thought that he could still get away with it. So he tried. But he can’t say that he “wasn’t in a position” to tell the truth. That’s completely bogus.

“Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

McGwire was doing a good job in taking full responsibility for his actions until he got to this line, three graphs into his statement. You can’t blame the era. Mark McGwire didn’t enter the 1990s knowing that it would become the steroid era. He was one of the creators of that era. He was a girder in its construction. That quoted sentence sounds like a 15-year-old kid on trial who says he’s sorry, but then says that pop culture made him do what he did. Mark McGwire could have rested on his natural baseball talent, which was substantial. He said he didn’t try steroids until 1989. That makes his 1987 season even more outstanding. McGwire could have continued on that path, but he made a choice. As he said, it was foolish and a mistake. But it was his mistake! Deferred blame takes away from the point of this statement: McGwire is sorry that he took steroids.


Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa: Which one of you wants to be next?

Update: This afternoon, in a fantastic and emotional interview by Bob Costas with Mark McGwire on MLB Network, McGwire said he “absolutely” would have hit 70 home runs in 1998 without the use of steroids. He said the steroids only helped him recover from injury, but that all of his home runs he hit — including 52 in 1996, 58 in 1997, 70 in 1998, 65 in 1999 — were due solely to his god-given ability.

Yikes! That certainly doesn’t help his case for the Hall. It may crush it in some minds. The interview is still a must-see.

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