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  • Fight Against Doping: MLB Drugs Report Names Eight Olympians


    12/14/07

    Olympic hopeful Roger Clemens may have had his hopes dashed when his name surfaced in the Mitchell Report. (Getty Images)  
    Major League Drugs Report Names Olympians, Could Help Baseball Overcome Olympics Barrier

    The report on drug use by Major League Baseball names seven Olympians as steroid users while the president of the International Baseball Federation tells Around the Rings that the report will end performance enhancing drug use in baseball.

    “This is going to completely eliminate the use of steroids in baseball”, said IBAF President Harvey Schiller by telephone. “There is no question in my mind”.

    Schiller, who is leading the push to restore baseball to the Olympics, says the changes the Mitchell report may bring to professional baseball are sure to help the international image of the sport.

    “Like a lot of sports that are on the Olympic program, the professional leagues don’t come under the control of the organization” Shiller said. “The fact of the matter is I think we will be able to set a standard for all sports that have professional organizations that are associated with them.”

    The Mitchell Report, named for George Mitchell, the former U.S. Senator, names 88 players who its sources say used steroids and other drugs. The 400-page report took nearly two years to complete. A copy of the report can be found through this link.

    The shocker on the list is Roger Clemens, considered to be one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Clemens, 45, pitched in the IBAF-sanctioned World Baseball Classic in 2005, where he passed drug tests required to compete. He is said to have had aspirations of pitching in the 2008 Olympics.

    While the names of eight Olympians are included in the Mitchell report, the accusations against them cover their post-Olympic careers as professional players, not about their time at the Olympics. The group includes: Ryan Franklin (2000), Jason Giambi (1992) Troy Glaus (1996), Mark McGwire (1984), Jim Parque (1996), Jeff Williams (2004), Todd Williams (2000), Jeff Williams (2000) and Ron Villone (1992).

    U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth, commissioner of MLB from 1984-89 was mentioned numerous times in the report for his efforts to try to come to grips with what was then a drugs problem that involved recreational drugs such as cocaine.

    “Ueberroth acknowledged that one of his primary responsibilities as the new Commissioner would be to address the problem of drug use in baseball, and today he recalls accepting the position specifically to address that issue,” says the report.

    A statement from
    Senator George Mitchell, leader of the Major League Baseball inquiry. (Getty Images)  
    Ueberroth and USOC chief executive Jim Scherr says the report may point the way to a new day for baseball.

    “As disappointing as these findings are, this report could signal a turning point for professional baseball. This report could represent the beginning of a new era – an era during which the credibility and values of the sport are fully restored.”

    In a written statement WADA President Richard Pound said “The real question now is, what will MLB and the players’ association do? They must look at changes to the collective bargaining agreement immediately. They now have no credible reason to delay.”

    Other Olympic connections to the Mitchell report include Donald Fehr, director of the Major League Players Association, now faced with dealing with the ramifications of the report on the membership. For several years, including the late 1990s and early part of this decade when steroid use peaked in baseball, Fehr was a member of the USOC Board of Directors. New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was a USOC vice president around the time.

    George Mitchell was given an Olympic torch in 2001 by the U.S. Olympic Committee as a thank-you for his work leading a USOC inquiry of the Salt Lake City Olympic bid scandal. Mitchell served in the U.S. Senate from Maine. He is also known for his work to establish peace accords in Northern Ireland.

    Pound Meets with Convicted Steroids Pusher

    A meeting this week between WADA President Richard Pound and convicted steroids distributor Victor Conte of BALCO infamy, apparently turned up no big news despite Conte’s pledge to name elite athletes involved in drug use. Despite the lack of headline, both said the meeting was a good one.

    “I am glad to have taken the trip to New York today to meet Mr. Conte,” said Pound. “Those of us responsible for leading in the fight against doping look forward to the benefits of such knowledge and cooperation”.

    “As someone who was able to evade their system for so
    Victor Conte said he thinks his meeting with Richard Pound will produce good results. (Getty Images)  
    long, it was easy for me to point out the many loopholes that exist and recommend specific steps to improve the overall effectiveness of their program. Because Mr. Pound was so receptive to the insight I provided, I do believe there will be effective changes made that will benefit of the world of sport,” Conte said in a statement.

    Rogge Says There is Less Doping

    IOC President Jacques Rogge said he believes there is less doping now than there was a few years ago.

    “There is not more doping today than yesterday, but we test much more than yesterday. To give just one example, in Sydney Games we had 2,500 tests. We have 12 positive cases. In Athens we had 3,800 tests, in Beijing we will have 4,500 … there were 36 positive tests in Athens … this is because there are more tests,” Rogge said at a press conference during this week’s IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne.

    Rogge also said there will be no Olympic “time-out” for cycling, as long as it cleans up its doping problems.

    Briefs

    …The leader in U.S. government’s war on drugs says steroids use in America is on the decline. Scott M. Burns, the deputy director of state, local and tribal affairs at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, made the claim in a conference call on Wednesday. “You see dramatic decrease on the heels of people going to jail and people losing their medals and people being sanctioned, I think they got the message loud and clear,” Burns said. He also says the ONDCP is “using traditional law enforcement methods” to find and punish drug cheats.

    … Traditional Chinese medicines can be used in Beijing, despite fears they may be performance-enhancing. “We know there is no relationship with doping and Chinese traditional medicine," said Dr. Dai Jianping, a deputy director with the BOCOG Games Services department. "The Chinese traditional herbal medicine has enjoyed a process of several thousand years. It is very healthy for the body.”

    ... Cyclist Alexander Vinokourov had strong words for cycling and doping officials In an interview with Reuters after his sudden retirement. “Cycling is a scapegoat now," he said. "I don't think bike racing is any dirtier than other sports -- soccer, tennis. "If WADA is really fighting for clean sport, then why is it that if in Spain (Dr. Eufemiano) Fuentes has a list of 150 athletes, they only announce the cyclists?" Vinokourov retired last week after being suspended for having a blood transfusion before the Tour de France. He says he will appeal to save his reputation.

    … UEFA reports only three positive drug tests after conducting more than 600 tests in 2007. UEFA says there will be a stricter anti doping program next year due to the European Championships.

    … The PGA last month released an outline of its drug policy and sent manuals to members this week. Golfers can expect to be tested for performance-enhancing drugs starting in July. All players must attend a meeting on the new drug policy in January.

    … Australian weightlifter Aleksan Karapetyn will be able to compete in Beijing despite testing positive for drug use in 2005. The Australian anti-doping agency backdated his ban from the date of his last competition in 2006.

    … Rebeca Gusmao pleaded not guilty in Brazilian court for testing positive for testosterone. Another drugs case for Gusmao involving testosterone is headed to the Court for Arbitration of Sport.

    …According to German media, five T-Mobile cyclists received blood transfusions during the 2006 Tour de France. The report did not name the cyclists, but said they went to a nearby clinic to have the procedure.

    Compiled by Ed Hula III .

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