Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baseball responds to Mitchell report

-Philadelphia Phillies

“The Phillies join Commissioner Selig in thanking Senator Mitchell for his comprehensive work and the resulting report issued earlier today. We agree with the Commissioner’s desire to rid our game of performance-enhancing drugs and support his willingness to accept Senator Mitchell’s recommendations.

“Our fans’ trust in the integrity of the game is of utmost importance to the Phillies. We hope that our game took a significant step forward as a result of today’s developments.”

-MLB commissioner Bud Selig

"I want to thank Senator Mitchell and his team of investigators for the exhaustive effort they made in tracing the use of performance-enhancing substances in baseball. Twenty-one months ago, when I asked Senator Mitchell to undertake this assignment, I said that nothing is more important to me than the integrity of this game. I knew it was important for Baseball to face the issue of steroids head on. Senator Mitchell had complete autonomy to pursue the evidence wherever it led and he has done so.

"If there were problems, I wanted them revealed. If there were individuals who engaged in wrongdoing, I wanted those facts to come to light. If there were recommendations that would improve our drug testing program, I wanted to hear them.

"Senator Mitchell is one of the most respected public figures in the nation. His career in public service –as the Senate Majority Leader, Federal Judge, U.S. Attorney, and the leading international diplomat of ourgeneration – is exceptional. He is a man of integrity.

"His report is a call to action. And I will act.

"I will continue to deal with the issue of performance-enhancing substance abuse. Today I announce that we will take the following three steps.

"First … Senator Mitchell has made twenty recommendations, all of which I embrace. In fact, we have already adopted one of the recommendations and have eliminated the 24-hour notice that testers were giving clubs. Those recommendations that I can implement independently, I will do immediately. There are other recommendations that are subject to collective bargaining. I am also committed to thoserecommendations, and we will be reaching out to Don Fehr and the Players Association in the immediate future to urge him to join me in accepting them and to begin a positive dialogue on these matters.

"Second… I will deal with the active players identified by Senator Mitchell as users of performance enhancing substances. I will also review the comments made by Senator Mitchell about club personnel and will take appropriate action. Senator Mitchell acknowledges in his report that the ultimate decisions on discipline rest with the Commissioner and he is correct. Discipline of players and others identified in the
report will be determined on a case-by-case basis. If warranted, those decisions will be made swiftly and I, of course, will give thorough consideration to Senator Mitchell’s views on the subject.

"And third… I will continue to be proactive about proposing new ways to detect and rid our sport of the use of performance-enhancing substances. Senator Mitchell has found that our present testing program is, "effective in that detectable steroid use appears to have declined." Baseball currently has the most aggressive drug program in professional sports, banning steroids, amphetamines, and human growth hormone, and imposing the stiffest penalties for use. We have been testing in the minor leagues for seven seasons. We are also taking part in major campaigns with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Taylor Hooton Foundation to educate America’s youth and their parents about the dangers of performance enhancing substances. Just this week, the Partnership for a Drug Free America announced that steroid use among youngsters is down. I’m proud of the role Major League Baseball has played in contributing to this decline.

"But as Senator Mitchell’s report reveals, these efforts are not enough. Players who are set on cheating have apparently moved from steroids to HgH. As we previously announced, we, along with the National Football League, are funding Dr. Don Catlin in his efforts to find a valid urine test for Human Growth Hormone. We will do more to combat the use of HgH and to investigate and detect new substances. We will announce shortly an HgH summit to bring together the best minds in sports and science whose mission will be to fight and detect this undetectable substance.

"I would like to thank all of those who cooperated with Senator Mitchell’s investigation – from clubhouse attendants, to the owners, to doctors, writers and law enforcement. It is the forthright voices of these people that enabled Senator Mitchell to get to the bottom of questions of steroid use and make the findings that he did. And, of course, I want to thank Senator Mitchell and his staff for their dedication and hard work and perseverance in investigating and making this report.

"Baseball is America’s pastime because of the trust placed in this sport by its fans. And I’m proud to say Baseball has never been more popular. Our attendance continues to break records, year after year, and our fans continue to love the game. But our fans deserve a game that is played on a level playing field – where all who compete do so fairly.

"So long as there may be potential cheaters, we will always have to monitor our programs and constantly update them to catch those who think they can get away with breaking Baseball’s rules.

"In the name of integrity, that’s exactly what I intend to do. As we implement the Senator’s
recommendations, we will do even more. We will not rest. Major League Baseball remains committed to this cause and to the effort to eliminate the use of performance-enhancing substances from the game."

-Detroit Tigers

“Now that the Mitchell Report has been released, the Tigers will take time to review its contents completely. The Tigers support the process that has taken place to compile this report and Senator (George) Mitchell for leading the effort.

“The eradication of performance-enhancing substances in baseball and protecting the integrity of the game are the ultimate goals of the industry.”

-MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr

“For many years now, the players have worked consistently and cooperatively with the Commissioner’s Office to address the use of steroids in baseball. In 2002, the union agreed to a joint drug program that included provisions for random drug testing of players; and we did so the first time the owners seriously advanced such a proposal. In 2004, we renegotiated that agreement, in response to requests from the owners and the Congress, and then did so again in 2005. In November, 2005 we announced a revised Program that included a strict penalty scheme, a greater number of tests and an expanded list of prohibited substances. At the time, that program was praised by members of Congress and others. We retained an independent doctor with experience in the drug testing field to administer our Program. For several years, we have employed the well-respected and WADA-certified laboratory in Montreal to analyze our collected samples.

“This history demonstrates that the players have recognized for many years that new steps were required to address performance enhancing drug use in Major League Baseball. Perhaps we and the owners could have taken these steps sooner. But the Program in place today is a strong and effective one, and has been improved even in the last two years. The report does not suggest that the program is failing to pick up steroid use which it is possible to detect. The current commitment of the players and the owners on this subject cannot be fairly questioned.

“In March 2006, before our newly negotiated Program had even begun to operate, Commissioner Selig named former Senator George Mitchell to investigate steroid use in baseball. This decision was made unilaterally, without prior consultation with the MLBPA. We made plain to the Commissioner his unilateral decision left us no choice but to represent our members in this inquiry, as any union is by law obligated to do in response to a management-initiated investigation with potential disciplinary consequences.

“We did represent our members, and we make no apologies for doing so. We advised our members of their rights under the collective bargaining agreement and relevant federal labor law. Moreover, given the ongoing federal and state criminal investigations, with which Senator Mitchell had open relationships, we urged players to seek their own counsel. While we did give advice to players - we would have neglected our representational responsibilities if we did otherwise - ultimate decisions always were made by the individual players. We did not hesitate to point out to Senator Mitchell or the Commissioner’s Office investigative measures we viewed as unfair or unlawful. Even Senator Mitchell today referred to our actions as “largely understandable”.

“We did request a meaningful opportunity to review his lengthy report prior to today, but that request was denied both by Senator Mitchell and the Commissioner’s Office. We saw this report only an hour before it was made public. Accordingly, we have not yet had an opportunity to review and study the report in any detail. For now, however, we can say the following:

“Many players are named, their reputations adversely affected forever, even if it turns out down the road that they should not have been. Anyone interested in fairly assessing the allegations against a player should consider the nature of the evidence presented, the reliability of its source, and the absence of procedural safeguards individuals who may be accused of wrongdoing should be afforded. Senator Mitchell’s suggestion that players not be disciplined is welcome. However, we will make certain that should any player be disciplined he will have a right to a hearing and the full panoply of due process protections our agreements contemplate, and we will represent him in that process.

“Senator Mitchell recommends certain changes in our Program. We will review and consider what he has to say. We have demonstrated a willingness to continue to improve the Program, and the Program itself allows for certain mid-term modifications. However, we must remember that a strong collective bargaining relationship requires mutual respect for the agreements that have been reached.”

-Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly

The Pirates have fully supported the Commissioner’s efforts to eliminate performance enhancing substances from our game. We understand the seriousness of this issue, not only for our organization and our players, but for the entire game of professional baseball. The use of performance enhancing substances goes to the core of the integrity of the game and cannot be tolerated.

"The Pirates provided full cooperation to Senator Mitchell and his investigative team. Indeed, the Pirates spent a countless number of hours working to assist in the efforts of this investigation by providing thorough and accurate information to Senator Mitchell and his team. We appreciate the Senator’s exhaustive work and his thoughtful recommendations.

"We view the release of the Senator’s findings as a positive step forward for the game. The Commissioner concluded that it was important to learn as much as we could about what happened in the past, and Senator Mitchell has conducted a comprehensive investigation. Senator Mitchell concluded that the use of performance enhancing substances was widespread in baseball. Critically important to the Pirates, however, is the Senator’s conclusion that baseball’s current drug testing program has been effective. The Senator has, nevertheless, made several recommendations regarding how the program can be strengthened even further, and the Commissioner has embraced all of these recommendations. The Pirates support the Commissioner’s desire to have the most effective and transparent drug program in all professional sports. Protecting the integrity of the game is the Commissioner’s most critical responsibility.

"The Pirates do not and will not tolerate the use of any substances banned by baseball’s comprehensive drug testing program by our players at any level, and we will continue to go to great lengths to educate our players on the dangers of using such substances. The Pirates work closely with the Commissioner’s Office in the education of our players. Our medical, training, strength and conditioning, and clubhouse staffs all stress a “food first” approach to nutrition and supply our players only with those supplements that have been approved as steroid-free by Major League Baseball. The Senator has recommended additional education for players and the Pirates strongly support this recommendation and will work with the Commissioner’s Office as it implements this recommendation.”

-Tampa Bay Devil Rays

“Upholding the integrity of the game is paramount to the Tampa Bay Rays. We are supportive of Senator Mitchell’s recommendations, and we will work in concert with the Office of the Commissioner to help implement them.”

-Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin

"The Milwaukee Brewers organization is fully committed to eliminating the use of performance enhancing substances from baseball, and we fully support Senator Mitchell’s report. We also fully support Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player's Association's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. In both the Major and Minor Leagues, our organization regularly educates our players about the dangers of performance enhancing substances, strongly encourages players to avoid their use and outlines the repercussions that these substances will have on their health and career.

"In regard to any players that we have signed, traded for or will acquire in the future, our goal is to field the best team possible based on information we have in hand. Our recent signing of Eric Gagne was based on an analysis of our needs and how he could help fill a key role. While we were disappointed to see information from 2004 related to Eric in the report, we still firmly believe that his addition to the Club makes us a much stronger team as we head into the 2008 campaign.

"Senator Mitchell’s report credits the Commissioner for laying the groundwork for the testing program and found that the current program has been effective. The report contains historical information from which we can learn and outlines several steps for improving Major League Baseball’s drug testing program. We fully support these measures. "

-Cleveland Indians

“The Cleveland Indians are in full support of Commissioner Selig’s response to the Mitchell Report. Our organization has been committed to eliminating the use of performance enhancing substances from the game of baseball. We have fully supported the adoption and implementation of the Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, and will continue to educate our players of the dangers of performance enhancing substances. We ask that you contact the offices of Major League Baseball or the MLBPA for any further comment.”

-Boston Red Sox

"The Boston Red Sox have supported and fully cooperated with this investigation initiated by Commissioner Selig and conducted by Senator Mitchell. The Senator and his staff should be thanked and commended for their dedicated and independent efforts in producing this important report.

"It is imperative that we continue to educate our players on the dangers and unfairness of performance enhancing drugs and to do everything we can to eliminate them entirely from the game of baseball.

"We are confident that that adoption and implementation of Major League Baseball’s and the Major League Baseball Players Association’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the toughest in all of professional sports, will also result in helping to achieve this goal. .

"Until we have had the opportunity to read and review more thoroughly the Mitchell Report released today, we will have no further comment at this time."

-San Francisco Giants managing general partner Peter A. Magowan

“The Giants supported Commissioner Selig’s decision to appoint Senator George Mitchell to conduct an independent investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in our sport. We shared the Commissioner’s view that an independent and thorough investigation was a necessary step in the overall effort to combat the serious problem of performance-enhancing drug use in baseball. Our organization has diligently and fully cooperated with Senator Mitchell throughout his inquiry. We believe that Senator Mitchell’s thoughtful and comprehensive report will serve as a meaningful tool in the fight against the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The Report clearly demonstrates the pervasiveness of the problem. The Giants accept our fair share of responsibility. Our entire organization, from front office to field staff, pledges to work closely with Commissioner Selig and Senator Mitchell to implement the Report’s recommendations and to institute whatever reforms are necessary to restore confidence in the integrity of the game.”

-New York Mets

"The Mets support Major League Baseball's ongoing efforts to eliminate the use of illegal performance enhancing substances. We fully cooperated in the Mitchell investigation and commend the Senator for his efforts in issuing his report."

-Los Angeles Dodgers owner and chairman Frank McCourt

“As the steward of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I am steadfast in the belief that performance-enhancing drugs have no place in baseball. The Dodgers have supported and fully cooperated with this investigation, initiated by the commissioner and conducted by Senator Mitchell. We wholeheartedly support Commissioner Selig’s efforts to rid the game of these substances and we commend Senator Mitchell on a thorough investigation. Our commitment to our fans during our stewardship has been and always will be to do everything in our power to maintain the game’s integrity.

“With that said, I have not had the chance to read the report in its entirety and once I am able to do so, I’ll be willing to share any further thoughts.”

-Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

"Now that the Mitchell Report has been released, the Angels are currently reviewing its contents. We support the process that has taken place to compile this report and Senator Mitchell for leading the effort.

"The Los Angeles Angels organization has been committed to eliminating the use of performance enhancing substances from the game of baseball. We have fully supported the adoption and implementation of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player's Association's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

"We are in full agreement with the recommendations from Sen. Mitchell as listed in the report, and the Angels will continue to support Commissioner Selig in his on-going efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from baseball. There is no place in the game for such substances, and we have and will continue to do what we can to eliminate them."

-Colorado Rockies

"Obviously, we were very disappointed to learn of the depth and breadth of the findings of Senator George Mitchell’s report on the alleged illegal use of steroids and other performance enhancing substances in baseball, including references to alleged use by former members of our team, as well as, one current player and one current member of our coaching staff.

"As an organization, we have fully supported the investigation initiated by Commissioner Bud Selig and conducted by Senator Mitchell. Our organization remains committed to eliminating the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances from the game. We have and will continue to fully support the adoption and implementation of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player’s Association Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We will continue to work to educate our players about the dangers of steroids and other performance enhancing substances and strongly encourage all players to avoid their use.

"We believe that baseball and its various entities must work cooperatively and in a sustained effort to remove and keep steroids and other performance enhancing drugs out of the game. Like other organizations throughout the League, we will review the results of the investigation, study those findings and recommendations and continue our ongoing efforts to eliminate the use of steroids and other performance enhancing substances from the game of baseball."

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