PHILADELPHIA -- The lawyer for Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is demanding an immediate and complete retraction to the Al Jazeera report that linked both to performance enhancing drugs.
Multiple reports said William Burck, who represents both Howard and Zimmerman, sent a letter to Al Jazeera requesting the retraction. Al Jazeera issued a correction to its written report online, saying, "An earlier version of this article reported on an allegation about possible links between Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard and human growth hormone. The substance alleged was Delta 2, not HGH."
That does not go far enough, according to Howard's and Zimmerman's representation.
"Al Jazeera tried sneaking out a correction which acknowledges major errors in their story about our clients Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard," Burck said in a statement. "The original defamatory 'report' connected our clients to the use of HGH, but Al Jazeera has now admitted this defamatory accusation was wholly false and unsubstantiated. Al Jazeera's acknowledgment confirms their unforgivable sloppiness and the recklessness of its publication of this false story. Al Jazeera must retract the remaining false allegations against our clients immediately."
Earlier this week, Burck called the claims in the report "outright lies" and vowed to fight them in court.
"We will go to court to hold Al Jazeera and other responsible parties accountable for smearing our clients' good names," Burck said.
Major League Baseball said it will conduct a thorough investigation of the report, whose source has already recanted his comments.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.