Ever since we last reopened our agreement in 2005, our program has
continued to improve. Along with the MLBPA, we have tightened our
collection procedures by adding chaperones to monitor players. We also
often test players after a game, rather than before a game, to deter stimulant
use. And the Commissioner's Office has placed emphasis on discipline for
non-analytical positives. We had three disciplines for non-analytical
positives in 2007 alone.
Because of these facts, I feel that Baseball is dealing effectively with
the present and will continue to evolve to deal with the future. Nonetheless,
I felt a need to appoint Senator Mitchell to deal with the past.
As I said in March 2006, "nothing is more important to me than the
integrity of the game of baseball." I strongly believed 21 months ago, and I
continue to believe today, that Baseball needed to fully, honestly and
publicly confront the use of performance enhancing substances by players. I
knew that an investigation would be an extraordinarily difficult undertaking.
I knew that an investigation would be painful for all of those associated with
the sport. No other sport had confronted its past in such a way. But I knew
that Baseball must undertake that journey in order to preserve the integrity
of our game and maintain credibility with the millions of baseball fans
throughout the world. I want to thank this Committee for its role in helping
to focus us all on the dangers of performance enhancing substances and for
its patience as we at Baseball moved forward with this important
The investigation had a second purpose, as well. I am committed to
keeping Major League Baseball's program the strongest in professional
sports. I believed in March 2006 that our current drug program would be
effective in curtailing the use of detectable steroids by players. Indeed,
Senator Mitchell confirmed that our current program has been effective in
that detectable steroid use appears to have declined. I also knew from
experience that the development of a state-of-the art drug program is an
evolutionary process. I knew that our work on this important issue was not
done. By rigorously examining Baseball's experience with performance
enhancing substances, my desire was for Senator Mitchell to provide us with
recommendations and insights to help make additional progress in the ongoing
battle against the illegal use of performance enhancing substances in
sports, recognizing, of course, our collective bargaining obligations.
As Senator Mitchell stated in his report, I gave him complete and total
independence to conduct the investigation as he saw fit, to consider any
evidence that he deemed relevant, and to follow that evidence wherever it
might lead. It is extremely unusual to afford a third-party such unfettered
discretion to conduct an investigation and to make the findings public. Yet,
I believed that such extraordinary steps were necessary to satisfy my goal of
conducting the most exhaustive and credible investigation of this subject that
was within my power as Commissioner.
Senator Mitchell's thorough and detailed report elicited from me a
range of reactions. I am a lifelong baseball fan. I have devoted the last 45
years to the game. As a fan of the game of baseball and a student of its
history, I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the conduct of the players
and many other individuals described by the Senator in his report. On the
other hand, as the Commissioner of Baseball, with the responsibility for
protecting the integrity of the game for future generations, I am optimistic
that Senator Mitchell's report is a milestone step in dealing with Baseball's
past and the problems caused by these dangerous and illegal substances in
both amateur and professional sports. Senator Mitchell's report helps bring
understanding of and hopefully closure to the rumors and speculation that
have swirled around this issue. Perhaps more important, Senator Mitchell's
report - including his twenty recommendations which I fully embrace -
helps point a way forward as we continue the battle against the illegal use of
performance enhancing substances.
I want to be clear that I agree with the conclusions reached by Senator
Mitchell in his report, including his criticisms of Baseball, the union and our
players. I have personally agonized over what could have been done
differently and I accept responsibility. In 1994, during a very difficult round
of collective bargaining that included a lengthy strike, we proposed to the
union a joint drug program that included steroids as prohibited substances.
We made this proposal in an effort to be proactive, and I can assure you that
we did not appreciate the magnitude of the problem that would develop.
Senator Mitchell has suggested that the Clubs did not give this proposal the
highest priority, but the Major League Baseball Players Association was
fiercely and steadfastly opposed to any form of random drug testing. Even if
the Clubs had taken a harder line on drugs, the Union would not have agreed
and the strike could have lasted even longer. Unfortunately, the next round
of bargaining did not occur until 2002, and, therefore, we did not have an
opportunity to address the problem before it became more significant.
However, as Senator Mitchell found in his report, Baseball was taking
action during this time. After the discovery of androstenedione in Mark
McGwire's locker in August, 1998, we immediately took a number of steps
to lay the foundation for bargaining a joint drug program in the 2002
negotiations that included random testing for steroids.1 Those steps
included efforts to improve regulation of dietary supplements such as
androstenedione and the introduction of a steroids education program.2
Along with the MLBPA, we also funded a study of androstenedione at
Harvard. In addition, in 2001, I unilaterally implemented a drug testing
program in our Minor Leagues which prohibited all Schedule III steroids and
required random drug testing. Collective bargaining is by its nature an
incremental process and these foundational efforts were necessary to
overcome the union's long-standing opposition to drug testing. Even with
those efforts, the bargaining with the MLBPA in 2002 was contentious and
the union resisted any agreement on steroids until late in the negotiations.
Some of the sharpest exchanges at the bargaining table occurred on the
steroids issue and Mr. Angelos can certainly tell you about those exchanges.
Senator Mitchell's report recognizes that "the drug testing programs
in all sports, including the Olympics, have evolved over time through a
process of trial and error, as the programs were modified to address
problems and concerns. In this respect, Baseball's program has been like all
others."3 And, as Senator Mitchell observed, "the current drug testing
program in Major League Baseball is the product of the give and take
inherent in collective bargaining."4 The compromise we reached with the
players on the 2002 drug program was not perfect. As Senator Mitchell
reported, it was a necessary first step toward achieving the joint drug
program that is in effect today.5 In January 2005, with the agreement of the
Players Association, we revised the drug program to add seventeen
substances as prohibited substances (including the addition of Human
Growth Hormone). We also increased the penalties for a positive test result.
In March 2005, with the support of this Committee, I sought the Player
Association's agreement to further increase penalties to a 50-game
suspension for first-time offenders, a 100-game suspension for second-time
offenders, and a permanent ban for third time offenders. I also proposed
adding stimulants, including amphetamines, as banned substances. After
months of difficult negotiations, the Players Association accepted my
proposals in November 2005.
As Senator Mitchell found, "[t]he penalties imposed under the joint
program are stronger than those imposed under drug programs in other
major professional sports leagues in the United States." 6 I am proud that, in
this respect, Major League Baseball is a leader. Our "three strikes and
you're out" policy states loudly and clearly that we will not tolerate the
illegal use of performance enhancing substances in our sport.
Senator Mitchell concluded that the drug program that has been in
place since November 2005 "has been effective in that detectable steroid use
appears to have declined." 7 I am encouraged by that finding, but also
recognize, as did Senator Mitchell, that "no drug testing program is perfect,"
and that there is always room for improvement.8 I fully support each of the
twenty recommendations that Senator Mitchell included in his report. I
promised that all of his recommendations that do not require bargaining with
the Players Association would be implemented immediately and I am
delivering on that promise. Just last week, we issued written policies that:
(i) require all Clubs to adopt a uniform, written policy for reporting
information about possible substance abuse violations and certify to the
Commissioner's Office that such policies have been complied with; (ii)
require all Major and Minor League Clubs to establish a system to log every
package sent to players at its facilities; (iii) require background checks to be
performed on all Clubhouse personnel; and (iv) require all Clubhouse
personnel to be randomly drug tested.
Also last week, we established a separate department of investigations
to deal with all allegations of drug use and violations of our rules. That
department will be headed by Dan Mullin who served 23 years with the New
York City Police Department and retired as a deputy chief with
responsibility for 3,000 officers. He will be assisted by George Hanna, a
former FBI agent with 30 years of investigative experience. Mr. Mullin will
report directly to the President of Major League Baseball, Bob DuPuy, and
me. Consistent with Senator Mitchell's recommendations, the department
has established a hot line for the anonymous reporting of information
concerning the use of prohibited substances and has already made initial
contacts with law enforcement officials to pursue continued cooperation.
Likewise, although the legal issues are more significant, we will also
be developing a program to require top prospects for the Major League draft
to submit to drug testing before the draft.
Senator Mitchell also recommends certain changes to the joint drug
program that clearly require the agreement of the Players Association. We
already have agreed with the union to eliminate the overnight notice that the
drug testing collectors had given to the Clubs. The other recommendations
include increasing the number of off-season drug tests, making the program
more transparent to the public, increasing the independence of the program
administrator and improving and expanding our programs to educate players
about the use of prohibited substances. We have met with the Players
Association to discuss each of these recommendations. We have not yet
reached an agreement on these matters, but we will continue to press for an
agreement to revise the program to adopt all of Senator Mitchell's
recommendations. Personally, I am committed to a program that provides
adequate, year-round, unannounced testing.
As Commissioner, I recognize that Baseball is a social institution with
important responsibilities, particularly as they relate to young people. We
have been working closely 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. These
programs warn our youth about the health risks in using steroids and other
black market drugs, and teach them how to achieve the same improved
results on the field through proper training, nutrition and methods that are
legal and safe. Our athletes, prospective ballplayers and our youth must
come to understand that the use of performance enhancing substances is
illegal, it is cheating, it does long term damage to an athlete's health, and it
puts at risk an athlete's reputation and integrity. Baseball will continue and
enhance its efforts in this area.
Finally, I fully recognize that eliminating performance enhancing
substances from Baseball requires us to be proactive and vigilant. The
strongest penalties in professional sports and the testing of players has not
proven to be effective enough to rid our sport - or any other sport, including
the Olympics - of the illegal use of performance enhancing substances. I am
committed to having the strongest and most effective program in sports.
As part of my commitment, it is essential that we not only investigate
and enforce our policies, but that we educate our players concerning the
dangers posed by the use of these substances. As Senator Mitchell noted,
"improved educational programs about the dangers of substance use are
critical to any effort to deter performance enhancing substance use."9 For
the past decade, as Senator Mitchell describes in his report, MLB has
conducted educational programs for players in the Major and Minor Leagues
during Spring training. We have stepped up these efforts in recent years,
striving to find ways to make those programs more effective in reaching the
players. For example, in 2003, I hired Dr. Gary Green, former director of
UCLA's intercollegiate drug testing program, chairman of the NCAA's
subcommittee on Drug Testing and Drug Education, and a USADA panel
member, to develop and implement educational programs and materials on
performance enhancing substances. Major League Baseball remains
committed to this educational effort and each year our educational efforts
evolve and improve. I welcome the Senator's fresh perspective on our
efforts and using his recommendations as a guide, we are making even
further improvements to our educational programs.
Senator Mitchell's report reveals that those who are intent on cheating
will continue to search for ways to avoid detection, such as turning to the use
of Human Growth Hormone ("HGH") which is not detectable in a urine test.
Perhaps my single biggest frustration in reading Senator Mitchell's report
was in learning that, just as Baseball was putting in place an effective testing
program aimed at steroids, HGH use was growing. Just as we have seen our
programs effectively reduce the use of steroids in Baseball, I am committed
to stop the use of HGH in our sport, as well. Along with the National
Football League, Baseball is funding an effort by Dr. Don Catlin, one of the
leading drug testing experts in the world, to develop a urine test for HGH,
and we will be convening a summit of the best minds in sports and science
to develop a strategy to address the use of HGH by players. Just recently,
we have joined with the United States Olympic Committee in a new, longterm
program of research on performance enhancing drugs. Our initial
commitment is for $3 million in funding. When a valid, commercially
available and practical test for HGH becomes reality - regardless of whether
the test is based on blood or urine - Baseball will support the utilization of
Some have described the use of performance enhancing substances in
sports as an "arms race" between the chemists and the cheaters, on the one
hand, and the honest players, the leagues and the testers on the other hand.
Each is continually improving its methods to obtain an advantage over the
other. Well, if this is such a war, then as Commissioner of Baseball I am
committed to arm the side of honesty and fair play by funding laboratory
research to detect the illegal use of these substances so that drug users will
be caught and the cloud of suspicion over honest players will be lifted.
I am here today not just to describe to you my commitment to
eradicating the use of performance enhancing substances from Baseball and
to relate to you Baseball's on-going efforts to improve and strengthen its
programs. I am here to ask for your assistance in this fight. The illegal use
of performance enhancing substances is a problem for Baseball - but it is a
social problem that extends beyond this sport or any sport. It is a societal
issue. Senator Mitchell's report identified the difficulties inherent in any
attempt, whether by Baseball, by other professional sports, or by the
Olympics, to stop by itself the use of illegal performance enhancing
substances. We welcome your participation in attacking the problem at its
source. There are a number of bills that have been introduced that we
wholly support, including Representative Lynch's bill (HR 4911) and
Senator Schumer's bill (Senate Bill 877) to make HGH a Schedule III
Controlled Substance, Senator Grassley's bill (Senate Bill 2470) to prohibit
the sale of DHEA to minors, and Senator Biden's bill (Senate Bill 2237) to
crackdown on the sale of controlled substances over the Internet.
In closing, Senator Mitchell quoted a veteran Major League Player in
the report as saying that "Major League Baseball is trying to investigate the
past so that they can fix the future."10 Even prior to the issuance of the
Mitchell Report, we had made great strides in reducing the number of
players who use performance enhancing substances. I am confident that by
adopting Senator Mitchell's recommendations, by constantly working to
improve our drug program regardless of the effort or the cost, by pursuing
new strategies to catch drug users, and by enhancing our educational efforts,
we can make additional progress in our on-going battle against the use of
performance enhancing substances in Baseball. Senator Mitchell's report
identified the principal goals of his investigation: "to bring to a close this
troubling chapter in baseball's history and to use the lessons learned from
the past to prevent future use of performance enhancing substances."11 The
lessons from the past serve only to strengthen my commitment to keep
Major League Baseball's program the strongest and most effective in sports.
1 Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation Into the
Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major
League Baseball (the "Mitchell Report"), at 44.
3 Mitchell Report, at 258.
4 Mitchell Report at SR-4.
5 Mitchell Report, at 53-54.
6 Mitchell Report, at 276.
7 Mitchell Report, at SR-1.
8 Mitchell Report, at SR-4.
9 Mitchell Report, at SR-30.
10 Mitchell Report, at SR-4.
11 Mitchell Report, at 308.