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George Mitchell Q&A with Congress

Following George Mitchell’s statement to congress, Congress was given the opportunity to ask questions to George Mitchell. Some questions regarding Roger Clemens and trainer Brian McNamee and the impact of steroids were the highlights. While this list is not conclusive of all the questions asked, I found these listed to be the most important:

(Note: the questions and answers are not verbatim, but I’ve made every effort to appropriately paraphrase what was said. If you find any glaring errors, let me know. I’ll post the transcript when it’s available.)

Q: At hearing in 2005, I asked players if anyone had knowledge of steroids use, (anyone trainers, trainers, scouts, staff) some players said “yes,” some said “no.” What should consequences be for breaking the rules?
A: A written policy at MLB-level distributed to everyone; this process should be followed when reporting substance abuse.

Q: MLB has been accused of sweeping the steroid policy under the rug. How does MLB compare to other sports, NCAA, NFL, Olympics?
A: In my report, I included analysis of known provisions of other programs, point by point. In terms of penalties, MLB has the strongest and stiffest penalties With respect to operations of the program, I’ve had no access to the outside programs. I would need detailed analysis of other programs to conduct any type of comparison.

Q: Was a player required to consent to an interview in order to see evidence included in your report?
A: Yes.

Q: Did anyone come forward for an interview? What was the result?
A: Yes, one player came forward for an interview. He agreed with the evidence we provided that he had purchased steroids, but did not use them and gave us his evidence of such non-use. We conducted another independent investigation, with agreed with his. His name was removed from the report.

Q: What about the young people and steroids?
A: Young adults using steroids should be a wake-up call to everyone. This epidemic goes far beyond MLB, even entertainers.

Q: What about exemptions? ADD, Ritalin, stimulants. what about their abuse? What exactly defines a performance enhancing drug?
A: Amphetamines were outside the investigation. Prefer not to comment.

Q: The penalty is really an issue of cheating, beyond drugs. Don’t you see a difference between taking a drug for pleasure and one for cheating?
A: Taking a performance enhancing drug to gain an unfair advantage is cheating.

Q: Did Rafael Palmeiro get his 3000th hit before his steroid test?
A: No.

Q: Does steroid/HGH usage lead to enhanced performance?
A: Sometimes recovery from injury, psychological enhancements. In some cases, performance has been enhanced. But to make it to the major leagues, you need to be highly talented to begin with. Players have been looking for a competitive advantage in a highly competitive environment. Steroid users taking rosters spots from non-users.

Q: Clemens. Public denial of allegation. Why did he refuse to speak to you?
A: I don’t know why.

Q: Why do you believe Brian McNamee credible witness. Have you learned anything new to reassess your conclusions about his credibility?
A: Pettitte said McNamee’s statements were true.

Q: You also believe he was credible on Roger Clemens. Why?
A: There was an agreement with US attorney’s office. McNamee agreed to provided truthful information or otherwise may be charged with criminal penalties. Mitchell stressed he wanted “nothing but the truth” from McNamee. McNamee was informed by those present during his testimony that any false statements he made would subject himself to further charges and penalties. At the conclusion of his testimony, the relevant sections pertaining to him in the Mitchell report were read to him. McNamee was asked if he was “completely comfortable to the truth and accuracy of the report” and he said he was.

Q: Do you believe a proven steroid user should be stripped of his record?
A: Not my responsibility to determine this subject, I’ll leave that to other officials. I’ll limit myself to what I’ve done here.

I’ve provided a few thoughts about the question and answer here.

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  1. [...] we’ll discuss the question and answer session between Congress and George Mitchell, with some excellent questions and surprising [...]

    Posted by George Mitchell Speaks to Congress | Sports of Boston | January 15, 2008, 1:40 pm

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