Mitchell Report (baseball)


Mitchell Report (baseball)

Infobox Book
name = The Mitchell Report


image_caption =
author = George J. Mitchell
DLA Piper Law Firm
country = United States of America
language = English
subject = Use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball
publisher = Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
release_date = December 13, 2007
media_type = Paperback, [http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/news/mitchell/index.jsp Internet]
pages = 409
The "Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball", informally known as the "Mitchell Report", is the result of former United States Senator George J. Mitchell's 20-month investigation into the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) in Major League Baseball (MLB). The 409-page report, released on December 13 2007, covers the history of the use of illegal performance-enhancing substances by players and the effectiveness of the MLB Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Mitchell also advances certain recommendations regarding the handling of past illegal drug use and future prevention practices. The report names 89 MLB players who are alleged to have used steroids or drugs.

Background

A former Senate Majority Leader, federal prosecutor, and ex-chairman of The Walt Disney Company, George Mitchell was appointed by Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig on March 30 2006cite news|author=Barry M. Bloom |title=Mitchell Report to be released today |url=http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071212&content_id=2323307&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb |publisher=MLB.com |date=2007-12-13 |accessdate=2007-12-13] to investigate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in MLB.cite news|author=Duff Wilson |coauthor=Michael S.Schmidt |title=Baseball Braces for Steroid Report From Mitchell |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/13/sports/baseball/13mitchell.html?em&ex=1197694800&en=13aefc5012cd51c1&ei=5087%0A |publisher=The New York Times |date=2007-12-13 |accessdate=2007-12-13] Mitchell was appointed during a time of controversy over the 2006 book "Game of Shadows" by "San Francisco Chronicle" investigative reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, which chronicles alleged extensive use of performance enhancers, including several different types of steroids and growth hormone by baseball superstars Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi. The appointment was made after several influential members of the U.S. Congress made negative comments about the effectiveness and honesty of MLB's drug policies.

Investigation

Mitchell's investigation focused on players, without investigating the role teams played. Mitchell reported that the Major League Baseball Players Association was "largely uncooperative".cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf | title = Mitchell Report | format = PDF | pages = SR7 | accessdate = 2007-12-13 ] According to Mitchell, the Players Association effectively discouraged players from cooperating with the investigation. In a memorandum to players, the Association advised: cquote|...while Senator Mitchell pledges in his memo that he will honor any player request for confidentiality "in his report", he does not pledge, because he cannot pledge, that any information you provide will actually remain confidential and not be disclosed without your consent. For example, Senator Mitchell cannot promise that information you disclose will not be given to a federal or state prosecutor, a Congressional committee, or even turned over in a private lawsuit in response to a request or a subpoena. cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf | title = Mitchell Report | format = PDF | pages = B9-B10 | accessdate = 2007-12-13 ]

Confidentiality was not an idle concern. The Players Association had agreed to anonymous testing in 2003, only to find out the list of players testing positive was turned over to the government (as part of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative investigation). cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf | title = Mitchell Report | format = PDF | pages = SR25 | accessdate = 2007-12-31 ]

Mitchell agreed to give Commissioner Selig an advanced copy of the report while refusing to do the same for the Players Association. cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf | title = Mitchell Report | format = PDF | pages = SR7 | accessdate = 2007-12-13 ]

Only two active players were interviewed for the report. Of five players who were approached by the investigators for interviews because of their public statements on the issue, Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Frank Thomas was the only one willing to be interviewed. Also interviewed was admitted steroid user and New York Yankees DH Jason Giambi.

Over 700 people were interviewed during the investigation.cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf | title = Mitchell Report | format = PDF | pages = SR6 | accessdate = 2007-12-13 ] Of 500 former players contacted, 68 agreed to be interviewed, and three others had interviews arranged by law enforcement. Interviews with current or former club officials, managers, coaches, team physicians, athletic trainers, or resident security agents accounted for another 550 interviews. The teams and the Commissioner's Office supplied Mitchell with more than 115,000 pages of documents and 2,000 electronic documents.

Kirk Radomski

Kirk Radomski, a former batboy and clubhouse employee for the New York Mets and a critical witness, provided most of the names that the general public did not know about.cite news|author=Mark Zeigler|title=Call it the 'Radomski Report' |url=http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/padres/20071214-9999-1s14source.html|publisher="San Diego Union Tribune" |date=2007-12-14 |accessdate=2007-12-14] Mitchell was able to secure Radomski's cooperation through San Francisco, California, U.S. Attorney Scott Schools. Radomski had been charged with distribution of a controlled substance and money laundering and faced up to thirty years in prison. He reached a plea bargain that was conditioned upon his cooperation with the Mitchell investigation.cite news|title=Ex-Mets employee pleads guilty, agrees to help MLB|url=http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/padres/20071214-9999-1s14source.html|publisher="ESPN.com" |date=2007-04-29 |accessdate=2007-12-14]

Brian McNamee

Brian McNamee is a personal trainer who was most notably employed by Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, and Chuck Knoblauch. He is a former strength coach for the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. The Mitchell Report alleges that McNamee helped acquire performance-enhancing drugs including steroids, amphetamines, and human growth hormone for some or all of the players he personally trained. McNamee told the Mitchell Commission that he began injecting Clemens with steroids in 1998 and that he continued to provide these steroids through 2001.

Report findings

The 409-page report was released on December 13, 2007.cite news |url=http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/ny-spmitch135499050dec13,0,4031096.story |title=Many high-profile names will make Mitchell Report |publisher=Newsday |firstname=Ken |lastname=Davidoff |coauthors=Jim Baumbach |date=2007-12-13 |accessdate=2007-12-13 ]

The report describes motivations for its preparation, including health effects of steroids, legal issues, fair play, and reports that baseball players acted as role models for child athletes. For example, after news coverage in August 1998 that Mark McGwire had used the then-legal androstenedione, a steroid precursor, sales of the supplement increased over 1000%, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 8% of male high school seniors had used androstenedione in 2001.

Mitchell reported that during the random testing in 2003, 5 to 7 percent of players tested positive for steroid use. Players on the forty-man roster of major league teams were exempt from testing until 2004. One player is quoted: "Forty-man [roster] guys already have all of the [major league] club advantages, and then they could use steroids . . . it was not a level playing field."

According to the report, after mandatory random testing began in 2004, HGH became the substance of choice among players, as it is not detectable in tests.cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf | title = Mitchell Report | format = PDF | pages = SR2 | accessdate = 2007-12-13 ] Also, it was noted that at least one player from each of the thirty Major League Baseball teams was involved in the alleged violations. [cite news |title=Mitchell report: Baseball slow to react to players' steroid use |publisher=ESPN.com |url=http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3153509 |date=2007-12-13 |accessdate=2007-12-13 ]

Players listed in the report

In all, 89 former and current MLB players are named in the report. Among those implicated were several well-known players such as Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, and Eric Gagné. Many of them are connected through a relatively small social network centering around Kirk Radomski. [cite news |title=The Steroids Social Network |publisher=Slate.com |url=http://www.slate.com/id/2180392/ |date=2007-12-21 |accessdate=2007-12-21 ]

Report recommendations

# Major League Baseball should utilize an independent testing administrator to improve their capability to investigate the use of performance enhancing drugs, above and beyond the current urine testing program. Additionally, Major League Baseball should improve their methods of barring the drugs from the clubhouse.cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/summary.pdf| title = Mitchell Report: Summary and Recommendations | format = PDF | pages = 6 | accessdate = 2007-12-20 ]
# Major League Baseball should improve their efforts to educate the players and others regarding the grim health dangers that result from this drug use.
# When the club owners and the Players Association take up negotiations regarding the league's drug program again, they should be guided by modern and first-rate standards.

Report conclusions

Mitchell expressed his hope that readers of the report will look past the players' names that are included in the report and focus on the conclusions he reached during his investigation. Mitchell presents his conclusions in five sections.cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf | title = Mitchell Report | format = PDF | pages = 310-311 | accessdate = 2007-12-13 ]
# Major League Baseball's 2002 response to steroid use resulted in players switching from detectable steroids to undetectable human growth hormone.
# The use of performance-enhancing substances by players is legally and ethically "wrong."
# While players that use illegal substances are responsible for their actions, that responsibility is shared by the entire baseball community for failing to recognize the problem sooner.
# An exhaustive investigation attempting to identify every player that has used illegal substances would not be beneficial.
# Major League Baseball should adopt the recommendations of the report as a first step in eliminating the use of illegal substances.

Reactions

On December 12 2007, the day before the report was to be released, Bud Selig said, regarding his decision to commission the report, "I haven't seen the report yet, but I'm proud I did it."cite web |url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/cs-071212report,1,5400599.story?ctrack=1&cset=true |title=Mitchell report will assess the damage done |publisher=Chicago Tribune |author=Phil Rogers |date=2007-12-12|accessdate=2007-12-13] cite news |url=http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3152573 |title=Sources: Players, owners to share blame in Mitchell report |publisher=espn.com |firstname=T.J |lastname=Quinn |coauthors=Mark Fainaru-Wada |date=2007-12-13 |accessdate=2007-12-13 ]

After the report was released, Selig held his own news conference at 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. In the press conference, Selig called the Mitchell Report "a call to action. And I will act."cite news |firstname=Anthony |lastname=DiComo |title=Selig: Report is a 'call to action' |publisher=MLB.com |url=http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071213&content_id=2325116&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb |date=2007-12-13 |accessdate=2007-12-13 ] Selig indicated that it is possible that some of the players named in the report may face disciplinary actions. "Discipline of players and others identified in this report will be determined on a case-by-case basis. If warranted, those decisions will be made swiftly," said Selig.cite news |url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/13/steroid.report/index.html?eref=rss_topstories |title=Clemens, Pettitte named in baseball steroid report |publisher=CNN |date=2007-12-13 |accessdate=2007-12-13 ]

Donald Fehr, executive director of the MLB Players Association, held his news conference at 6:00 pm EST on December 13, 2007. Fehr expressed his disappointment that the union was not given a chance to read the report beforehand. He accepted some responsibility for the steroid problems but expressed concern for how the league would treat the players named in the report. [cite web|url=http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071213&content_id=2325998&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb|author=Ian Browne|title=Fehr wants time to review Report|date=2007-12-14|accessdate=2007-12-14|publisher=mlb.com]

Roger Clemens has been deemed the most standout name of the list.cite web|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3153509|author=ESPN News Services (AP)|title=Mitchell report: Baseball slow to react to players' steroid use|date=2007-12-14|accessdate=2007-12-18|publisher=The Associated Press] The seven-time Cy Young Award winner issued a response through agent Randy Hendricks, saying "I want to state clearly and without qualification: I did not take steroids, human growth hormone or any other banned substances at any time in my baseball career or, in fact, my entire life." [cite web|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3160063|title=Clemens fires back, denies taking steroids or HGH|date=2007-12-18|accessdate=2007-12-19|publisher=ESPN]

The day after the report was released, President George W. Bush, a former co-owner of the Texas Rangers, stated that "we can jump to this conclusion: that steroids have sullied the game." He said he had no prior knowledge or awareness of player steroid use. He added, "My hope is that this report is a part of putting the steroid era of baseball behind us." [cite web|url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/cpress/20071214/ca_pr_on_ba/bbl_mitchell_report_bush_4|author=Deb Riechmann|title=President Bush says he hopes baseball will put steroid era behind it |date=2007-12-14|accessdate=2007-12-14|publisher=The Associated Press ]

On December 15, two days after the report's release, Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte admitted to using HGH for two days to recover from an elbow injury in 2002. [http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3156305]

Conflict of interest allegations

According to ESPN, some people questioned whether Mitchell being a director of the Boston Red Sox created a conflict of interest, especially because no "prime [Sox] players were in the report." Mitchell described his role with the team as that of a "consultant".cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf | title = Mitchell Report | format = PDF | pages = A1 | accessdate = 2007-12-31 ] Despite the lack of "prime" Boston players, the report had named several prominent Yankees who were parts of World Series clubs. This made some people feel that there was a conflict of interest on Mitchell's part, due to the fierce rivalry between the two teams. Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd, along with his teammates, felt the timing of publicizing Byrd's alleged use was suspicious, as the information was leaked prior to the deciding Game 7 of the 2007 American League Championship Series between the Indians and the Red Sox. [cite web|url=http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7365076|author=Ken Rosenthal|title=Mitchell investigation raises questions |date=2007-10-23|accessdate=2007-12-24|publisher=Fox Sports] Former U.S. prosecutor John M. Dowd also brought up allegations of Mitchell's conflict of interest. Dowd, who had defended Senator John McCain of Arizona during the Keating Five investigation in the late 1980s, cited how he took exception to Mitchell's scolding of McCain and others for having a conflict of interest with their actions in the case and how the baseball investigation would be a "burden" for him when Mitchell was named to lead it. [cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2006-03-30-mitchell-role_x.htm|author=Mike Dodd|title=Is George Mitchell independent enough?|date=2006-03-31|accessdate=2007-12-24|publisher=USA Today] After the investigation, Dowd later told the "Baltimore Sun" that he was convinced the former Senator has done a good job. [cite web|url=http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baseball/bal-mitchell1212,0,7812674.story|author=Childs Walker|title=Some question Mitchell as report draws near|date=2007-12-11|accessdate=2007-12-24|publisher=Baltrimore Sun] The "Los Angeles Times" reported that Mitchell acknowledged that his "tight relationship with Major League Baseball left him open to criticism".cite web|url=http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/la-sp-mitchellbio14dec14,1,6912601.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-majorbaseb&ctrack=1&cset=true|author=Greg Johnson|title=Mitchell cites unbiased history|date=2007-12-14|accessdate=2007-12-19|publisher=The Los Angeles Times] Mitchell responded to the concerns by stating that readers who examined the report closely "will not find any evidence of bias, of special treatment of the Red Sox".

In his report on Paul Lo Duca, there are notes of Los Angeles Dodgers officials in October 2003 being concerned that Lo Duca had stopped taking steroids and it would hurt his performance. The officials seemed to know about LoDuca's relationship with steroids.cite web | url = http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf | title = Mitchell Report | format = PDF | pages = 209 | accessdate = 2007-12-31 ] On July 30, 2004, the Dodgers traded Lo Duca to the Florida Marlins. Mitchell does not name the Dodgers officials involved, the way he names players involved. He did not mention if other players were traded after they stopped using performance-enhancing drugs. Mitchell recommended independent testing. He also recommended that "the Commissioner’s Office have a more robust investigative ability"—the same Commissioner's Office that selected Mitchell to perform the investigation.

ee also

*Banned substances in baseball
*List of Major League Baseball players named in the Mitchell Report
*List of Major League Baseball players named in the Mitchell Report by team
*List of Major League Baseball players suspended for performance-enhancing drugs

References

External links

* [http://files.mlb.com/summary.pdf Mitchell Report Executive Summary] .
* [http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf Full Mitchell Report] .
* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/mitchell-report-players.shtml Links to statistical pages of players implicated in the Mitchell Report] , provided by Baseball-Reference.
* [http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/1213071mitchell1.html Mitchell Report: The Lineup] , summary and documents provided by The Smoking Gun.
*newseum front page archive|event=Mitchell Report reaction|month=12|day=14|year=07


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