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Commissioner's statement12/13/2007 5:19 PM ET
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig issued the following statement regarding the report on performance-enhancing substances released today by Senator George J. Mitchell:
"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 our generation - 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 those recommendations, 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 performanceenhancing 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 performanceenhancing 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."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.