McGwire strikes out with testimony

Posted: Monday, March 21, 2005

If former major-leaguer Mark McGwire were as evasive on the basepaths as he was Thursday before the U.S. House Government Reform Committee, he could've set the all-time stolen base record.

The committee wanted answers on steroids — why they're in baseball, what harm they cause and what Major League Baseball is doing to get them out.

But when a point-blank question was pitched to McGwire — had he ever used steroids? — the 16-year veteran whiffed.

"I'm not here to talk about the past," McGwire said. "I'm here to be positive and talk about the present and the future."

Asked whether using steroids was cheating, McGwire said, "That's not for me to determine."

That cowardly attitude didn't sit well with committee member Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind.: "If the Enron people come in here and say, 'Well, we don't want to talk about the past,' do you think Congress is going to let them get away with that?"

These aren't brain-busting questions. Is steroid use cheating? Absolutely. And did McGwire take steroids? Previously, he has said no.

But that was before he was placed under oath. Now he doesn't want to dwell on the past.

Well, Congress does, Mark. That's the only place we're going to get real answers on how pervasive steroids are in baseball.

McGwire said that he "cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family and myself."

True heroism is forged in the fires of risk. If McGwire wants to be the hero that baseball fans thought he was, he needs to step up to the plate and be completely honest.

— The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)

March 20

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