The Mitchell Report Released: Summary
The much-hyped Mitchell Report (view PDF) on performance enhancing drugs in baseball was released today. The very thorough report (given the circumstances) seemed to naturally cover four distinct areas.
(1) The history of drug use in baseball (including past media reports),
(2) An assessment of blame for the era
(3) Evidence about specific players’ use of drugs
(4) An Assessment of MLB’s Drug Policy and Recommendations as to how Major League Baseball ought to move forward with its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The history of drug use in baseball
In section IV, “Early Indications of Steroid Use in Baseball (1988 to August 1998),” Mitchell outlined how performance enhancing drug use slowly seeped into the game and into the public eye. He begins with rumors within the game and in the media about Jose Canseco and Lenny Dykstra between 1988 and 1993. He moves onto to a discussion about the 1996 season wherin Ken Caminiti won the MVP amid one of the most inflated offensive seasons in history. Mitchell does well painting the picture of media coverage at the time. Players, Executives and reporters alike starting to grumble of steroid use. Then of course in 1998 the Andro coverage after a bottle was found in Mark McGwire’s locker.
An assessment of blame for the era
As expected, Mitchell spread the blame across all levels of Major League Baseball.
“The use of steroids in Major League Baseball was widespread. The response by baseball was slow to develop and was initially ineffective. For many years, citing concerns for the privacy rights of the players, the Players Association opposed mandatory random drug testing of its members for steroids and other substances.”
“Obviously, the players who illegally used performance enhancing substances are responsible for their actions. But they did not act in a vacuum. Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades – Commissioners, club officials, the Players Association, and players – shares to some extent in the responsibility for the steroids era. There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on. As a result, an environment developed in which illegal use became widespread.”
Evidence about specific players’ use of drugs
This section spanned about 140 pages and was very detailed. Mitchell chose not to mention names in several circumstances when the evidence was lacking. In instances where Mitchell did cite a players name, substantial detailed evidence was listed and almost always corroborated by confessions or some type of paper trail.
This section contained many players not prevously linked to performance enhancing drugs. Some of the more prominent players include Eric Gagne, Paul Lo Duca, Chuck Knobloch, Mo Vaughn, David Justice and Kevin Brown. See the entire list here.
This section also includes about 8 pages (page 167 to 175 of the report) describing Roger Clemens’ drug use. According to the report, Clemens has indirect ties to convicted steroid dealer Kirk Radomski through Clemens’ former trainer, Brian McNamee. After coming up as a “customer and possible sub-distributor” in the investigation of Radomski, McNamee agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. As part of that cooperation, McNamee agreed to 3 interviews with Mitchell and/or his investigators.
According to McNamee, in June 1998 Clemens approached him for the first time about using steroids. McNamee said Clemens wasn’t able to inject himself and asked for his help. McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol (Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid) that Clemens had provided, “from time to time” over the remainder of the 1998 season.
In 2000, after McNamee had developed a relationship with Radomski, Clemens informed McNamee that he wanted to use steroids again. Over that season McNamee said he injected Clemens with Deca-Durabolin (an anabolic steroid) and human growth hormone each about 4 to 6 times. Again in 2001 McNamee injected Clemens multiple times with Deca-Durabolin. After 2001 the two never even discussed performance enhancing drugs again.
An Assessment of MLB’s Drug Policy and Recommendations as to how Major League Baseball ought to move forward
Mitchell provided a long list of recommendations to make MLB’s testing and prevention stronger. Details about each section and quotes from the report were listed in this ESPN article.
Recommendations on non-testing based allegation investigations
1. The Commissioner should establish a Department of Investigations
2. The Commissioner’s office should more effectively cooperate with law enforcement agencies
3. The Commissioner’s office should actively use the clubs’ powers, as employers, to investigate violations
4. All clubs should have clear, written and well-publicized policies for reporting information relating to possible performance enhancing substance violations
5. Logging packages sent to players at Major League ballparks
Recommendations that do not require collective bargaining
1. Background investigations of prospective clubhouse personnel
2. Random drug testing of clubhouse personnel
3. A hot line for reporting anonymous tips
4. Top draft prospects should be tested prior to the Major League Draft
Recommendations on education
1. The design and implementation of the educational program should be centralized with the Independent Program Administrator
2. Spring training programs should include testimonials and other speakers and presentations
3. Explain the health risks in context and provide education on alternative methods to achieve the same results
4. Players need to understand the non-health effects of buying performance enhancing substances from street dealers and “Internet pharmacies”
5. Prominently display posters about performance enhancing substance use prevention
Recommendations on the drug program
1. The program should be independent
2. The program should be transparent
3. There should be adequate year-round, unannounced drug testing
4. The program should be flexible enough to employ best practices as they develop
5. The program should continue to respect the legitimate rights of players
6. The program should have adequate funding