September 30, 2020

Professional Athletes Treated Differently in Steroid Cases

Sally Jenkins, writing in the Washington Post, observes that professional athletes who use anabolic steroids are treated more harshly than others who have committed similar crimes.

Perjury cases are rarely prosecuted by the Justice Department according to Jenkins:

It charged just 99 people with the crime in 2006, out of more than 88,000 federal defendants. Between 2001 and 2006, 566 perjury cases were filed — about 1 percent of all criminal charges. Cases brought before the federal criminal justice system are supposed to be top-notch in quality, and of overriding size and importance.

Unless, of course, the defendant is famous.

Prosecuting trivial lies by the likes of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Marion Jones in federal court is highly unusual. This is especially true when serious lies have been told to Congress with no perjury charges: [Read more…]

Baseball and Steroids Social Network

Slate has a neat interactive steroid social network of baseball players in the MLB who have used anabolic steroids, growth hormone and/or other performance enhancing drugs and how the players they are connected with each other.

Sen. George Mitchell’s 409-page report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball describes a thriving underground market for steroids and human growth hormone. What began with just a few players and trainers expanded into a network of dozens, if not hundreds, of professional athletes. That network grew year by year as the players referred their friends and teammates.

Below, we present the findings of the Mitchell report as a social network. [Read more…]

Steroid Dealer Gets Probation for Helping Feds Catch Steroid Users

Kirk Radomski, steroid dealer to professional baseball players, avoided jail time when he received 5 years probation. He pleaded guilty to distributing anabolic steroids and money laundering charges in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. He cooperated closely with federal prosecutors, particularly with investigators involved with the Mitchell Report, in naming almost 30 current and former MLB baseball players to whom he sold performancing-enhancing drugs including anabolic steroids and growth hormone.

The customary practice for federal prosecutors is to prosecute dealers rather than users. In a reversal of this practice, Radomski was given leniency in exchange for his testimony against his clients (individual steroid users who happened to be professional athletes). [Read more…]

Abuses by the Justice Department in Mitchell Report Steroid Scandal

The $20 million dollar Mitchell Report on anabolic steroids in professional baseball relied largely on the testimony of two former baseball trainers, Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee. And the only reason the Mitchell Report contained such such evidence of steroid use by baseball players was because the Department of Justice forced Radomski and McNamee to cooperate with investigators from the Mitchell Report as a condition of their plea agreements. Was this an abuse of the government’s criminal powers? Was this legal? Was this ethical?
[Read more…]

Evidence of Steroid Use in Baseball

The Mitchell Report made some nice weekend reading; it was a good piece of investigative journalism on the history of steroid use in professional baseball.  I’ve offered my criticism of the Mitchell Report as being an overpriced review of secondary sources that was extensively documented elsewhere. But I must admit there was a good amount of primary source reporting in the testimony of Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee (thanks to the U.S. Justice Department).

The allegations and naming of specific baseball players was the sensationalistic information that the public eagerly consumed. Some news organizations dismissed all of this as “hearsay.” This is incorrect. Willamette law professor Jeffrey Standen offers an excellent clarification: [Read more…]