David Ortiz addressed the media on Saturday regarding allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs, and both he and MLB Players Association general counsel Michael Weiner insisted that Ortiz never was told he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
“Nobody can tell me why I’m on the list,” Ortiz said. “[I bought] legal supplements and legal vitamins over the counter, but I never bought steroids or used steroids.
“I was one of the guys who got educated more about the situation when the [report] came out and I started paying more attention to it, but I never thought that buying supplements and vitamins would hurt [anybody].”
Ortiz and Weiner maintained that Ortiz could not respond to the allegations until he had the information necessary to defend himself, but because of the anonymous nature of the testing procedures, Ortiz still does not have sufficient information to determine what substance triggered his positive test.
“I met with Michael back in 2004, but I was never told that I tested positive for steroids,” Ortiz said. “We had a five-minute meeting, and it was a little confusing, but I was never told that I tested positive for steroids.”
Weiner reiterated comments he made in his statement prior to the news conference, insisting that it is impossible that all 104 players on the alleged 2003 list tested positive. He insisted that their names were never released to the commissioner’s office or the union, and that players such as Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were never told which substances triggered a positive test. That information was never released because the court ordered that the players involved in the testing procedures remain anonymous.
“We specifically told the players we don’t know how the government compiled that list,” Weiner said. “We don’t know why their names are on that list, and we don’t know whether they tested positive for steroids in 2003.
“We do know, based on the numbers, that it’s impossible that every person on that list of 104 could have been positive. The numbers just didn’t work. There are 104 names on the list. What we know…is that there were 83 confirmed positive results for 2003, because that was the number that crossed the five percent threshold and triggered additional testing.
“One hundred and four is the number of positive test results. It’s not necessarily the number of individual players.”
Weiner told the media that he plans to uphold the agreement between the court and the union, which stated that the players invovled in testing would remain anonymous.
Weiner also said that the MLBPA did not address the matter until now because he felt that the matter only required a response once names were repeatedly leaked from the list. Weiner added that he did not act when Alex Rodriguez‘s name was released in February because Weiner did not feel that the matter required an urgent response. He said that the issue warrented a response now because it threatened the integrity of the MLBPA and the league itself.
You can view Part I of Ortiz’s press conference below. To view all three parts, click here.
After the news conference, the Boston Red Sox released this statement concerning Ortiz:
The Players Association made clear in its public statement today that there are substantial uncertainties and ambiguity surrounding the list of 104 names from the 2003 survey test. Indeed, there is even uncertainty about the number of players on this 2003 government list, whether it is 104, 96, 83, or less. Many of those uncertainties apparently relate to the use of then-legal nutritional supplements that were not banned by Baseball.
David vigorously denied ever buying or using steroids. As important, Major League Baseball has informed us that David has been tested every year since the implementation of the MLB/MLBPA program in 2004 and, under the program, he has been tested 15 or more different times. We have been informed that, during this entire 6-year period (2004-2009), David has never tested positive for a steroid. Also during this period, David voluntarily submitted himself to the Olympic standard of drug tests administered in connection with the World Baseball Classics in 2006 and in 2009. We are informed he did not test positive for steroids under those tests either, and he participated actively in both international tournaments.
Last week, David said he would keep people informed after he personally looked into reports of his inclusion on the 2003 survey test. He has done so. David Ortiz is a team leader, and his contributions on the field and in the community have earned him respect and a special place in the hearts of Red Sox Nation.
We appreciate the attention given to this specific matter by the Players Association and the Office of the Commissioner. The Boston Red Sox continue to support all efforts to rid the game of steroids. We again salute Commissioner Selig for his staunch and continuing leadership in eradicating the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.
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