Congressmen query MLB about Palmeiro

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Two congressmen asked Major League Baseball's commissioner, Bud Selig, to provide more details about the steroid testing that led to Rafael Palmeiro's 10-day suspension.

Rep. Cliff Stearns, the Florida Republican who introduced a bill to establish uniform drug programs in professional sports, and Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, wrote to Selig on Tuesday requesting information about Palmeiro's case.

The Baltimore Orioles' slugger was suspended Aug. 1 for failing a drug test.

"Commissioner Selig's been saying he has a strong drug policy and doesn't need Congress to interfere," Stearns said in a telephone interview from Florida. "We want to try and determine how to make our bill better, how it would be enforced, and what is the level of credibility that baseball and other sports have."

Palmeiro testified in March before another panel -- the House Government Reform Committee -- that he never used steroids. That panel is investigating whether Palmeiro committed perjury, and has Palmeiro's permission to obtain documents from Major League Baseball about that test.

In their letter, Stearns and Barton asked Selig eight questions:

* On what date were the drug tests administered?

* Who administered the drug tests and determined the results?

* On what date did those drug tests show a positive result?

* On what date was Palmeiro informed of the results of the drug tests?

* How much time elapsed between the date of the positive result and when those positive results were made public?

* Provide a timeline of the arbitration process, which Palmeiro said was involved in his case, from initiation to conclusion and whether this is consistent with the League's drug policy.

* Was this the first case in 2005 under the new program to be heard by an arbiter?

* Are there any conditions, further penalties, or obligations related to the positive drug test that are placed on Palmeiro after he serves his 10-day suspension?

"It appears the current penalties under the program will not deter even those players with the most to lose," the lawmakers wrote.

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