Paul  Weyrich
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The Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball, otherwise known as the "Mitchell Report," shocked much of the American public upon its release in December 2007. The Report, a result of former United States Senator George J. Mitchell's twenty-month investigation into the use of so-called performance-enhancing drugs in major league baseball, contained many names that few expected to see on the list, including Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, both pitchers. Clemens is a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, two more than any other pitcher, and is considered one of the greatest in baseball history.

Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig noted when the Report was released that those it named potentially would face disciplinary sanctions. Whether he acts remains to be seen. Many blame Selig for encouraging drug use in order to boost interest in the game after the lengthy strike in the mid-1990s.

Clemens, his reputation and achievements under question, may find it difficult to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, a significant blow considering how long he has been in the league and the many accolades he has won.

Such a punishment, however, proved insufficient for many over-eager politicians in Congress anxious to wring some publicity out of the Mitchell Report. On February 12 the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held the first of two hearings on the issue. The hearing was entitled "Myths and Facts about Human Growth Hormone, B12, and Other Substances" and included four witnesses - a deputy director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, an associate professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, a professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Virginia, and a medical doctor with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hospital for Joint Diseases. What does a professor of pediatrics have to do with steroids in professional baseball?

The following day the Committee held another hearing on the subject. This hearing was much more prominent because Clemens himself testified, as did his trainer, who leveled the accusations against him in the first place, as well as an investigator on former Senator Mitchell's staff. During the hearing Clemens stated he "never used anabolic steroids or human growth hormone," while his trainer maintained that he had.

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Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
 
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