Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mitchell Report Stuff

I'm trying to figure this whole thing out. The steroid thing is pretty cut and dry. Anabolic Steroids (the kind of steroids that athletes use) have been on the federal controlled substance list (meaning they are completely illegal).

HGH does not appear on that list.

You can get HGH legally from a doctor, sort of.

First, it should be mentioned that you can go online and purchase it without a problem. You can purchase it online without a prespricption in pill and spray formats (which many doctors say means it won't work at all either). Some places make you get a doctor's prescription but they are easy to get. Most of their clients are not athletes.

There are only a few completely legal reasons to prescribe HGH for someone, it is estimated that around 75% of the prescriptions written are not for those reasons. This includes clinics that are out there in the open. They are not hiding.

This is where it gets a bit more confusing. In the Mitchell Report it says "The use of HGH is a violation of federal law if not for an authorized purpose, even if with a prescription."

I could not find that anywhere in any law. It is illegal to distribute if not for one of those purposes. Despite it being illegal to distribute, which is not the players' issue, it is being distributed right now for these "illegal uses" out in the open.

5 years ago, well before we were talking about HGH, is it reasonable to say "I went to a clinic that openly advertises HGH for anti-aging, and I took it as it was not a banned substance in baseball or an illegal drug (on the controlled substance list."

In the past few years the laws have been getting a little harder on HGH, and of course it is now a banned substance.

Anybody who was an HGH person prior to 2005 when baseball banned it gets a free-ride in my eyes, including Andy Pettitte.

As far as the report on the whole, it's ridiculously weak, and in my opinion irresponsible. I don't think names should have been named, without a drug test to back up what people said. First it was unfair to the Yankees and Mets. Clearly there were many more people he didn't find out about, it just so happened the two people they were able to get speak were in the Yankee and Met clubhouses. By naming names it makes it seem that the people who were not named are innocent, as opposed to just him not having the source.

The Roger Clemens case Revisited

I think Clemens has a chance to clear is name. Clemens biggest problem in my eyes was he was a "steroids guy", not HGH according to the report. So if it is proven the report is true, you can punish him accordingly.

However, I'm not so sure about proving anything in the report is true, and if he decides to go all out, he can certainly make the case against him look rather weak.

Let's look at the timing. McNamee claims the first time Clemens approached him was in August of 1998. This was not exactly a time that Clemens needed a boost to his career. In 1997, he won the Pitching Triple Crown and his 4th Cy Young award.

In July of 1998 Clemens made 5 starts, going 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA.

Does that sound like a person about to play with performance enhancing drugs for the first time? How do you enhance that?

According to the report there is no knowledge of Clemens using after 1998 until the latter part of the 2000 season. His ERA going into August that year was 3.78 and ended the year at 3.70. Nothing conclusive one way or the other.

Then according to the report they didn't discuss it again until August of 2001. Through July of 2001, Clemens had a won-loss record of 15-1. Does that sound like a person who needs performance enhancers.

The report then says that McNamee never gave Clemens performance enhancing drugs after that. Those years that that includes are his All-Star year in 2003, Cy Young year in 2004, 1.87 ERA year in 2005.

Since he worked so closely with McNamee, it is reasonable to assume that he would not have been getting injections from other people other than him.

There is no proof (to this point) of Clemens buying steroids anywhere. Two of the three times he supposedly started using steroids was when he was perofming at his impressive peak. The timing makes no sense.

The timing of when McNamee talked poorly of Clemens does make sense though. He did so after Clemens fired him. McNamee was in trouble with the Feds. One way to get a reduced sentence is to give a name bigger than yours, he was mad at Clemens and could get a reduced sentence by creatiing this story. (I'm not actually saying he created it or not, but for Clemens' argument, it fits very well).

McNamee is not a sympatheic character as he has a lot of skeletons in his closet. In my opinion Clemens has a very good case against these claims as the timing of when he used makes little to no sense at all. There were other points in his career that he could have used a boost, but not at the points he supposedly used.

Also, according to this, he used it for about 6 months (2 months in 1998, 2 months in 2000, and 2 months in 2001) or a 24 year career. If there is nobody to back up McNamee's claims, Clemens should get out there and point out all of these things. He clearly won't have everybody believe him, but I bet he could turn around enough people to make sure his name is cleared enough for Hall of Fame purposes.

1 comment:

G said...

Here is the federal law on HGH distribution, use, and prescription.

"Prosecuting distribution of human growth hormone is different from virtually any other drug prosecution under the FDCA. Among other things, proof of interstate distribution of the drug is unnecessary. Additionally, the mens rea requirement for a felony is "knowing distribution" or "knowing possession with intent to distribute," not "intent to defraud or mislead."

Thus, prosecuting non-physicians for distributing human growth hormone is akin to prosecuting a narcotics case under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, establishing liability in such cases is simpler than for other FDCA offenses. This is particularly true because the only two authorized manufacturers of human growth hormone (Genentech and Eli Lilly) have both established stringent restrictions over the distribution of their products to ensure that only physicians can gain access to the drugs. Under the current restrictions, only hospital pharmacies can order the drug; local pharmacies cannot. Thus, most non-physician cases involving the distribution of human growth hormone will involve one of three scenarios: (1) diverted human growth hormone, obtained either through theft or via a drug-dealing physician; (2) smuggled human growth hormone; or (3) counterfeit human growth hormone.

Prosecuting a physician brings other considerations into play. Because section 333(f)(1) allows physicians to distribute human growth hormone in connection with either (1) "treatment of a disease" or (2) "other recognized medical condition" which has been authorized by the Secretary of Human Services, additional evidence is necessary to prove that a physician is a drug dealer. Obtaining such evidence can be difficult. Consideration should be given to attempting "controlled buys" using undercover agents or informants. Both search warrants and grand jury subpoenas for the physician's medical files will often need to be utilized. Of course, in so doing, care must be given to protect the bona fide privacy interests of any legitimate patients the physician might have."