Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Federal Steroids Probe Sweeps in Grimsley, Coffee Pots

Gosh, who knew pitchers used steroids too! According to an affidavit filed by lead G-Man Jeff Novitzky in federal court, Grimsley has admitted to using Human Growth Hormone, amphetamines, and other performance-enhancing substances. In the affidavit, Grimsley also "names names" of other users (although those names have yet to be released--they were blacked out in court records).

Grimsley also stated that amphetamines were available "like aspirin" in MLB clubhouses, and were often mixed in with coffee. Pots marked "leaded" apparently included the drugs, while "unleaded" pots constituted normal coffee. I guess de-caf wasn't an option.

The Arizona Republic broke this story yesterday. Grimsley apparently received a kit of HGH at home on April 19, prompting his confrontation with the Feds. This tends to reinforce the idea that MLB's "get tough" policy on substances contains a rather large loophole by not including testing for HGH.

: Thanks to Satchmo for pointing me to Novitsky's affidavit, which you can find here.


Azcentral has the pdf of the affidavit available -

I've just skimmed it, but a few questions

1) Why on page 3 does it only look for documents and items (#3, #4, #5, #6) dated after 1/1/2000? Do they think Grimsley was using or had more contact with using players after that date? The first part of p 13 of the pdf indicates otherwise although the use of Deca was post-2000.

2) Since they pretty much caught Grimsley red-handed, why would he stop cooperating now?

3) What should we make of Grimsley's statements about Latin players being a good source for amphetamines?

4) What should we make of Grimsley's statement that California teams have easier access due to proximity to Mexico? He was only an Angel for a short period of time...

Blogger Satchmo -- 6/07/2006 10:22 AM  

General Query: Why in the world have the feds not gone after the competitive bodybuilding community? I mean it would be the end of that "sport" entirely.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 6/07/2006 9:29 PM  

"General Query: Why in the world have the feds not gone after the competitive bodybuilding community? I mean it would be the end of that "sport" entirely."

My best answer is that it's because the "sport" of competitive bodybuilding doesn't compare to mainstream sports such as baseball in terms of dollars and publicity.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 6/07/2006 9:56 PM  

Satchmo, thanks for the link (I'm adding it to the main post).

With respect to your first question (why only look for docs dated after 1/1/2000), the statute of limitations for most common tax offenses is six year. So the IRS agents are looking only for documents that could be the basis of a valid, non-limited action.

As for the quesiton about Grimsley's "Latin players" comment, that struck me as quite odd too. I think we are to conclude that Grimsley is not just a cheater and a user, but also a racist!

Blogger Geoffrey Rapp -- 6/08/2006 12:23 AM  

I think the "Latin Players" as they are described in the PDF file will be much happier if they remain known as "Latin Players" rather than use the real name. The guy was probably as vague as possible when they allowed it.

Doesn't necessarily make him a racist. Maybe he is, but I wouldn't be quite so quick to call him one; that's a pretty strong word to throw out just from reading a paragraph that he didn't write.

Anonymous cj -- 6/08/2006 1:18 AM  

I would hate to disparage such an upright paragon of virtue.

He may not have written the paragraph, but those are "his words." Certainly true that the particularly guilty "Latin players" may prefer to be identified only by group affiliation, but how can he not be considered a racist for making a claim that "Latin players," as a group, were the best to go for to get the juice? My guess is that Latin players would say one should go to Grimsely

Blogger Geoffrey Rapp -- 6/08/2006 11:00 AM  

And now Deadspin tells us that one of the redacted names, the one who gave Grimsley the name of someone to get amphetamines and then HGH from, is possibly Chris Mihlfeld, who is also Albert Pujols' personal trainer. Mihlfeld has been Pujols' personal trainer for about 7 years.

It doesn't mean Pujols is guilty, but . . . yikes. That's not a good association. Sorry if this isn't sports law related - after all, no one knows if Pujols is involved, or if the redacted name really is Miehfeld's.

Still, I'd be devastated if Pujols was implicated. For some reason, perhaps irrationally so, I had always figured that he was clean.

Blogger Satchmo -- 6/08/2006 10:47 PM  

I don't think saying the Latin players have the goods is an example of racism.

I don't think it is a statement about race or ethnic background at all. I think it is a statement about hispanic major league baseball players and the sources of drugs Grimsley has seen in the sport.

In the name of generating more controversy I don't think we ought to expansively interpret his statement as casting aspersions on hispanics generally. In other words, we should not interpret his statement to mean that hispanics in the United States are more likely to be a source of illicit substances, or that drug use is somehow attributable to that race or ethic background.

However, would it really be shocking if the foreign-born hispanic players were found to be the best sources of illegal drugs in major league baseball? Now, before you call me a racist, consider that the U.S. government maintains a list of the "majors" -- i.e., the countries that are the biggest sources of illegal drugs in the U.S.

The latest list I found was fall 2004: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and Vietnam. The other central american countries are listed as "regions of concern."

Notice anything? How many ballplayers are from Afghanistan, Burma, China, Haiti, India, Laos, Nigeria, Pakistan and Vietnam that would still "know someone" back home?

I'm willing to view any government report with a healthy skepticism (particularly in this administration). The report also does not identify what percentage of illegal drugs in the U.S. come from outside the U.S. As a country, we have a habit of blaming someone else. I don't present the report as definitive.

I approached it another way too. In 2005, there were 12 suspensions in major league baseball for steroid use. Here's the list: Alex Sanchez, Jorge Piedra, Agustin Montero, Jamal Strong, Juan Rincon, Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Palmeiro, Ryan Franklin, Mike Morse, Carlos Almanzar, Felix Heredia and Matt Lawton.

Seven of the 12 are foreign born hispanic players (Piedra was born in California). Of course this is a users list, not a suppliers list. It also represents only 12 people who got caught.

Let me emphasize that I am not saying hispanic players are the source of the drug problem in baseball. I am saying, however, that it wouldn't shock me if the foreign-born hispanic players were better sources than the players from other countries; and that we shouldn't be so quick to jump on Grimsley's statement and call it racist.

Anyone read Canseco's book? I'd be curious if he comments on hispanic players as sources.

Blogger ChapelHeel -- 6/09/2006 11:48 AM  

Question: Can Congress pass a law that would withstand judicial scrutiny that makes some, or all, labor law protection available to unions only if the management-labor agreement incorporates (upon a request by management) that blood testing procedures set forth in Federal Regulations.

Blogger Jennifer -- 6/09/2006 4:46 PM  

It scares me that a Harvard grad, Yale Law School grad, Law Professor would say this. How could you possibly come to the conclusion a guy is racist by that little amount of info. Saying 'Latin Player' is not racist. Unless you are going on something more than the paragraph from that PDF, that is a pretty skimpy amount of info to draw such a strong conclusion. One of the previous posts did a pretty good job of showing the possibility that maybe he was just telling the truth.

Calling someone racist is a very strong statement. It's not on the same level as saying someone eats a lot, must like movies, or is a poor reader (just examples of things that wouldn't matter)'s serious and I sure hope you have a little more info to say something like that.

I'd say calling Grimsley racist on that little amount of info is about the same... as me saying you must be ultra-sensitive OR maybe just haven't known any Latin/Hispanic people and assumed the word Latin is a racial slur. Of course, I wouldn't do that b/c I don't have enough info, but it's wouldn't be much different.

So maybe you could explain what exactly makes his comments racist? That would help.

Quoted>>> I would hate to disparage such an upright paragon of virtue.

He may not have written the paragraph, but those are "his words." Certainly true that the particularly guilty "Latin players" may prefer to be identified only by group affiliation, but how can he not be considered a racist for making a claim that "Latin players," as a group, were the best to go for to get the juice? My guess is that Latin players would say one should go to Grimsely

Anonymous cj -- 6/09/2006 9:17 PM  

Grimsley may or may not be a racist. His comment about Latin players was a racist comment. Part of the problem here is that there is no universal definition of racism. CJ and ChapelHeel seem to come from the perspective that to be racist, or to make a racist comment, one must have a "dark heart" and believe less of the racial group one is disparaging. If that is the standard for racism, then no, Grimsley's comment is not, in itself, evidence of a racist. In fact, I quite imagine he appreciated the abundence of "Latin player" connections to get his various performance enhancing fixes.

But under a different view of racism, I think his comment about Latin players certainly is racist. Racist, under this alternative definition, means assuming something about someone because of their membership in a racial or ethnic group. That, to me, is exactly what saying "Latin players are the best source of drugs" does. Consider this: What is a "Latin player"? You might have some image that pops into mind when you read that term. But isn't that image itself the product of a stereotype, cobbled together impressions that mean nothing? A player from Puerto Rico (a US territory), a black Cuban, or a European Mexican player all likely fall into that stereotype (perhaps even a domestic born Latino, like Nomar Garciaparra). Yet these individuals have less in common with each other than some of them do with a white, upper middle class travel-league player from the suburbs. Any category unified only by the fact that its members' last names have their roots on the Iberian peninsula unnecessarily (and unfairly) sweeps in far too many far too diverse players.

That said, it doesn't really matter anyway. Grimsley's not (going to be) on trial for racism. He's got other things to worry about, and his reputation isn't (or shouldn't be) first on the list.

Blogger Geoffrey Rapp -- 6/10/2006 2:26 PM  

Post a Comment