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LIVE FROM...

Congress Gathers All-Star Lineup for Baseball Steroids Hearings

Aired March 17, 2005 - 14:22   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Live pictures now inside -- you're actual looking at Bud Selig right now, commissioner of Major League Baseball, as he comes into the hearing room there. What you're looking at is Congress has opened up the baseball steroid hearings with pretty much of an all-star lineup.
We're going to be hearing from a number of big-league baseball players, in addition to Major League Baseball officials. Coming up next, you can see right here, we're going to hear from Curt Schilling, current Boston Red Sox player. And then via satellite, we're going to hear from Frank Thomas, current Chicago White Sox player.

Evidently, we've already seen him on the screen. So we're going to hear from him and Curt Schilling first as these congressional hearings begin on steroid use in baseball.

Let's listen in.

REP. TOM DAVIS (R-VA), GOVERNMENT REFORM CHAIRMAN: Our oversight, which begins but does not end today, can help break that cycle and convince the 500,000 high school students using steroids today that they're making a big mistake. But we can't do this alone. After all, there's a cause and effect here.

Steroid use becomes legitimized in large part because young people emulate star athletes. So it's going to take stars to combat stars.

Today, we're grateful that we have two pillars of the game of baseball ready, willing and able to take on that charge. We're taking this break in today's hearing to announce the creation of Zero Tolerance, the advisory committee on ending the use of performance- enhancing drugs in sports. While membership on this task force is evolving and names are sure to be added in coming days and weeks, it will initially be co-chaired by Curt Schilling and Frank Thomas, Mr. Waxman and myself.

Zero Tolerance will gather information, foster discussion, and provide recommendations to Congress on the next steps. We've invited the NFL, the NBA and the NHL to recommend participants to this panel since every professional sport needs to let young people know about the dangers of illegal steroid use.

We believe the profile Mr. Schilling and Mr. Thomas can lend to this committee will send a strong message in and of itself about the dangers of steroid use. We also believe that their input and leadership will be essential to putting the issue of steroid use at all levels of sports under the microscope.

Mr. Waxman.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I'm pleased to have Mr. Schilling here with us.

The reason that Mr. Schilling and Mr. Thomas were invited to be participants in this hearing today is because they have both been outspoken critics of steroid use by baseball players, for which I commend them. And I think it's so important that they have taken the position that they have. And I'm pleased that they are going to be testifying in one case, Mr. Thomas, by remote control, and Mr. Schilling here with us today.

I'm pleased that they are here. And announcing as well the fact that they will be part of an advisory group. This will serve a very, very important purpose as we move along to try to figure out how we can best stop steroid use by sports figures and, more importantly, the children who emulate them. So I want to commend both of them for their presence, willing to participate, and the committee that they are going to be part of.

Thank you.

DAVIS: Mr. Waxman, and before we start the formal hearing, again, Mr. Schilling and Mr. Thomas were invited today because they've been outspoken for their opposition to steroids in professional sports.

And Mr. Schilling, before you do your prepared testimony under oath, would you like to say anything?

OK. We're happy to have you as part of this. And we just want to say thank you very much.

And to Mr. Thomas, the same thing, thank you very much.

We'll be ready to move in with -- ready to bring in the next panel.

PHILLIPS: If you're just tuning in, you're watching live pictures right now of the congressional hearings that are now under way, addressing the issue of steroid use in Major League Baseball. Quite a powerful lineup, to say the least, of players, Major League Baseball's commissioner, former commissioner, a number of heavy hitters coming into the room now to get ready to testify.

Just moments ago -- you're seeing actually the second panel here of players and officials coming in. You can see Sammy Sosa there entering the room, of course the current Baltimore Oriole and former Chicago Cub.

Just moments ago, you saw Frank Thomas and Curt Schilling come into the room and sit down. And you heard it. As they began to open up the hearing, Representative Tom Davis, and also Representative Henry Waxman, announced that Curt Schilling, along with Frank Thomas, will now be the chairmen, all four of them, of a Zero Tolerance Committee task force that's going to address -- and now, of course, you're seeing Mark McGwire coming into the courtroom here, former Oakland athletic and St. Louis Cardinal, someone who has adamantly denied using steroids.

You'll remember when Jose Canseco recently came out with his book, he named a lot of these big-name players as individuals using steroids. They have denied that. They have shown up here now for this congressional hearing to give their testimony.

And speaking of Jose Canseco, you see him coming in right there. What's interesting is, Jose Canseco had asked that he not be able -- or that he not have to testify, even though he came out with this scathing book and gave a number of interviews on national television. But as you can see, he's in the courtroom. He will be testifying, along with these other ballplayers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Jose Canseco, the former member of the Oakland...

PHILLIPS: We're hearing now the introduction of the players and those on the panel. Let's go ahead and listen in for a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... former Chicago Cub, accompanied by his interpreter, Mrs. Patricia Rocelle (ph). And also Jim Sharp, who will be reading his opening statement.

Mr. Mark McGwire, former member of the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals; Mr. Rafael Palmeiro, current members of the Baltimore Orioles and former Texas Ranger; and Curt Schilling, current member of the Boston Red Sox. And we have Mr. Frank Thomas, the current member of the Chicago White Sox, appearing by video conference.

Mr. Canseco, we'll swear you in first if you'd rise with me and raise your right hand.

Do you solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Thank you.

(INAUDIBLE), do you wish to make an opening statement? OK.

We're going to just go down each one of you, make an opening statement, and then we'll open it up for questions.

JOSE CANSECO, FMR. MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: Sorry about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's fine. Thank you very much for being here.

CANSECO: Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, distinguished guests, my name is Jose Canseco, and for 17 years I played professional baseball. I am humbled by the opportunity to appear before you today. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that my athletic ability and love for America's game will lead me to this place and the subject that has brought me before this committee.

When I decided to write my life's story, I was aware that what I revealed about myself and the game I played for a majority of my life would create a stir in the athletic world. I did know that my revelations would reverberate in the halls of this chamber and in the hearts of so many.

My heart and condolences go out to those families who lost their children to use of steroids. Today I commit myself to doing everything possible to assist them in conveying to the youth of America the dangers that using steroids will bring. After this hearing, I would be happy to work with them in whatever way I can to help convey to the youth of America the message that steroid use is unnecessary to be a great athlete, and that they are harmful to use to those who take them.

When first contacted by the committee, I was willing to cooperate on all aspects of the investigation. Unlike others, I have never refused to appear before this committee and assist them in this endeavor. However, due to the fact I am on probation in Florida for events unrelated to baseball and steroid use, and due to clear evidence of the overzealous efforts of state prosecutors to make an example of me, I request immunity from this committee. I requested immunity from this committee. With immunity, I would be free to answer all questions posed to me without fear my testimony would affect my probation. Without immunity, I cannot.

DAVIS: Thank you very much.

CANSECO: It has been represented that this committee has been called to get to the bottom of steroid use in baseball. It has been said that this meeting is not about prosecution or individual use. If that were true, granting immunity to me should not be an issue. Although I have nothing to hide and although my answers to your questions will be helpful in resolving uncertainties and issues facing this committee, because of my fear of future prosecution for probation violations or other unrelated charges, I cannot be totally candid with this committee. I want to propriate or invoke the protections offered me by the fifth amendment.

This is unfortunate that a committee chose not to grant me this request, especially since I have been the only player, a member of baseball, who did not fight the request up here today. It is unfortunate the committee has made this decision, as it will not be able to fully investigate the steroid issue without all testimony and the issue will continue to plague the sport. Thank you for asking me to appear. I will try and answer every question that may be posed to me. Thank you.

DAVIS: Thank you very much. And Mr. Canseco, you are appearing voluntarily. And secondly, note that we did try to get immunity -- I talked with the attorney general about it. And we were unable to get it in the time schedules, unfortunately. But we thank you for your statement.

Mr. Sosa, you'll be next. Would you rise with me and raise your right hand as well as your attorney and your interpreter? Do you solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Thank you very much. If you have any opening statement, the committee would be happy to entertain it. Mr. Sharp, I understand you're going to read it for Mr. Sosa. You need to hit your button.

JIM SHARP, SOSA SPOKESMAN: Mr. Chairman...

DAVIS: Move it close to you there.

JIM SHARP: Congressman Waxman and members of the committee, my name is Jim Sharp, and I represent Mr. Sosa. And I appreciate the departure from the norm permitting me to read his statement.

DAVIS: Keep moving the microphone a little closer. There you go.

SHARP: How's that? Better? Statement of Mr. Sammy Sosa.

Good afternoon, members of the committee. I understand that people have said that steroids are a big problem in professional baseball and that it is trickling down to our children. I am here to offer my testimony in the hope that it will assist the committee in remedying this problem. I grew up in San Pedro in the Dominican republic with four brothers and two sisters. My father passed away when I was seven years old. We sold oranges and shined shoes to get by.

Early on, I displayed a talent for baseball and when I was 16, I left home and signed with the Texas Rangers. I played in the minor leagues for four years before I played in my first Major League game when I was 20 years old. Playing at that level is very difficult, especially for someone as young as I was. I had to fight for everything, and that meant working out harder than the next guy, lifting a few more reps than the last guy. It meant spending more time in the batting cages and less time in the clubs.

Everything I heard about steroids and human growth hormones is that they are very bad for you, even lethal. I would never put anything dangerous like that in my body, nor would I encourage other people to use illegal performance-enhancing drugs. To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything. I've not broken the laws of the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic. I have been tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.

I support testing professional athletes for illegal performance- enhancing drugs. Because rigorous testing is new to baseball, the initial reaction of many players was to bristle at the perceived invasion of privacy. But if more testing is what it takes to help clean up the sport, I'm behind it. In light of recent scandals and serious public health problems, we players need to commit to doing whatever it takes to regain our credibility as athletes and members of the community.

I do a lot of charity work for young people. I am genuinely committed to their welfare. I'm willing to work with you and the Congress as whole to educate kids and young athletes about these serious issues. Education, of course, starts in the home, but we baseball players can help by speaking out against the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. To the extent I can help in these efforts, I am anxious to do so. Thank you very much.

DAVIS: Thank you very much.

SHARP: If you'll indulge me at this point, he would just like to say a few words.

DAVIS: That would be fine. Just make sure the microphone's in front of him. Thank you, Mr. Sosa.

SAMMY SOSA, BALTIMORE ORIOLES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was back then in the room and I was watching the TV, the two families that lost the two kids. And it really shocked me. It break my heart. I want to send sympathy to those families that got to go through that situation. And, you know, the quicker we can resolve this problem in steroid, which is bad for kids, you know, I'm willing to work with you guys and do the best that I can to stop that. I just want to say that. Thank you very much.

DAVIS: Thank you very much. Mr. McGwire, welcome. You want to rise with me and raise your right hand? Do you solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Thank you. Mr. McGwire, thank you very much for being with us today.

MARK MCGWIRE, FMR. MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for having me. My name is Mark McGwire. I played the game of baseball since I was nine years old. I was privileged to be able to play 15 years in the Major Leagues. I even had the honor of representing my country in the 1984 Olympic baseball team. I love and respect our national pastime. I will do everything in my power to help the game, its players and fans.

First and foremost, my heart goes out to every parent whose son or daughter were victims of steroid use. I hope that these hearings can prevent other families from suffering. I admire the parents who had the courage to appear before the committee and warn the dangers of steroid use. My heart goes out to them.

When I was lucky enough to secure my last Major League contract, one of the first things I did was establish the foundation and donate $3 million of my own money to support abused children. I applaud the work of the committee in exposing this problem so that the dangers are clearly understood.

There has been a problem with steroid use in baseball. Like any sport where there is pressure to perform at the highest level, and there has been no testing to control performance-enhancing drugs, problems develop. It is a problem, and that needs to be addressed. Most importantly, every little leaguer, pony league, high school, college player needs to understand that performance-enhancing drugs of any kind can be dangerous.

I will use whatever influence and popularity that I have to discourage young athletes from taking any drug that is not recommended by a doctor. What I will not do, however, is participate in naming names and implicating my friends and teammates. I retired from baseball four years ago. I live a quiet life with my wife and children.

I've always been a team player. I have never been a person who spread rumors or said things about teammates that could hurt them. I do not sit in judgment of other players, whether it deals with their sexual preference, their marital problems or other personal habits, including whether or not they used chemical substance. That has never been my style, and I do not intend to change this just because the cameras are turned on, nor do I intend Mr. Canseco's book. It should be enough that you consider the source of the statements in the book and that many inconsistencies and contradictions have already been raised.

I have been advised that my testimony here could be used to harm friends and respected teammates, or that some ambitious prosecutor can use convicted criminals who would do and say anything to solve their own problems and create jeopardy for my friends. Asking me or any other player to answer questions about who took steroids in front of television cameras will not solve the problem.

If a player answers no, he simply will not be believed. If he answers yes, he risks public scorn and endless government investigations. My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family and myself. I intend to follow their advice.

It is my understanding the Major League Baseball and the Players Union have taken steps to address the steroid issue. If these policies need to be strengthened, I would support. I appreciate the difficult job you have as congressmen and congresswomen and will use this opportunity to dedicate myself to this problem.

I am directing my foundation to concentrate its efforts to educate children regarding dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. I am also offering to be spokesman for Major League Baseball and the Players Association to convince young athletes to avoid dangerous drugs of all sorts.

Thank you very much.

DAVIS: Thank you very much, Mr. McGwire. Mr. Palmeiro. Do you solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Thank you very much for being with us today.

PHILLIPS: You're watching live testimony there during the congressional hearings that have no begun addressing steroids in Major League Baseball. So far, we've heard from Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa. But pretty emotional testimony thus far from Mark McGwire, of course now retired. He was the heavy hitter for the Oakland Athletic and Saint Louis Cardinals.

Actually coming to tears at one point when he started talking about everything he's done for kids and the role model he's tried to be for kids, raising money for abused kids. And then it appeared when he started talking about the problems of steroids, he said, yes, it is a problem, it needs to be addressed. It is used, it's popular. But then, he said, I am not going to name names, I'm not going to implicate my teammates.

Let's go ahead and listen into Rafael Palmeiro real quickly here. We'll continue.

RAFAEL PALMEIRO, BALTIMORE ORIOLES: ... came to the United States after fleeing the communist tyranny that still reigns over my homeland of Cuba. We came seeking freedom, knowing that through hard work, discipline and dedication, my family and I could build a bright future in America.

Since arriving to this great country, I have tried to live every day of my life in a manner that I hope has typified the very embodiment of the American dream. I have gotten to play for three great organizations: the Chicago Cubs, the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles. And I have been blessed to do well in a profession I love.

That blessing has allowed me to work on projects and with charities in the communities where I live and play. As much as I have appreciated the accolades that have come with a successful career, I am just as honored to have worked with great organizations like the Make A Wish Foundation, Shoes for Orphan Souls, Malina Pope Home (ph) of Fort Worth.

The league and the Players Association recently agreed on a steroid policy that I hope will be the first stop to eradicating these substances from baseball. Congress should work with the league and the Players Association to make sure that the new policy now being put in place achieves the goal of stamping steroids out of the sport.

To the degree an individual player can be helpful, perhaps as an advocate to young people about the dangers of steroids, I hope you will call on us. I, for one, am ready to heed the call. Mr. Chairman, I think the task force is a great idea to send the right message to kids about steroids. If it is appropriate, I would like to serve with Mr. Schilling and Mr. Thomas. Thank you.

DAVIS: Thank you very much, Mr. Palmeiro. Mr. Schilling? Thank you very much. Do you solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

CURT SCHILLING, BOSTON RED SOX: Yes.

DAVIS: We have votes on. So if members feel they have to leave to go to vote and come back, we have three votes. I'm going to try to get these -- the testimony in of Mr. Schilling and Mr. Thomas and get over there. If we stay as a block, I think they'll hold the vote.

Mr. Schilling, you've been asked here today because you've been an outspoken opponent of steroid use in professional habits. And we're happy to see and it looks like we have some people that want to help you in that regard. And thank you very much.

SCHILLING: Thank you. Chairman Davis, Congressman Waxman, members of the committee and other distinguished guests and invitees. Nearly two weeks ago, I had the extreme honor of standing on the west lawn of the White House, alongside my teammates and other members of the Boston Red Sox world championship team to accept the congratulations of President Bush and vice president Cheney.

Following that, our team made a visit to Walter Reed Hospital here in Washington, D.C. During that visit, my teammates and I had the extreme honor of meeting and visiting with the heroic men and women serving this country's great armed forces. As a son of a man who served almost two decades in the United States Army as a member of the 101st airborne, with a brother who served in Vietnam, a cousin that served in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vincent (ph), and another cousin who recently finished his service in the United States Army as a member of the Rangers, Green Berets and finally the Delta Force, I think that visit, with absolutely no disrespect to our esteemed president and vice president, was the highlight of many our trips and some of our lives.

I believe that visit made my teammates and I aware of how fortunate we are to live in this country and how fortunate we are we were able to bring joy that afternoon to those courageous service people just because we were Major League baseball players.

Being a professional baseball player has put me in a position to try to bring awareness to certain issues and causes that affect so many people in our great country. For example, my recognition as a player has enabled me to bring an increase in awareness to the terrible disease known as ALS, also know as Lou Gehrig's disease, which afflicts some 30,000 Americans at any one time, and to act as an advocate to try to find a cure for the disease.

My position as a player, along with the dedication of my wife Shawnda (ph), a cancer survivor, has enabled the two of us to bring awareness to the terrible problem that is skin cancer or melanoma. Our foundation tries to educate young Americans on the dangers of exposure to the sun. In fact, at this moment, a bill has passed the ears on the Senate and is awaiting a vote by the House of Representatives that would mandate that all children be taught sun safety in school, the first such mandate anywhere in the United States.

My hope is that this hearing results in an increased awareness of steroids and their inherent danger to America's youth. I understand from the invitation I received to appear before this committee that my presence has been requested because I have been outspoken on this issue. I'm honored to be co-chairman on an advisory committee tasked with putting together recommendations on how to prevent steroid usage among young people. I recognize that professional athletes are role models for many of the youth in this country. Most athletes take this role very seriously and I hope through my appearance here that I'm conveying my seriousness and understanding of the issue. While I don't profess to have the medical expertise to adequately describe the dangers of steroid use, I do believe I have the expertise to comment on whether steroids are necessary to excel in athletics.

I think it is critical to convey to the youth who desire to excel in sports that steroids are not the answer, that steroids are not necessary in order to excel in any athletic event, and that success is achieved through hard work, dedication and perseverance.

I also hope that by being here, I can raise the level of awareness on several other fronts. First, I hope the committee recognizes the danger of possibly glorifying the so-called author scheduled to testify today or by indirectly assisting him to sell more books through his claim that what he was doing is good for this country or the game of baseball, a book which devotes hundreds of pages of glorifying steroid use and which contends that steroids use is justified and will be the norm in the country in several years is a disgrace, was written irresponsibly and sends the exactly the opposite message that needs to be sent to kids.

The allegations made in that book, the attempts to smear the names of players both past and present, having been made by one who, for years, vehemently denied steroid use, should be seen for what they are, an attempt to make money at the expense of others. I hope we come out of this proceeding that aware that we are dealing with, when we talk about that so-called author, and that we not create a buzz that results in young athletes buying the book and being mislead on the issues and dangers of steroids.

I must also tell you, members of the committee, that I hope that as result of this hearing, there is a better awareness of the steroid program recently implemented by Major League Baseball and its Players Association. That program, though certainly not perfect and I dare say there's no such thing as a perfect testing program, is a substantial step in the right direction that appears, from initial statistics, to be having the desired effect, that is, removing steroids from the game of the baseball.

Statistics have shown that from the 2003 to the 2004, the number of players using steroids in the Major Leagues has gone from five to seven percent to 1.7 percent. In fact, in yesterday's "New York Times," it was reported there were 96 positive tests during the 2003 testing period. In 2004, that number saw a dramatic decrease, as 12 players tested positive. I see that as progress. I see that as positive.

It troubles me when I hear the program being identified as a joke, a travesty, a program not designed to rid baseball of steroids. I think those numbers show this to be a meaningful program, one that is working and steroid usage is dropping. The Players Association, in an unprecedented move, reopened the collective bargaining agreement for the sole purpose of strengthening drug testing procedures and its penalties. You may view that reopening of an agreement as a non-issue or one of minimal consequences, but we didn't.

It appears that the main complaint about the current program resolves around the current penalties for being caught or failing a test. It is my view as a 19-year professional -- veteran of professional baseball that there will be no system of suspensions or discipline that can be implemented that will stand up to or match the agreement made by the players that positive test results will be made public, subjecting the player to public humiliation and labeling as a user or cheater.

Given the intense media coverage that now permeates professional sports, there is no doubt in my mind that any player who is caught after this program has been implemented will, for all intents and purposes, will have his career blacklisted forever. When a player's suspension is over, he may be able lose the label of a player who is under suspension, but I am convinced he will never lose the label of a steroid user.

While not a part of my original prepared statement, I think it is important to address the issue that has arisen with respect to the public disclosure of test results under the current testing program. It is my belief that the positive test results will be made public and it is a public disclosure, which constitutes the real (INAUDIBLE) assessing program, as far as I'm concerned.

When I learned, upon my arrival in Washington yesterday, that there was some question about public disclosure, I looked into the public disclosure issue because of my beliefs. Based on that, I'm still of the belief that positive test results will be made public. And I know for a fact that 98.3 percent of the players who tested clean want the results to be made public because they know the key to the elimination of steroids is a public recognition of who the cheaters are.

Members of the committee, do I believe steroids are being used by Major League Baseball players? Yes. Past and present testing says as much. Do I believe we should continue to test and monitor steroid usage in Major League Baseball? Absolutely. In fact, in that regard, I believe the message has been heard by players and that serious, positive, forward-thinking steps have been taken on the issue. I urge the committee to focus its efforts in that direction as well as and not dwell on what may have occurred in the past.

I also urge the committee to not make this process just about baseball. Steroids and supplement usage appears to not be a baseball problem, but a society problem. Everywhere you look, we are bombarded by advertising of supplements and feel-good medications. I urge you to evaluate the way in which these products are manufactured and more importantly, the way in which they were marketed.

If we are going to send a message to the young athlete and steroid use is bad and that steroids are not necessary to achieve success, you cannot allow the message to be drowned out by the manufacturers advertising to the contrary. If the government thought enough of American youth to rally against the tobacco industry and its advertising to our youth, why should the supplement industry be any different?

I cannot conclude my statement without expressing my admiration to the Hootens (ph) and the Girabaldis (ph) for appearing here today. And I extend my deepest sympathy to each of them for their loss. As a father of four children, I cannot begin to imagine the pain they must be suffering. To the Hootens and Girabaldis, I want to say this. Having been appointed as a co-chairman on the advisory committee, tasked with educating our youth about the dangers of steroids usage, I would welcome their input in helping the committee move forward.

Thank you for your attention. Thank you for the chance to speak.

DAVIS: Thank you very much, Mr. Schilling. Mr. Thomas, are you with us?

PHILLIPS: Boston Red Sox player Curt Schilling, just one of many Major League Baseball players testifying right now before Congress on steroid use in baseball. We're going to continue to hear from more players. We'll take a quick break. More LIVE FROM, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Right now you're lisping to Chicago White Sox player Frank Thomas via satellite. Via satellite -- actually, he's going to give his testimony in the congressional hearings here on steroid use in Major League Baseball. While we take a break, short break there as players and congressional leaders take a break, let's bring in our Larry Smith, who's obviously been following the testimony thus far.

Larry, so far we've heard from Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa. We're about to hear from Frank Thomas. The most compelling to this point, Mark McGwire, even building up tears, trying to fight them back, talking about how he values being a role model for children. But he also came forward and said, I know it's a problem, we've got to do something about it, but I'm not going to rat out my teammates. Basically giving it to Jose Canseco, that came out with this book. What's your take thus far?

LARRY SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that didn't surprise me that McGwire did that. Because I mean, Canseco came out in his book and said I often shot up McGwire with steroids, and he often shot me up. And then in interviews he's done with CBS and even with Wolf Blitzer yesterday, he then would say, here on CNN, well, it was once, it was twice, it was -- I mean, he's lost a lot of credibility right now in terms of what he is saying. And there's a feeling, I think, among baseball players and you're hearing it now and among some of the community, they admit that the policy they have now in place is -- it's overdue. They finally now have it in place. It's a start in the right direction to get there.

Critics of this policy, the baseball policy, still will say, hey, it's not enough. The Minor League policy is more severe than the Major League policy. It's stricter than Major League policy. And as well, it does not even test for human growth hormones. There's no blood testing in the new steroid policy. So it's a step in the right direction. I think the players admit this. Commissioner Selig feels the same way, as well. And some of the players feel a bit -- they're a little upset at Canseco, and you can understand why.

PHILLIPS: No doubt. I mean, almost, I would say -- one, two, three, four, five -- out of the five players, at least three mentioning the book and how it has no credibility. All right, Larry, we're going to talk some more. They're still in the recess. We're going to take a quick break and talk more steroids in baseball, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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