The Donnelly Denial

Brendan Donnelly told the Boston Herald over the weekend that he should not have been named in the Mitchell Report:

In 2004, I was having multiple health issues and was concerned about not getting on the field fast enough. I made a phone call to (Kirk) Radomski about a substance called Anavar. Once I learned Anavar was classified as a steroid I realized that was not an option. That was the end of it. Yes, I called him. But I did not purchase or receive anything from him and have never taken Deca or Anavar. I fully support the current drug testing program put in place by Major League Baseball and agree with their efforts to widen the testing.

It’s not really a denial of all steroid usage per se, but it is interesting in that it confirms one postion of Mitchell’s report (that Donnelly called Radomski to ask about Anavar) while denying another (that Donnelly took Deca-Durabolin). I wonder if someone should tell these players that saying you support the testing program doesn’t really mean anything.

On a related note, while I’ve been generally supportive of the report and its findings (whuile recognizing the flaws it obviously contains), Tim Marchman’s piece in the New York Sun is a convincing argument against putting much stock in the report. Worth the read.

20 comments… add one
  • All I can think of is “Cops”.
    “Those drugs aren’t mine, officer, someone else must have planted them on me”
    “Uh, this isn’t my car, I have no idea how that bag of blow got into my small intestine into the glove compartment”
    etc. etc.

    SF December 17, 2007, 1:22 pm
  • scab + pine tar = hard to believe anything brendan says.

    sf rod December 17, 2007, 2:27 pm
  • I’ve not read really any of Marchman in the past, but that’s a pretty insightful column – pointing out that Mitchell’s conflict of interest goes far deeper than simply being on the Red Sox Board. Summarized by the money quote: “Corrupt in conception, inept in execution, this is in general a vile report.”
    I’ve generally thought that Selig was a pretty vile and corrupt Commissioner dating back to the contraction debacle in 2002, and I can only say that pretty much everything surrounding the authorization and release of Mitchell’s report has strengthened that belief.

    Mark (YF) December 17, 2007, 3:03 pm
  • I find Marchman’s article quite terrible, frankly. He starts off with a bang, calling into question Mitchell’s terrible conflicts, but that’s all you get, what we already knew. Nothing new. Ironically, Marchman offers nothing of substance, the exact charge he levels at Mitchell.
    This is an extended opinion piece, a diatribe, not interesting journalism.

    SF December 17, 2007, 3:25 pm
  • > Ironically, Marchman offers nothing of substance, the exact charge he levels at Mitchell
    I suppose. I did think the article fell apart at the end, but prior to that articulated some points very well, the multiple conflicts of interest as you mentioned, and also the the speculative statements in the report about percentages of players compromised that differ so vastly from his own findings, along with the use of lurid descriptions and retellings of known details in place of actual original work.

    attackgerbil December 17, 2007, 3:51 pm
  • This is an extended opinion piece, a diatribe, not interesting journalism.
    I don’t think it was intended to be anything but an extended opinion piece, though I wouldn’t call it a diatribe either. I agree, his points weaken the longer he writes (needed a better editor, I guess), but the first 2 pages especially make some salient points, particularly the fact that much of the report’s bulk is from previously reported items.
    I think there’s a good debate to be had about whether that was necessary. Mitchell would probably say he was asked to document the scope of the problem, and the previous reports are part of that record, even if he didn’t compile it.
    The more I look at the report, the more I think it does skew in favor of Selig and the owners while coming down heavily on the players and GMs. It’s not particularly fair in that respect, though I don’t think the treatment of the players is unfair by itself.
    Liekwise, I’ve agreed with naming the names on the basis of giving a specific context to the extent of the problem, but I do wonder why long-retired players were named, or so many of the journeymen no-names were in the report, particularly when the evidence in those cases was much flimsier than that against Clemens.
    Finally, the number-crunching is interesting to me. What evidence did Mitchell present that drug use was so widespread among the 5,000+ ballplayers to take the field between 1988 and 2007? I think it’s a good question Marchman asks, and I don’t think Mitchell provides a good answer. Essentially four separate rings netted about 80 players, give or take. If there were 20 major rings with the same average number of players involved iover the past 20 years, that’s a total of 400 players — or less than 10 percent.
    It’s an angle I’ve not seen expressed elsewhere.

    Paul SF December 17, 2007, 4:38 pm
  • The best op-eds I’ve seen have come from Jason Stark:
    First –
    http://tinyurl.com/ywsebn
    Really, what is the difference between Harrison and Pettitte? Identical cases. Very different responses. I’d love to see someone argue a distinction.
    Second –
    http://tinyurl.com/278qfj
    A nice lecture on the importance of corroborating evidence, especially when comparing Bonds and Clemens as well as other players like Donnelly and Roberts and even Gagne. It’s really too bad that Mitchell, and many here, never took Journalism 101.
    P.s., I agree on the Marchman numbers. Just goes to show how little the true case (prevalence of PEDs in baseball) was made in the “report”.

    Mike YF December 18, 2007, 10:35 am
  • Mike – Harrison was immediately suspended for 4 games. That’s equivalent to about 25 games for baseball. Do you think Pettitte should be suspended for something he did back in 2002?

    AndrewYF December 18, 2007, 11:13 am
  • > 4 games .. equivalent to 25 games
    More like 40, but good follow-up question.
    > It’s really too bad that Mitchell, and many here, never took Journalism 101
    Do you have sources to back up that statement?

    attackgerbil December 18, 2007, 12:22 pm
  • > what is the difference between Harrison and Pettitte?
    I can’t find where Harrison vehemently, publicly denied using HGH.

    attackgerbil December 18, 2007, 12:29 pm
  • Do you have sources to back up that statement?
    lol, AG. As someone who has not taken Journalism 101 (the course numbers went 100, 103, etc.) but knows a little bit about journalism, I’m curious why Mitchell needs to know anything about the profession while compiling an investigatory document, or why the commenters here need to know anything about journalism to comment on it. Also, as a point of fact, you’re very likely to learn anything about how to report on criminal matters in “Journalism 101.” That’s definitely second- and third-year stuff.
    Perhaps you meant Criminal Justice 101? Or Political Science 101?

    Paul SF December 18, 2007, 1:49 pm
  • Should say: “You’re NOT very likely”

    Paul SF December 18, 2007, 1:53 pm
  • > I’m curious why Mitchell needs to know anything about the profession while compiling an investigatory document
    And here’s another thing: many articles write about Mitchell as if he is some kind of dullard, out of his depth, and that he didn’t really have a clue what he was up to. Before a person equates his supposed lack of education and savvy to that of a first year liberal-arts major dipping their toes into the reporter pool at their junior college, it may be worth checking out Senator Mitchell’s pedigree.

    attackgerbil December 18, 2007, 2:13 pm
  • I should have said CV, not pedigree.

    attackgerbil December 18, 2007, 2:17 pm
  • Wow, you must not have paid attention in any journalism class.
    It has nothing to do with criminal proceedings. It has to do with how you report \”testimony\” as fact.
    Corroborative evidence equals at minimum, a second source.
    The problem is that Mitchell is a lawyer and politician. He knew he could print many things without being at too much risk, legally, of libel.
    Still, if one, and only one, player was named who isn\’t \”guilty\”, Mitchell is just as unethical as the players correctly named.

    Mike YF December 18, 2007, 2:51 pm
  • Still, if one, and only one, player was named who isn\’t \”guilty\”, Mitchell is just as unethical as the players correctly named.
    That’s a false equivalence.

    SF December 18, 2007, 2:59 pm
  • > Wow, you must not have paid attention in any journalism class.
    That’s a ridiculous statement and does nothing to promote any reasonable debate.
    > It has to do with how you report “testimony” as fact.
    The specific items in the testimony were not reported as fact. The testimony of witnesses was recorded. Many argue that the names in the testimony should have been redacted, but I’m not so sure.
    If one were to say that the general conclusions drawn by the report were unsupported by the evidence, I probably would agree.
    > The problem is that Mitchell is a lawyer and politician. He knew he could print many things without being at too much risk, legally, of libel.
    What are you talking about? Lawyers risk disbarment. Politicians risk loss of credibility and future appointment. He wasn’t at civil risk because MLB indemnified him.
    > Still, if one, and only one, player was named who isn’t “guilty”, Mitchell is just as unethical as the players correctly named.
    That is not at all logical.

    attackgerbil December 18, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • Wow, you must not have paid attention in any journalism class.
    Yup. You got me.

    Paul SF December 18, 2007, 3:25 pm
  • For those of you presuming guilt, suppose one player, just one, is truly innocent. How could they ever satisfy you that they are?
    See, that is the problem with uncorroborated gossip. There is no way to refute or prove it. It just sort of hangs there.
    Indeed, that is why in England, three-quarters of the players named, could not have been. There at least the burden of proof is on the one making the claims, not on the defendant.

    Mike YF December 18, 2007, 4:15 pm
  • I’m not so sure we want to model our libel laws on those of England, where there is essentially a presumption of guilt on the part of the publishing industry in libel cases.
    The chilling effect on responsible investigative journalism would be incalculable were we to adopt that country’s libel-friendly judicial codes. The U.S. is unique in the breadth and scope of freedoms granted to its press, and that has served it well for 218 years.
    Also, it is simply untrue to call Mitchell’s statements “uncorroberated gossip.” Along with being a redundant statement, I believe there was corroboration, however plausible or implausible, for every case.

    Paul SF December 18, 2007, 4:25 pm

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