Andy Pettitte’s statements on his use of HGH

14 02 2008

To go along with yesterday’s article on the congressional hearings with Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee about steroids in baseball, I have some quotes by Andy Pettitte, who is the most credible person in this case.  Pettitte seems like a good guy, from what I’ve heard, but he hasn’t always been completely honest when this topic first came up.  At least now he has started confessing his use of HGH.

Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that former Yankee Jason Grimsley told the feds that Andy Pettitte had used performance-enhancing drugs.  Here is Pettitte’s response to that allegation at that time :

“I haven’t done anything. I guess reports are saying I’ve used performance-enhancing drugs. I’ve never used any drugs to enhance my performance in baseball before. I don’t know what else to say except it’s embarrassing my name would be out there.”

But then what did he say this past December?  Let us look at that :

First, I would like to say that contrary to media reports, I have never used steroids. I have no idea why the media would say that I have used steroids, but they have done so repeatedly. This is hurtful to me and my family.

In 2002 I was injured. I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow. I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone. …

If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize. I accept responsibility for those two days. Everything else written or said about me knowingly using illegal drugs is nonsense, wrong and hurtful. I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried to live my life in a way that would be honorable. I wasn’t looking for an edge; I was looking to heal.

He does acknowledge that it was not against baseball’s rules in 2002.  However, it was against federal law.  HGH can be legally used only when prescribed by a physician to treat a disease or a medical condition authorized by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  So obviously it was an “error in judgment”.  And he says he was trying to be honorable, but is cheating to recover from an injury quicker less awful than cheating to gain muscle mass faster?  And he felt obligated to help the team, so that justified HGH?  I imagine the players using steroids could say the same thing, that they wanted to help their team win.  And let’s consider what HGH reportedly does : creating new muscle cells, reducing body fat, and strengthening bone mineralization.  That is some nice side-effects of recovering from injury, wouldn’t you say?

And he said, “If I have let down people that care about me, I am sorry”.  Well, of course he has — that’s why he’s making an apology!  What’s up with the caveats?

But the big thing is that he lied last year, so it’s harder to trust his current apology.  He wants to dig out of the hole he finds himself in, but he’s not making any progress with what many are calling a half-hearted apology (or more of a PR statement).

Now this week Pettitte has admitted that he took HGH again in 2004, to help recover from an injury.  He didn’t mention it before because his dad gave it to him, and he didn’t want to get his dad involved.

A former professional baseball player named F.P. Santangelo gave a more realistic apology.  Part of it said :

I did something absolutely wrong. I shouldn’t be made a hero. I made a bad decision against everything I believe.

I’m more inclined to believe him, because he put it all out on the table and acknowledged that he made a big mistake.  He’s accepting personal responsibility.  Pettitte’s apology sounds more like damage control.  But, then again, what does it really matter to me?  He is the one who has to live with the truth, if he’s not telling the whole truth.

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