Congress reacts to Mitchell Report
Request that Selig, Fehr, Mitchell testify at hearing on Tuesday
WASHINGTON -- The release of the Mitchell Report on Thursday prompted members of Congress to quickly begin trying to find out more detailed information about the state of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs throughout Major League Baseball.
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee moved rapidly after the unveiling of the 311-page report -- guided by former Sen. George Mitchell -- that implicated 89 current or former players allegedly involved.
Congressmen Henry Waxman (D-Cal.) and Tom Davis (R-Va.) issued a joint statement requesting that Commissioner Bud Selig, Executive Director Donald Fehr of the Major League Baseball Players Association and Mitchell testify at a committee hearing next Tuesday.
Waxman is the committee chair while Davis serves as the ranking minority member, but both want to make some fast changes.
"We look forward to their testimony on whether the Mitchell Report's recommendations will be adopted and whether additional measures are needed," the statement said.
Congressman Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) is a senior member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and agreed with Waxman and Davis in saying that Major League Baseball should address this problem in a rapid manner.
"The Mitchell Report shows how pervasive a problem performance enhancing drugs have been in Major League Baseball," Shays said in a statement Thursday. "The common sense recommendations the report has laid out should be enacted as soon as possible. I am looking forward to seeing how serious they take this issue and how quickly they will implement these and other reforms."
Waxman, Davis and Shays all said, in each of their statements, that trying to find something positive out of this situation could be a benefit to all concerned.
"This is a sad day for Major League Baseball but a good day for integrity in sports," said the Waxman/Davis statement. "It's an important step towards the goal of eliminating the use of performance-enhancing substances."
This congressional committee has pushed much of the investigation of where steroids and the performance-enhancing drugs are in baseball, an item being looked at more and more closely for the past few years.
Much of it began in March of 2005 at a congressional hearing that looked into the use of steroids in baseball. That long hearing involved a number of well-known Major League players which ultimately helped spur the 21-month investigation that culminated in the Mitchell Report.
"It is my hope that Major League Baseball will approach the findings of the Mitchell Report with the seriousness that is warranted, and I urge the baseball players and players' union to cooperate with MLB management to implement the recommendations set forward in this report," said Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Drug Policy.
"Furthermore, it is my hope that all of the players who have received awards for performances that were enhanced by the use of drugs will immediately return the awards to MLB. The first step in restoring the reputation of baseball is taking all necessary actions to show players and fans that cheating will no longer be tolerated."
One part of the Waxman/Davis statement seemed to summarize the thoughts of the day.
"The Mitchell Report is sobering," it said. "It shows the use of steroids and human growth hormone has been and is a significant problem in Major League Baseball. And it shows that everyone involved in Major League Baseball bears some responsibility for this scandal."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.