Although the baseball scandal that engulfed the summer of 2013 has dissipated some, that doesn’t mean the issue of Human Growth Hormone in professional baseball has faded. In fact, it’s becoming clear that many more players than we know have taken Human Growth Hormone during their professional careers, for performance enhancement or injury recovery. New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, who is retiring from the sport, is that latest to bring his use of HGH into the public spotlight, only his admission comes as he expresses his regret over his decision to dope.
Way back in 2007, there was a scandal in professional baseball regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs. Sound familiar? It should when it becomes clear that this past summer’s media frenzy over the suspension of numerous players, including Alex Rodriguez, was an echo of a previous scandal. The scandal in 2007 involved a player who used to be one of baseball’s biggest stars: Roger Clemens. At the time, the Mitchell Report was released, detailing the long history of doping in baseball. In the report, Roger Clemens was named as another player who doped, and the story dragged on all the way until last year, 2012, when Clemens was indicted on perjury and obstruction of Congress charges and was ultimately acquitted on all counts.
Andy Pettitte was also named in the 2007 Mitchell Report. He has admitted that he used Human Growth Hormone twice during his career, once in 2002 and again in 2004. He also testified during Clemens trial last year, and may become involved in the deposition for the lawsuit his and Clemens’ former trainer Brian MacNamee filed against Clemens. As he makes his exit from America’s Game this year, Pettitte openly expresses his regret over his use of HGH, emphasizing that he does not want to be remembered as a cheater. His concern is for baseball’s up-and-comers, who may think it’s okay to use performance enhancers because so many of their idols have admitted to using them.
Pettitte did not have to deal with a high-profile mess over his doping like Alez Rodriguez, or Lance Armstrong did, but it seems to have made enough of an impact on him that he felt the need to address the issue as he made his final exit from the sport. How many more pro ballers will follow in his footsteps and discuss their previously secret use of a substance that is banned? Or will it take mandatory testing to bring the true depths of this issue to light?