Report: Sammy Sosa Failed 2003 Drug Test
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
The New York Times is reporting that baseball star Sammy Sosa tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug in 2003.
The 40-year-old Sosa is best known for his memorable duo with Mark McGwire in 1998 as they both chased baseball single season home run record.
NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
TOM GOLDMAN: The New York Times attributes the news about Sosa to lawyers with knowledge of the drug testing results from 2003. That was the year Major League Baseball conducted so-called survey testing, where they tested players for the first time with the promise of anonymity and without the threat of sanctions. One hundred and four Major Leaguers reportedly tested positive - Sosa, now, is said to be one of them.
Earlier this year, Sports Illustrated magazine reported that New York Yankee star Alex Rodriguez was one of the positives from 2003. Rodriguez ended up admitting he used banned steroids for several years.
Sammy Sosa appeared before Congress in 2005 at a special hearing on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Sosa, who can speak English, repeatedly claim that he couldn't understand questions and had his attorney, Jim Sharp, make the following statement:
Mr. JAMES SHARP (Lawyer): 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.
GOLDMAN: Sosa testified under oath and the alleged 2003 positive test could present legal problems. Sosa could be accused of lying to Congress.
In 1998, Sosa was part of the dramatic chase for the single season home run record with fellow slugger Mark McGwire. McGwire ultimately got the record, but the spirited duo between what appeared to be two friends engaged the nation and is credited with making baseball widely popular again after debilitating work stoppage several years before. McGwire, who also testified at the 2005 congressional hearing, has been linked to banned drug use as well.
Sosa is well known for his home run hop, his many years playing for the Chicago Cubs and his enthusiastic demeanor on the field.
The New York Times reports that a lawyer for Sosa declined comment about today's news as did an official with Major League Baseball.
Tom Goldman, NPR News.