MADELEINE BRAND, host:
President Bush today weighed in on the baseball steroid scandal. He said baseball players and owners should take the Mitchell report seriously, but that it's also important not to jump to conclusions about the players' names. Some 85 players were named in the report from Senator George Mitchell yesterday. It was the result of a 20 month investigation into doping in the sport. Well, what does all this news about steroid use mean to the fans, especially for young fans?
Joining us now is Youth Radio's Nico Savidge. He's a 16-year-old senior at Berkeley High School in California.
Welcome to the program.
Mr. NICO SAVIDGE (Senior, Berkeley High School): Thanks for having me.
BRAND: What was your reaction when you heard it yesterday?
Mr. SAVIDGE: Well, my biggest reaction was to the name Miguel Tejada. He was an Oakland A's player. You know, it's my favorite team. And you know, Tejada was like my favorite player on the team. I was a big fan of his. I mean, I even still tried to follow him when he left the A's and went to the Baltimore Orioles. So to kind of like hear that this guy that, you know, you looked up to - and I know it's something that a lot of baseball fans were feeling after this came out - to hear that this guy that you really looked up to as a player was cheating, you know, and it's on the same level as Jose Canseco or Barry Bonds, it was kind of tough for me.
BRAND: Yeah. So does that make you look at baseball with sort of jaded eyes and think, well, anytime you go to a game, you're kind of wondering about the guys playing?
Mr. SAVIDGE: Right. And I think that's probably the worst byproduct of this whole steroid era, is that we don't get to be fans anymore. We can't just go to a baseball game, watch them hit a home run and say, you know, wow, you know, this is great. This is a great time and it's just a great sport and all of that. We don't get to do that anymore. That time is gone. Now we have to say, wow, that's great, but...
Mr. SAVIDGE: ...you know. Is he cheating? Is he using steroids, you know? It used to be that baseball was just baseball. You know, you went out and you played. And now there's the playing and then there's also this doping aspect.
BRAND: So what have you and your friends been talking about since this news broke?
Mr. SAVIDGE: Well, you know, like - I've got a friend who's kind of a, you know, Barry Bonds defender. So he's been able to getting pretty good now that, you know, some of my favorite players are coming under attack. And it's just kind of...
BRAND: Well, how does he defend Barry Bonds?
Mr. SAVIDGE: Well, you know, he basically says that it was kind of this whole steroid industry or the necessity, I guess you could say, of using steroids at this time, and that you can't really blame Barry, that - I think he sometimes tried to say that he - that Bonds doesn't knowingly used steroids, which is, you know, a big talking point for Bonds.
BRAND: Well, is it the feeling that well, okay, if everyone is going to do it, everyone is going to do it and let's just get over it?
Mr. SAVIDGE: That's what a lot of people have been trying to push, but I mean for me that - I don't quite buy that. I think that's not quite good enough when you're talking about breaking some of the biggest records in sports just because Jason Grimsley's doing it, or you know, some other player in the locker room is doing it.
BRAND: Senator Mitchell yesterday talked about the impact steroid use by professional players has on young people, on young athletes. And I'm wondering if you see that in your daily life. Do you see young athletes interested in using steroids?
Mr. SAVIDGE: Well, you know, I'm friends with a couple of athletes, and I don't think that they have ever used steroids. But they've told me that there is that temptation there. Who wouldn't take some pill that would just make you better at your job and make you better at what you do if that was the only thing that it did, you know? I think Senator Mitchell said something like three to six percent of high school athletes are using steroids. And I think a big part of that is because of the influence that Major League Baseball and other players have on them. You know, it's not something that's big or talked about a lot at my school, but you can see that there's that temptation there for people who want to take it to the next level.
BRAND: Nico, thank you.
Mr. SAVIDGE: Sure. Thanks for having me on.
BRAND: Nico Savidge is a 16-year-old high school senior at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California. He's also a reporter with Youth Radio.
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