Thursday, March 17, 2005
"Players that are guilty of taking steroids are not only cheaters — you are cowards," said Donald Hooton of Plano, Texas, whose son, Taylor, was 17 when he hanged himself in July 2003.
"You hide behind the skirts of your union, and with the help of management and your lawyers, you've made every effort to resist facing the public today," Hooton said.
Mark McGwire and other baseball players testified in front of Congress about steroids, today. Mark McGwire refused to admit or deny that he took steroids. Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro denied that they took steroids. McGwire became emotional and even cried a little bit as he described his situation.
"If a player answers, 'No,' he simply will not be believed," McGwire said. "If he answers, 'Yes,' he risks public scorn and endless government investigations."
Here's the problem with what McGwire had to say. What does he care if people believe his denials or not? If he did not use steroids, he should say so and be adamant about his assertions. If I was being wrongfully accused of cheating or engaging in illegal behavior I would protest as much as possible. In fact, I would welcome a public venue such as a Congressional hearing to maintain my integrity and fight for my reputation. It does not make any sense for Mark McGwire to refuse to deny he took steroids if he never took them. A person of his celebrity status knows he can't please everyone and there will always be naysayers and critical voices. However, when you are accused of being a fraud and the charges are false, you must defend yourself.
McGwire's refusal to maintain he had "clean hands" in the steroids scandal is a suspicious gambit.
ROME, Italy (AP) -- Premier Silvio Berlusconi came under fire Thursday, a day after he clarified his announcement that Italian troops could pull out of Iraq in September, saying the possible date was no more than a "hope."
Berlusconi said earlier this week that Italy could start gradually pulling out its 3,000-strong contingent in Iraq starting in September, if security conditions allowed. He specified Wednesday that he wasn't setting a fixed date but just expressing a hope, and insisted his alliance with the United States remained solid.
"In a serious country, heads of government cannot lend themselves to ambiguous announcements on issues that touch the life and death of so many human beings," leading analyst Franco Venturini wrote in Thursday's edition of the newspaper Corriere della Sera. "From these self-serving calculations, a country's foreign policy can only come out damaged in its current and future credibility," he said.
Some analysts have said that Berlusconi's remarks were made with an eye on key regional elections at the beginning of April, as well as on general elections scheduled for next year.Public opinion in Italy is strongly against the war and Italy's involvement, and the premier has been under increasing pressure to pull out the troops since the March 4 killing in Baghdad of an Italian intelligence agent who was escorting a recently released hostage to freedom. The agent was killed by U.S. troops, who mistakenly opened fire on his vehicle.
The opposition demanded that Berlusconi come to parliament to better explain Italy's position. "There's total confusion and Berlusconi is just doing propaganda," center-left leader Piero Fassino was quoted as saying in the daily La Repubblica on Thursday. "But all this is unworthy of a civilized country."
Berlusconi's first announcement on a possible conditional date came Tuesday evening during Italy's most popular political talk show and surprised many -- even some of his close political allies -- according to Italian media.