McGwire: ESPN Ignores Steroids, Brother’s Claim

In a story dated Feb. 22 and today, the excellent baseball writer Tim Kurkjian did an ESPN video and print piece on Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols. Remarkably, Kurkjian did not ask McGwire or Pujols about steroids or PEDs in print or on video.

Jay McGwire interviewed by Mike Fish on ESPN

Today ESPN.com posted a video and print piece by Mike Fish for Outside the Lines about McGwire’s brother Jay. Jay McGwire, who will release a book on Monday about his brother’s steroid use, states in the print story that Mark misled the public. Jay claimed to ESPN that his brother used the juice to not only heal injuries, but to aid on-field performance.

“[Mark] knows that he [was] getting stronger and bigger, come on,” Jay McGwire said during a series of interviews with ESPN. “He is coming across that it is only for health reasons [that he used the drugs], but he put on 30 pounds of lean muscle mass. That is why a lot of people don’t understand why he is not really coming out clean like that. Why not just admit it all? It is OK, everyone knows how powerful these drugs are.”

Mark has previously claimed he only used steroids to treat injuries as it pertained to getting back on the field.

Mark McGwire Tim Kurkjian Albert Pujols

So in pieces two days apart, ESPN produced a serious allegation from Mark McGwire’s brother about the former Cardinals slugger and an extensive piece on the same former player that included zero inquiries about that allegation or anything involving steroids.

I realize the Kurkjian piece went out before the Jay McGwire story hit air, and perhaps there was some miscommunication. But Jay McGwire’s book was released today, so I have to believe his ESPN interview had been scheduled for some time and was perhaps taped earlier in the week.

The bigger issue though is Kurkjian doing a long piece on McGwire and Pujols the first week of Spring Training and not mentioning steroids or PEDs once. I talked to a MLB baseball writer who is a Hall of Fame voter today and asked him about Kurkjian’s steroid-less story:

Look, we’re all going to have to move past the steroids stuff at some point. The fans don’t care. But I don’t think that was the time for a story like that. Later in the year, maybe. But not now. It’s too early. Though there are a lot of (baseball) beat guys who just want the (steroids) thing to go away as soon as possible.

The hitting conversation Kurkjian had on video with McGwire and Pujols was interesting as was the print piece. Kurkjian is one of the best baseball writers out there. But for a national ESPN baseball reporter to feature McGwire at this time without bringing up PEDs, especially juxtaposed against the ESPN Jay McGwire piece, was an error in judgement either by Kurkjian or ESPN editors.