ESPN SportsCenter Special Offers Comprehensive Coverage of Manny Ramirez News
ESPN’s SportsCenter Special (Thursday, May 7, at 3:30 p.m. ET), along with live coverage throughout the day across ESPN news and information outlets, offered thorough reaction to today’s news of Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez being suspended 50 games for violating Major League Baseball’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. Hosted by Karl Ravech, with analysts Peter Gammons, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian, Buster Olney, Steve Phillips and Eric Young, the 30-minute show included a phone interview with Dr. Gary Wadler (Clinical Associate Professor, NYU School of Medicine) describing the use and impact of taking hGC, the drug Ramirez allegedly used. The show also offered ESPN analysts’ immediate reaction to hearing the news, discussion on Ramirez’s Hall of Fame status, and impressions of Ramirez’s decision not to appeal the suspension.
ESPN investigative reporters T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada first reported that two sources identified the drug allegedly used by Ramirez as hCG – human chorionic gonadotropin. hCG is a women’s fertility drug which can be taken by steroid users to restart their body’s natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle.
Additional coverage will be provided during a 30-minute SportsCenter Special at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, along with Baseball Tonight at midnight (9 p.m. PT) on ESPN2. Reporting on the topic can also be found on ESPN.com, where Olney has written about zero tolerance.
Outtakes from phone interview with Dr. Wadler
Describing the use of hGC (human chorionic gonadotropin):
“It is used both legitimately and, obviously, illegitimately in a male. Legitimately, it can be used for infertility, delayed puberty or testosterone deficiency. In the world of doping, for example, it is used to basically counteract some of the negative side effects associated with anabolic steroid abuse…specifically, many of these steroids – particularly testosterone, when you take it – will result in your own body stopping the manufacture of testosterone and decreasing the manufacture of sperm. So as an individual is coming off a cycle of anabolic steroids, they try to reawaken their testicular function and will take a drug like hGC to do that…get their body back to where it was…”
On determining legitimate vs. illegitimate use:
“It should be, in my judgment, done by a completely independent body of experts…when you look at the medical evidence to see if there was legitimate medical need. If there is legitimate medical need, there is a procedure and policies to enable an individual to properly be treated without gaining any enhancements…”
Steve Phillips’ immediate impressions upon hearing the news:
“My first instinct was let’s wait and see what the explanation is because we saw with J.C. Romero, who is serving a 50-game suspension right now for the Philadelphia Phillies, that yes he did test positive, but there was some explanation for it. It wasn’t accepted and he’s still culpable for his decision, but it was at least somewhat excusable and he wasn’t doing it to cheat. My instinct was, he better have a good explanation and, at this point – from what we hear – there better be a doctor he could produce who could describe a symptom or some diagnosis that he was giving him the drug for…otherwise, it is going to be very difficult for him to explain.”
Peter Gammons on Ramirez’s decision not to appeal:
“The fact that he is not going to challenge it probably tells people there is a lot here. Unfortunately, the players haven’t earned the right to say to MLB, ‘We’re being treated unfairly.’”
Tim Kurkjian on Ramirez’s Hall of Fame credentials:
“This entire generation is going to be under a giant black cloud; not just now, but really for the rest of time. For the rest of time, there is going to be an imaginary asterisk over this period – right or wrong, because of the guys that have been involved. You could look down the road, 20 years from now, and it is possible that the top two home run hitters of all time and maybe seven of the top 13 home run hitters ever – plus the greatest living pitcher – will not be in the Hall of Fame because of what is going on right now.”
Buster Olney on Hall of Fame voting:
“I voted for Mark McGwire the last three years and I will vote for him going forward. I’m going to vote for Manny Ramirez. My feeling is, this was a very sport-wide problem and you can’t determine exactly who did what, so you basically set that question aside and just take the best players of the era and vote for them.”