Matt Hurst at the Riverside Press-Enterprise was the first to report last night that Gary Matthews Jr. has retained noted attorney Robert Shapiro. He reported Shapiro’s official statement:
I have met with Gary Matthews Jr., whom I believe is a terrific young man, and I am firmly convinced that he has not violated any laws or any rules established by Major League Baseball.
Gary wishes to cooperate with Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Angels and any other investigative agency that may look into this matter. He is eager to tell his side of the story and looks forward to providing a statement once all investigations into the matter have been completed.
However, it is my long standing policy not to allow clients to comment while an investigation is ongoing. To do so would be inappropriate and I believe irresponsible.
Hurst also reported Angels owner Arte Moreno’s official statement:
The Angels and I have long been committed to eliminating the use of performance enhancing substances from the game of baseball. We have fully supported the adoption and implementation of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player’s Association’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
We have routinely educated our players about the dangers of performance enhancing substances and strongly encouraged players to avoid their use. Recently, our organization has supported the investigation initiated by Commissioner Bud Selig and conducted by Senator George Mitchell into the use of performance enhancing substances in baseball, has cooperated with that investigation, and will continue to cooperate with that investigation.
This week, the Angels and I were disappointed to learn that the name of one of our players, Gary Matthews Jr., has been allegedly associated with an investigation into the sale of performance enhancing substances by an internet pharmacy in Florida.
Both the Angels and I have strongly encouraged Gary to cooperate with any authority investigating this matter. Specifically, the Angels have asked him to come forward and fully answer all questions surrounding the recent allegations against him. The organization continues to expect that this matter will come to a quick conclusion.
These recent revelations continue to highlight that baseball and all other sports must continue to directly address the issue of performance enhancing substances. There is no place in baseball for such substances, and we have and will continue to do what we can to eliminate them from the game.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times columnist J.A. Adande urges Matthews to tell all, never mind that it might compromise his legal rights. Funny how some folk urge a person to “do the right thing” when such advice seems more likely to sell papers than to serve the person’s interest.
I watched once again Billy Crystal’s 61* the other night, his film about how Roger Maris was so mistreated by the New York press as he chased Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1961. By no means is Matthews’ situation comparable to Maris’, but the current feeding frenzy surrounding Matthews is eerily reminiscent.
We know nothing other than an order of Genotropin was shipped to Matthews in August 2004, according to SI.com. This report has been bloated by some into the allegation that Matthews’ anomalous 2006 season was due to rampant steroid use.
Innocent people retain legal representation all the time to defend themselves. I’m not saying that Matthews is completely innocent, but the bedrock of American law is that a person is innocent until proven guilty, and that an accused has a right to expert legal representation.
It’s time for the hysteria to subside and allow the legal process to take its course. The press have their responsibility to report the news, and have as much right as anyone to express an opinion, but asking a person to give up his legal rights just won’t get far with me.
I’ll take Mr. Adande more seriously after he writes a column revealing all the skeletons in his closet. After all, he owes it to his profession so we can rid the journalism field of any taint of scandal, right?
But I’m not holding my breath waiting for Mr. Adande’s hypocrisy to resolve itself.
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