On the eve of the release of a congressional report on whether Rafael Palmeiro lied when he denied under oath that he'd ever used steroids, the slugger finally came clean with an explanation.
Jabbing his finger, Palmeiro said "I have never had sex with a pair of Carolina Panthers cheerleaders in the restroom of a Tampa nightclub. Period."
No, wait, that's not right.
Palmeiro told a congressional committee in March that he'd "never used steroids. Period." He jabbed his finger at the lawmakers as he said this, which, as Bill Clinton taught us, is a sure sign of lying.
On Aug. 1 he was suspended after testing positive for steroids. Two days later, House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., said the committee would investigate whether Palmeiro lied under oath.
With that report due Thursday, Palmeiro released a statement through his lawyer that said -- nothing.
Actually it contained quite a bit of stuff. The Baltimore Orioles might want to use it to make the outfield grass grow at Camden Yards. But there was no explanation of anything.
Palmeiro said he's been cooperating with the investigation into his positive test since May "because I have nothing to hide." He said, "Now that the House Government Reform Committee is finishing its work, I will address the facts as I have always said I wanted to do."
And then he repeated the cockamamie story that, according to an anonymous source, he'd told to baseball investigators during the hearing on his appeal of the suspension back in May.
"I have never intentionally taken steroids," Palmeiro said in the statement. "But I must also acknowledge that Stanozolol, a banned substance, was found in my system in May. Although I do not know how this substance came into my body, it is possible that a shot of vitamin B-12 I took sometime in April might have been the cause."
The source told reporters that Palmeiro said he'd gotten the shot from Miguel Tejada. But in September baseball cleared Tejada, saying the B-12 shot he gave Palmeiro was, in fact, nothing but B-12.
"They tested the stuff Miggy had and found out it was B-12 and cleared it and that's the end of the story," Orioles executive Jim Beattie said at the time.
Not for Palmeiro. He's sticking to that story. Thank goodness he was finally able to come clean.
"I am not trying to hold others responsible," this statement said. "I was careless in not seeking a doctor's advice and made a foolish mistake."
Actually, what Palmeiro was careless about was in not using the last three months to cook up a better excuse than "I must have gotten it from that tainted B-12 shot that was found to be not tainted."
Palmeiro says that his suspension taints his entire career. "For this," he says, "I alone take full responsibility."
As long as we understand that it's not his fault, that the only logical explanation for his failed test was that the steroid fairy kissed him on the cheek.
And speaking of kissing, those Panthers cheerleaders who were arrested following a bar fight last weekend are now denying reports that they were having sex with each other in a bathroom stall. The fight broke out after other customers complained that they'd been in there too long.
I've been studiously avoiding this subject all week in an effort to clean this joint up a little.
The cheerleaders, who are now ex-cheerleaders because the Panthers kicked them off the team -- here's where you can insert a Minnesota Vikings sex boat joke, if you'd like, but I took an oath -- have been charged with various crimes stemming from the incident.
They're due to release a statement through their lawyers today taking full responsibility while hinting that the whole thing must have been Miguel Tejada's fault.
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Thanks, opening night crowds [PERMALINK]
Just a funny little very early stat from the middle of an NBA attendance report on ESPN.com.
Average home attendance, through Wednesday:
6. Atlanta 19,523
7. L.A. Lakers 18,997
8. N.O./Oklahoma City 18,835
10. Golden State 18,522
At the end of last year, those four teams looked like this:
7. L.A. Lakers 18,792
22. Golden State 16,350
28. Atlanta 14,456
30. New Orleans 14,221
That's it. Move along.
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Really? What gave it away? [PERMALINK]
Headline on the Canadian Web site Slam Sports, on a Toronto Sun story about Vitali Klitschko retiring:
"Boxing's glory days all but over."
I like those Klitschko brothers. I enjoy a fighter with an advanced degree. But if Vitali Klitschko retiring has a negative effect on the quality of boxing, the glory days aren't just over, they're dead, eulogized, buried, forgotten, disinterred because the cemetery's being moved to make way for a megamall, buried and forgotten again.
I'm 42 years old, and there were times in my sports-watching life when Vitali Klitschko would not have been a legitimate top-10 heavyweight contender, though he would have been ranked anyway because he's big and white.
All but over indeed.
Previous column: Apology, T.O.-style
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