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At best, Canseco's motives are questionable

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Feb. 14, 2005 | ESPN.com's Major League Baseball coverage

I am deeply saddened by the story being told by Jose Canseco in his book. I have loved the game of baseball for many years.

I know that during my time coaching basketball, the use of steroids wasn't talked about. Maybe I'm naive — and I do try to look for the positives in everybody — but I haven't seen that stuff happening in basketball.

We don't know how much of it is true and how much is made up to sell copies of the book.
This story breaks my heart. I think back to the great moments of 1998, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were battling for the home-run title and vying for Roger Maris' record. America's love affair with baseball and the crowds in St. Louis were so special.

To think that could all be tainted now makes me sick. I hope and pray there is no validity to what Canseco is saying.

The locker room is a place of sanctity, and whatever happens between ballplayers is the business of those individuals. It's disappointing that a guy has an agenda to make money off his former teammates with a book.

I believe some things that have been said are accurate, but I wonder about other statements. We don't know exactly what happened and how much of it is true and how much is made up to sell copies of the book. I feel that some of the details give Canseco some validity. Some statements, though, are dramatically drawn out to sell books.

This will be Canseco's last hurrah, and what's really sad is that we're talking about a guy who should have been in the Hall of Fame.

Had Canseco taken care of his body and performed to his ability, he wouldn't have fallen 38 home runs shy of the magical 500 mark that almost automatically means induction to Cooperstown. Many feel he took days off on the field.

Now he is a Hall of Shamer.

If some or many of Canseco's statements are not valid, it's a shame to see so many innocent lives damaged by these allegations. It isn't right to bring so many people down on suspicions. This glorifies a negative situation. Only the people who were involved know the truth.

When you come out and say that you were injecting people with steroids ... it sounds hard to believe, if you ask me.

The whole situation is sad. Now baseball has another black eye to deal with. Hopefully, a lot of young people will learn from this. I hope something positive comes out of this negative situation.

P.S. To end this soap opera, let's invite Canseco, McGwire and the players implicated to take a lie-detector test. Administer the test on "SportsCenter" and have a professional give the test and then air the results.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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