Rafael Palmeiro Suspended for Steroids Violation

Palmeiro Suspended for Steroids Violation (AP)

Rafael Palmeiro was suspended 10 days for violating Major League Baseball’s steroids policy Monday, nearly five months after the Baltimore Orioles first baseman emphatically told Congress that “I have never used steroids. Period.”

Palmeiro became the highest-profile player among the seven who have failed a test under the toughened major league policy that took effect in March, rules criticized by Congress as not being stringent enough.

In a conference call Monday, Palmeiro said he never intentionally took steroids and could not explain how the drugs got into his body. He also apologized and said would accept his punishment. “I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period,” he said. “Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program.”

The 40-year-old is the seventh player to test positive for steroids under the policy adopted earlier this year. Palmeiro doubled on July 15 to join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers.

Palmeiro said the arbitrator “did not find that I used a banned substance intentionally — in fact, he said he found my testimony to be compelling,” but still ruled that he needed to serve the suspension. Palmeiro wouldn’t go into the specifics but left the impression that the banned substance was contained in a supplement that was not prescribed.

Given that there had been no previous suspicion of Palmeiro as a steroids user (at least none of which I was aware) I’m inclined to believe him. Still, it’s rather embarrassing under the circumstances.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. talboito says:

    I believe Palmeiro was one of the players named by Conseco in his book.

    If there had been no previous suspicion he would never have been called before congress.

    You have wonder if this situation has any relation to Palmeiro’s pursuit of 500 HRs. Maybe he thought just one last jab to get by and got caught.

  2. Dimitrios Stathopoulos says:

    How long has be been doping? NO one knows, but he certainly went on record with a pretty emphatic statement that he never used. Now it looks like he is a user and we are supposed to take his word that he wasn’t a long time user.

    I say ban him from the Hall of Fame, because those hits and HR’s are a definate 1 ballot Hall of Fame entry. If Pete Rose can be banned for betting on baseball, the Palmeiro should be banned for cheating at baseball.

  3. jen says:

    Like James, I believe Palmeiro is not a user. That he took something that caused him to test positive is clear. That he knew it contained a banned substance is not. It’s sad.

  4. Dale says:

    Whether this is the first time or not he should be banned from baseball and his local DA ought to evaluate whether charges should be brought against him. He should also be indicted for lying to Congress.

    He is a professional baseball player. Being a professional he should hold himself to a higher standard at all times, on and off the field. He doesn’t like that then he needs to seek employment elsewhere.

    We in the military are considered to be professionals and are held to high standards at all times. If a service member uses drugs of any kind that service member will be out on his/her ear in a hearbeat. If that individual is lucky, he/she won’t be court-martialed first.

    That some snot nosed (insert a sport here) player can use drugs and be put in time out for 10 games is BS.

    I say that sports players should hold themselves to a higher standard and if they can’t do it themselves then the governing organization for that sport should hold them to a higher standard.

    Dale Cox
    Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps

  5. clint says:

    He was one of the people brought before congress.

  6. ICallMasICM says:

    He was named as a user by Canseco, who seems strangely believable now. Palmeiro’s first 30 home run season also coincidentally came the first year he played with Canseco. I guess that’s why he needed the Viagra.

  7. yeaton,r. says:

    If this were the first time Palmeiro was accused of using steroids, and he said it was unintentional, then his story would be more believable. But because Canseco included Raffy in his ‘tell all’ book, Palmeiro’s record is scarred, thru no fault of his own. I believe Palmeiro,that it was accidental. There are so many ingredients in supplements it could easily have been missed. However, he should have been more careful. Maybe this will be a lesson learned.

  8. ICallMasICM says:

    ‘But because Canseco included Raffy in his ‘tell all’ book, Palmeiro’s record is scarred, thru no fault of his own.’

    Sorry but this doesn’t make sense. When Raffi came up he was a line drive hitter who miraculously became a power hitter when he first teamed up with Canseco. Canseco named him and McGwire who was an acknowledged user of enhancers. I’d tend to believe more that McGwire and Canseco weren’t juicers than Raffi, Bonds and Giambi because they were always big power guys who didn’t so to speak ‘grow’ into it later in their careers.