This week, in a profile in Sports Illustrated, it was revealed that Sammy Sosa and the Cubs had arranged for the kind of public apology – regarding steroid/PED usage in his playing days – that would allow Sosa to come back into the Cubs family fold, per the Ricketts Family’s wishes, way back in 2014. Sosa then backed out.
Fast-forward to today, and Sosa has given a long interview to ESPN for E:60, which will air on Sunday at 8 am CT on ESPN.
In it, Sosa is asked about many things, but the one that will understandably get the headlines is his repeated denials, still to this day, about ever using performance-enhancing drugs.
Actually, I should clarify, because it seems Sosa was himself very careful in his denials.
“I never had a test positive in this country,” Sosa told ESPN, later saying, “I never missed any test at the Major League level,” and, “Once again, I never tested positive.”
Not quite the same as saying you never used any kind of performance-enhancing drug, right? To his credit, ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap pushed Sosa on that point, and Sosa did at one point flatly say that he never used performance-enhancing drugs … before quickly turning back to the line about not testing positive. When given one final opportunity to flatly deny, Sosa fell back on the “test positive” line.
When combined with everything we know about the era, about the numbers, about the physical changes, it is not altogether convincing.
See and judge for yourself in the clip:
It’s hard for me to watch that – even understanding the second language at play – and not see a guy who is clinging to a line he’s drawn in his mind, rather than fully disclosing everything that happened. And, for me, it’s such a shame, because if Sosa used PEDs at that time in the game, I would get over it quickly. I strongly suspect that he did, and I can let that go easily if he’d just say it. That was the era. Yes, I have even more sympathy for the players who were clean in that era and had to compete with some monstrous dudes, but I also have sympathy for the players who juiced at a time when the league was borderline encouraging it.
Just say the words. Maybe I don’t deserve that. Maybe the Ricketts Family doesn’t deserve that, either. But I’m just being honest – it would make me feel a lot better about truly moving past this all, and just enjoying my memories.