I want to believe Matt Williams. I want to believe he purchased human growth hormone and steroids twice in 2002 to help in the healing of an ankle injury.
I want to believe he quit taking the drugs shortly thereafter because he didn’t like the effects they were having on his body.
But when it comes to steroids and athletes, how can we believe anything any of them say? We’ve been lied to so often our noses are growing.
Sadly, Williams’ explanation has the same implausible feel as the alternative theories offered up by cheats such as Floyd Landis, Ben Johnson, Rafael Palmeiro, Marion Jones and Barry Bonds.
Does that mean he’s lying?
But why should we believe he’s telling the truth, particularly when another Diamondback at the time, Jose Guillen, also bought thousands of dollars of steroids and HGH.
That’s a heck of a coincidence.
Let’s examine Williams’ defense.
He told the San Francisco Chronicle he purchased the drugs because a doctor advised him HGH would help his injured ankle.
OK, that’s reasonable.
But why were the drugs prescribed by a Florida dentist? The same dentist, by the way, who prescribed HGH for Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd and later had his license suspended for fraud and incompetence?
Either Williams was incredibly naive about what he was taking and who was giving it to him — the Bonds’ defense — or he knew precisely what he was doing.
Even more troubling is the revelation that Williams made three additional orders — totaling $11,000 — in 2004 and 2005 for HGH and syringes.
If what Williams says is true — that he didn’t like the side-effects in 2002 — then why was he purchasing drugs two and three years later?
Asked about that by the Chronicle, Williams refused comment.
His silence begs another question. If the HGH was legitimately prescribed and for a valid medical reason, why not say so?
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said, “Matt informed us that a doctor recommended its use to help heal his ankle injury. It was a substance that he was not familiar with at the time, and according to him, did not like its effects after sampling. He discontinued the use of it and retired the next season.”
Sounds reasonable, until you closely read the Chronicle story.
Williams didn’t just purchase a single “substance,” in 2002. He purchased an entire pharmacy: testosterone, cypionate, HGH, clomiphene, Novarel and nandrolone.
The medical definitions aren’t important. But this is:
Clomiphene, marketed as Clomid, is a masking agent used to conceal the presence of steroids.
If Williams did indeed buy the drugs to gain a competitive edge, I wish he’d come out and say so.
He might be condemned at first, but the public would accept his apology and move on, as it has with New York Yankees’ first baseman Jason Giambi.
Plus, it’s not as if Major League Baseball would ban him from the game. Commissioner Bud Selig already set a precedent by giving Giambi a pass after he came forward and confessed.
The Chronicle’s story has to be causing great consternation inside the Diamondbacks’ offices. Two members of their 2002 team have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
Will there be others? Will Sen. George Mitchell’s investigation into steroid use, due to be released later this year, implicate members of the 2001 World Series team?
All that’s at stake is reputations — and our memories.
Listen to Scott Bordow every Monday at 3:25 p.m. on The Fan (1060 AM) with Bob Kemp.