Matthews breaks silence, denies ever taking HGH
Posted: Wednesday March 14, 2007 2:06PM; Updated: Wednesday March 14, 2007 8:17PM
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Embattled Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. issued a strong statement on Wednesday morning, saying he has never taken HGH. In the statement, which was released through the Angels, Matthews explained why it took him 16 days to respond to reports linking him to the performance-enhancing drug.
"I don't condone the use of illegal drugs,'' Matthews said in the statement. "I support Mr. [Arte] Moreno's strong stand against them. I have never taken HGH -- during the 2004 season or any other time. Nobody has accused me of doing so, and no law enforcement authority has said I am a target of any investigation for doing so.''
Matthews' name was linked to an investigation into Internet sales of HGH in an SI.com report. The report said Matthews received a shipment of HGH in 2004. Matthews has come under fire for remaining silent since the report surfaced.
Matthews spoke to SI.com after releasing the statement, saying "I'm glad it's over and we'll go from there. I'm looking forward to starting the season with my teammates, new fans, new organization. It's going to be a fun year."
The Angels are considering Matthews' statement a major step forward. Barring something new coming out to tie Matthews to HGH usage, they are tabling any plans to discipline Matthews. The Angels have been asking Matthews to speak out for 16 days and were pleased with his statement denying usage. Angels owner Arte Moreno was not at Wednesday's game against the Giants and was not available for comment.
Angels general manager Bill Stoneman told the Associated Press he was glad Matthews finally addressed the issue and that he denied using HGH. "We're finding out at the same time you are," Stoneman said. "We're happy to find out that he's saying that he never used HGH. We're an organization that feels there isn't a place in our game for any of these illegal substances. He's denying he ever used something he was linked to."
"My feeling is that as long as this stuff is accurate in what it is and nothing else pops out at some point, we're fine," Stoneman said to the AP. "But again, the way it works in baseball is there is a policy between the owners and players that governs these things."
"Before saying anything publicly I wanted to make absolutely sure of my ground," Matthews said in the statement. "In particular, I needed to try to learn whether anybody in authority -- in or out of baseball -- felt they had reason to accuse me of anything with regard to HGH. If they did, I would have dealt with that. It has taken me, and those representing me, 16 days to make certain that's not the case. And that is why it has taken longer than I would have preferred to make a public statement."
A statement from Commissioner Bud Selig read as follows: "We are aware that Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. has made a statement today concerning allegations about Human Growth Hormone. At this point, my office is still investigating the matter in question and it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment on the substance of Mr. Matthews' statement.''