Nitkowski: McNamee wasn't a pusher
Posted: Friday December 14, 2007 12:54AM; Updated: Friday December 14, 2007 2:01AM
Former major league reliever C.J. Nitkowski, a longtime client of baseball trainer Brian McNamee, said that after he "strongly considered'' resorting to steroids in late 2001, he decided against it after consulting with McNamee. Nitkowski also said that McNamee -- a key figure in Sen. George Mitchell's report on steroids -- was not any sort of steroid dealer or pusher and only had his "clients best interests at heart.''
Nitkowski said that if any pitcher could have benefited from steroids, it was him, a journeyman now toiling for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League, and not seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens or two-time All-Star Pettitte. But Nitkowski said that McNamee never came close to encouraging the use of steroids.
According to Mitchell's report, McNamee was compelled to talk under threat of prosecution, and McNamee testified that he complied with Clemens' request to inject him with Winstrol, a steroid, in 1998, and injected him again in 2000 and 2001 with Deca-Durabolin, again at Clemens' behest. McNamee testified that in the most recent two years he had obtained those steroids from Kirk Radomski, the ex-Mets clubhouse attendant who's at the center of Mitchell's report.
Nitkowski, meanwhile, said the thought of using steroids occurred to him after hearing extensive talk of its benefits throughout the 2001 season. He said it was "getting big,'' and there was pressure to join the steroid club. But Nitkowski ultimately decided against it.
"You can't stop a player from using it. The best you can do is educate them,'' Nitkowski said. "The last thing [McNamee] was going to do was let me take something detrimental. He certainly wasn't a steroid seller or pusher. What I was looking for was for someone to fill in the gaps of what I'd heard in the clubhouse. There was nothing at all said about supplying.''
And Nitkowski is glad he never did try steroids, especially after a day like Thursday. He said he couldn't have dealt with having his son have to answer at school for his own misdeeds.
Nitkowski knows he might have had more professional success had he decided to use steroids. And yet, he said, "There's no regrets. I'm glad I did it the way it's supposed to be done.''