Canseco talks to feds about steroids, Clemens, A-Rod, more
Jose Canseco spent more than three hours in an interview in Los Angeles on Tuesday with federal agents who were hoping that the self-professed steroid user and tell-all author could further their perjury investigation of Roger Clemens and Miguel Tejada, and tell them about the steroid dealer he claims he introduced to Alex Rodriguez.
Canseco's lawyer, Greg S. Emerson, told SI.com that Canseco's statements to investigators were consistent with the material in his books, Juiced and the new Vindicated -- in which he says he believes that Tejada used steroids -- and with the sworn affidavit he submitted to Congress on behalf of Clemens. In that affidavit Canseco said that he has never seen Clemens "use, possess or ask for steroids or human growth hormone," contrary to the claims of Clemens' personal trainer Brian McNamee, who claims to have personally injected the pitcher.
The agents, one of whom was Jeff Novitzky, the lead investigator in the BALCO case, also asked Canseco about his relationship with Joseph Dion, whom Canseco identified in Vindicated with the pseudonym "Max," and whose identity was first reported by SI.com on Friday. In his book Canseco characterized Dion as a personal trainer with access to steroids whom Canseco introduced to Alex Rodriguez. Canseco wrote that Dion later told him that Rodriguez had "signed on," a phrase Canseco took to mean that Rodriguez had begun a training program that included performance-enhancing drugs.
According to Emerson, Canseco repeated to investigators the account of Dion that he gave in the book. In an interview with SI last week, Dion confirmed that he had trained Rodriguez when he was with the Mariners, but denied ever having been involved with steroids.
"A-Rod, at the time I trained him," Dion said, "was 100 percent against steroids."
Emerson said that Canseco told investigators on Tuesday that he introduced Rodriguez to Dion with the understanding that he was introducing "somebody who had access to steroids to somebody who wanted to use them," Emerson said. He added, though, that Dion never supplied Canseco with steroids, and that "Jose never did profess that he knew Alex did steroids."
Last week, when two SI reporters asked Dion whether he would speak to federal agents if they contacted him, he said that he would. "I have nothing to hide," he said. "I have a clear conscience."
Several of the baseball players whom Canseco has identified as steroid users have denied the allegations, but Dion is the first non-player to refute such an important fact in one of Canseco's books. Before Dion was publicly identified, Canseco had said that he expected "Max" to support his claims should the need arise. Canseco was "blindsided" by Dion's denial to SI, according to Emerson.
Emerson said that the interview went on for so long because Canseco was glad to have the opportunity to give as much information as investigators wanted, adding that he would likely be willing to sit for another interview if investigators ask him to.
"I think he appreciated the opportunity to explain some of the comments he made," Emerson said. "His point was never to target players. The issue was Major League Baseball, how they handled this whole thing with steroids ... Jose's point is that they looked away because it was good for the game ... and then closed ranks when Jose blew the whistle."