It was an admission five years in the making: On March 17, 2005, Mark McGwire refused to answer questions at a Congressional hearing, commenting “I’m not here to talk about the past” when asked whether he took illegal steroids when he hit a then-record 70 home runs in 1998 or at any other time.
Today, he cleared up the rumours, saying he took steroids when he broke the home-run record in 1998. He used performance-enhancing drugs on and off for the past decade, ESPN.com reports.
“I wish I had never touched steroids,” McGwire said in a statement. “It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”
He is the second major baseball star in less than a year to admit using illegal steroids. Recently, the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez last February made the same admission.
McGwire added: “I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected.”
So why did McGwire’s decision to admit to using steroids now? It could be that he was prompted by his decision to become hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, his last big league team.
In his statement, McGwire also explains his motivation for taking the illegal drugs: “I experienced a lot of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years, and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too.”