In an interview Thursday with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, former Major League Baseball player Jose Canseco said to “look for something major to happen in the next month” relating to the possibility of him taking a lie detector test live on Pay-per-view.
Following is a transcript of the interview:
KEITH OLBERMANN: Did you get a death threat? About what?
JOSE CANSECO: I think we received one on my Web site regarding something with a gun involved, and "All you're going to hear are certain pops to your head and that's the last thing you'll see." But my attorney, Robert Saunooke, contacted the FBI, they investigated where the actual e-mail originated from. I think now local authorities are handling it.
OLBERMANN: Well, it brings up the reaction to the book. I think it is safe to say there's been a lot of hostility. There's been name-calling. Have you been surprised that the reaction has been as strong as it's been from players and ex-teammates and ex-managers and even the media?
CANSECO: No. I have not been surprised. I knew a lot of people were going to deny this book. I knew the players that I had mentioned were all going to deny this book vehemently. I'm pretty much amazed that Rafael Palmeiro would even deny this or try to sue me, because he's going to open up a whole new can of worms.
OLBERMANN: But he said he was going to leave his options open. He didn't actually sue you, which brings me to one of the things that I have from my own experience dealing with this topic. Years ago, there was an Olympic athlete—and I'll leave the name out just because it is irrelevant here—but I reported on TV in Los Angeles that a lot of this athlete's rivals believed this person was using steroids. And later on, Carl Lewis said exactly the same thing on tape. And then a guy went on “The Today Show” and said he had gotten human growth hormones for the athlete. And this athlete threatened to sue me, threatened to sue Carl Lewis, threatened to sue the guy on “The Today Show.” Made a huge stink. And then the athlete came back from these Olympic Games, never sued me, never sued Carl Lewis, never sued the guy on “The Today Show,” never sued anybody, and instead just retired at the age of 28. And what I'm wondering is, if you've said this about Mark McGwire, and he denies it, and you said what you said about Bonds and Sosa and Palmeiro, and they denied it. It's very serious stuff. And Palmeiro says he is leaving the options open about suing. Why do you think nobody has sued you?
CANSECO: Well, it's the obvious. I mean, the public—just use some common sense, it's the obvious, because what I'm telling is the truth. And if you're going to sue me and lie, you can get yourself in a whole lot of trouble.
OLBERMANN: So you don't expect to be sued by Palmeiro or anybody else? Do you think they're just blowing smoke?
CANSECO: I would think it would be the biggest mistake they ever made.
OLBERMANN: All right, give me a reaction to a couple of the other specific reactions. Tony LaRussa was your manager in Oakland for the first eight years about of your career. And he seemed to be saying, "Look, it is absolutely impossible that Mark McGwire or anybody else on the As at that time could have used steroids, that all the strength gains the As players made were the result of hard work, careful supervision. Everybody knew no one on the As was taking steroids." But you were taking steroids. I see some contradiction in that statement. Even if he's right that it was just you, why didn't he blow the whistle on you in 1990 or 1991?
CANSECO: Again, common sense must come into play here. There's a huge contradiction from his first statement to his second statement. Obviously, in his first statement, he says, "No, I believe no one on the Oakland A's was using steroids." Then his second statement was that, "Well, I do believe that Jose Canseco was using steroids, and I do believe he was the only one using steroids." Sandy Alderson then came out saying, "Well, I suspected that Jose was taking steroids." Nonetheless, not one of them did anything about it. That just goes to show you, there was a huge cover-up.
OLBERMANN: What did you think of what Dave Stewart that, your former teammate, the great pitcher, the very determined guy with the A's who said he did not particularly care for you as a teammate, but he never thought you were a liar, and he figured that somebody who used steroids would know who the other users were.
CANSECO: Well, he's absolutely right. I think in general, in baseball, I mean, players may not have liked me in general. I had the highest respect for all players, though, whether we got along or not. I respected them as athletes. But I don't think there's any one player out there that can come to the forefront and say, even someone in the media can say, "Jose Canseco is a liar." I've always been very honest and very truthful, and a lot of times that has gotten me into trouble.
OLBERMANN: One thing about all these denials from people that you named, they all seem to be based on this idea—and this was true I think in LaRussa's particularly—it's an either or. Either somebody works out and builds muscles, or somebody takes steroids and they just get muscles like a Popeye cartoon. That if you have been working out, if people have seen you working out, that means you did not take steroids. That was essentially what LaRussa was saying about McGwire. And just explain this to people who aren't familiar with it. That's just wrong. Isn't it? I mean, steroids do not mean equal instant muscles. They mean that you can work out longer and more intensely and more frequently, right?
CANSECO: Keith, you're absolutely right. Athletes don't just take steroids and not work out. To get the maximum effect from steroids, you actually have to use the steroids, have a tremendous diet, you have to get the right amount of sleep, and you have to work out to maximize the steroid.
OLBERMANN: All right. Baseball on the field this year: They're going to test for steroids with suspensions if somebody tests positive for the first time. They aren't necessarily going to be long ones, but are we going to see a changed sport on the field this year? Is this the year that the guy who leads the American League in homers is going to hit 30 of them and Barry Bonds is going to dry up and blow away? What is going to happen this year?
CANSECO: Keith, there's a major problem with testing these athletes right now, because I'm a perfect example. I was on house arrest. I was tested for steroids. I was then incarcerated again, put in jail because they found a metabolite of a steroid in my system. I spent three months in jail before they figured the timeframe of it. Steroids can stay in your systems for a very long time. For example, if you test for steroid today, you may find a very powerful metabolite in their system. When this athlete actually used the steroid, sometimes are possible to tell. And they're going to have a large, large amount of trouble trying to figure out, "You know, OK, we found this in the system. Did he take it before this actual steroid testing is taking place now?" It's too difficult to tell. They're going to run into major, major problems.
OLBERMANN: But do you think players will be scared away and not use them at all?
CANSECO: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think with this book coming out now, if not 95 to 100 percent of these players are saying, "Wait a minute, this stuff has to stop. This stuff is going to stop. I'm not good to go get caught with this in my system." The only thing I'm worried about, is these players now who are clean or have been clean even for a year and a half, the testing may find a metabolite in their system and they're going to be found guilty.
OLBERMANN: You heard about this Congressional hearing possibility. I mean, testifying under oath in Congress. Would you do that? Would you welcome that?
CANSECO: Absolutely. I think this issue has to come to the forefront. I think people have to realize, who were involve in this and why? I mean, Major League Baseball and the Player Association were definitely involved in this. They allow it. They instigated it. They just turned their heads and said listen, we are making so much money. The players are making so much money. I mean, everyone is benefiting from this. I remember when I spoke to Donald Fehr. I said Don, I'm being black balled from the game of baseball. I've been told by other players. I have been told by Alex Rodriguez, Alex Fernandez. Internally, we all knew as athletes what was going on. And Donald Fehr basically said, "Let me look into it." He did nothing about it. He did zero about it.
OLBERMANN: I believe the commercial used to go, "Chicks dig the long ball." One final thing, I can't not ask this. This lie detector story, that you'd go on TV and take a lie detector test on—maybe on pay-for-view. Now, I know the networks made offers. You don't to have talk about the business end of this. But going on TV wired up to a lie detector, do you worry about the dignity involved in that?
CANSECO: I mean, the networks, I mean, I've been approached by many, many networks. And you know, I think it is about time that I go out of my way and prove what this book says is 100 percent accurate. And something major is going to happen the next month.
OLBERMANN: Well, if you can't get money for it, you can always come here and do it for free, because we work cheaply. Jose Canseco, the book is “Juiced.” There's a long subtile. Bottom line the book is called is called “Juiced.” Stay tuned for the movie and the pay-per-view special and for all we know the opera. All right, Jose, thanks again.
CANSECO: Thank you, Keith.