NEW YORK (WFAN) — Eleven years after he wagged his finger in front of Congress, Rafael Palmeiro has not backed off his story that he never used performance-enhancing drugs.
In March 2005, Palmeiro, then with the Baltimore Orioles, told lawmakers during a congressional hearing: “I have never used steroids. Period.” Five months later, baseball suspended him for 10 games after he tested positive for steroids.
In an interview with WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Thursday, Palmeiro said his infamous denial on Capitol Hill was the truth.
“The thing with the finger and the pointing and all that stuff, that really wasn’t my idea,” said Palmeiro, who retired after the 2005 season. “My lawyer said you need to be forceful with it. That’s not who I am as a person. That’s not my personality. They wanted me to be that way. But as far as the other stuff, it’s all true. I didn’t do it. I didn’t lie to Congress.”
The four-time All-Star said he can’t explain why he failed the drug test.
“I don’t know what happened with the test,” he said. “All I know is that I didn’t do anything intentionally to myself at the end of my career. Why would I do that? I was going to retire at the end of the season anyway. So for what purpose would I take anything after 20 years in the big leagues?”
Palmeiro said he’s moved on and isn’t concerned about clearing his name with Major League Baseball.
“At this point in my life, it’s not worth it because regardless of how hard I fight, I’m not going to be able to change anybody’s mind,” he said. “There’s going to be people that believe me, and there’s going to be people that will not believe me. But at this point, so much time has passed and so much has gone on in my life since that my focus is not that. My reputation and my legacy was ruined anyway. So at this point, it’s not that important … . I’ve moved on from that.”
Without the PED cloud hanging over his career, Palmeiro would have been a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. In 20 seasons with the Cubs, Rangers and Orioles, he had a .288 batting average and 569 home runs.