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7/30/2007  

Unless he can back up his statements, Schilling should just keep quiet

BY CHRIS DE LUCA Staff Reporter It seems as though Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is back on his crusade against steroids in baseball. You might remember Schilling fancied himself as a sort of one-man band when he was speaking out about steroids a few years back. His vocal stance was the key reason Congress invited Schilling to testify at its landmark hearings during spring training 2005. About the time Congress asked Schilling to appear is when he suddenly clammed up about the subject. Asked what information he could provide on Capitol Hill, Schilling told reporters in March 2005: ''Nothing. ... [But] I'm a citizen of the United States of America. If I'm required by law to attend a hearing, I'll be there.'' Required by law? Doesn't sound like the words of an activist. Once in front of the House committee, Schilling did his best to rip apart slugger Jose Canseco's explosive book, Juiced, that brought the steroid problem in baseball to the forefront. ''The allegations made in that book, the attempts to smear the names of players, both past and present, should be seen for what they are -- an attempt to make money at the expense of others,'' Schilling said at the hearing. Schilling, who earlier indicated steroid use was rampant, minimized the use of performance-enhancing drugs while testifying, saying: ''I think while I agree it's a problem, I think the issue was grossly overstated by some people, including myself.'' After his testimony, Schilling explained the double talk by saying: ''I made a mistake. Being called on that made me actually start to look at the subject matter instead of guess about it.'' That should have been a good time for Schilling to shut his mouth when it came to steroids. If he couldn't be consistent on Capitol Hill, he had no more credibility. But there he was on Bob Costas' HBO show last week, running off at the mouth. Canseco was one target: ''Jose Canseco admitted he cheated his entire career,'' Schilling told Costas. ''Everything he ever did should be wiped clean. I think his MVP should go back and should go to the runner-up [Mike Greenwell].'' So now, evidently, Schilling thinks what Canseco wrote is true. Schilling's other big target is San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds. Schilling thinks Bonds has admitted his guilt to using steroids by not going after his accusers. ''If someone wrote that stuff about me and I didn't sue their ass off,'' he told Costas, ''am I not admitting that there's some legitimacy to it?'' Keep in mind that Schilling, a former player representative, has done absolutely nothing to help baseball overcome its steroid problem. His best chance was coming clean in front of Congress and revealing what he knew. Instead, Schilling downplayed the problem, coming off as big a coward as Mark McGwire that day. As for his flip-flop before Congress, Schilling even had a ready answer for that. ''When you're sitting in front of Congress and you're under oath, you'd better be sure if you're going to mention a name that you are 100 percent guaranteed sure somebody did something,'' he told Costas. But if you are speaking before a huge TV audience, Schilling evidently thinks you can say pretty much whatever you want.