Thursday, March 15, 2007

Matthews Speaks...

Rolls over, and possibly plays dead apparently only on the advice of his lawyers.

Mattews yesterday finally came clean, sort of, with the general public, issuing a denial in the use of hGH to boost his on field performance. According to an AP report, the Angels issued a four paragraph release to the press that said the following:

"I have never taken hGH -- during the 2004 season or any other time. Nobody
has accused me of doing so, and no law enforcement authority has said I am a
target of any investigation for doing so.
"Before saying anything publicly I wanted to make absolutely sure of my
ground. In particular, I needed to try to learn whether anybody in authority --
in or out of baseball -- felt they had reason to accuse me of anything with
regard to hGH. If they did, I would have to deal with that. It has taken me, and
those representing me, 16 days to make certain that's not the case. And that is
why it has taken longer than I would have preferred to make a public

That statement comes approximately a week-and-a-half after the following from Matthews' lawyer, Robert Shapiro (of OJ Simpson fame):
"Gary wishes to cooperate with Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Angels and
any other investigative agency that may look into this matter. He is eager to
tell his side of the story and looks forward to providing a statement once all
investigations into the matter have been completed.
"However, it is my long
standing policy not to allow clients to comment while an investigation is
ongoing. To do so would be inappropriate and I believe irresponsible."

Now, I will admit to being no lawyer, but these statements ring hollow and leave a whole series of other questions, but precious few answers. Let's cover some of them:
  • If Matthews indeed never used hGH, then why wait 16 days to deny use?
  • Why did he need to know if someone in baseball was going to accuse him of use before he could deny use?
  • Sure, the investigation both he and his lawyer cite - but if he's clean, why did he need to wait?
  • Couldn't he have issued a statement when first linked to the pharmacy records denying use and stating that he was sure his name would be cleared? I'm guessing not, or he would have done so. More on that below.
  • If he was waiting on the results of this so called investigation to exonerate him, why not release the findings of the investigation?
  • Why would it have been irresponsible to issue a "not guilty" earlier than this?
  • And most importantly, can he address how his name, address and credit card "mistakenly" ended up in the database of a distributor of the drug along with an order attributed to him?

It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes (or John Holmes for that matter) to deduce the following - the investigation was solely to establish that, beyond his enhanced numbers last season, there would be no way to link his order with him actually taking the hormones. Once they established that a potential break in the chain of evidence existed that would allow him his denial without the possibility of a "Palmiero" coming back to bite him in the ass, then - and only then - Shapiro told him to issue his denial.

Unfortunately he still left the question of how he got into that business' customer database, and really avoids answering the question of why the denial took so long. Personally, I don't buy what he and his lawyer are selling.

Interesting things are afoot at the Circle K...or over at the Razor...

According to a report in today's Boston Herald, Troy Brown is thinking about returning for a 15th season. It poses some questions since Brown has previously said he doesn't see him finishing his career anywhere else, but the Patriots are suddenly rich at wide receiver with the signings of Kelley Washington, Donte Stallworth, Wes "I'm Troy but younger" Welker, and hold-overs that include Reche Caldwell, Jabari Gaffney and Chad Jackson (currently recovering from knee surgery).

It's possible that Jackson will be on IR this upcoming season due to the tear in his ligament which is supposed to take 8 to 12 months to heal (the surgery was in February, so the earliest he will be running is likely to be August, and he probably won't be ready for hitting until the end of September - and that's if he recovers quickly).

Does Brown get resigned as a receiver low on the depth chart? Does he get resigned as a nickel-back? Does he still have enough in the tank to beat out any of the five healthy receivers that the team has under contract - all of whom are younger than him?

I would like to see him go out on his own terms, and go out as a Patriot - but with the current roster, is that really possible? I don't know.

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