Nationals president Stan Kasten just completed a conference call with beat reporters to address the claim made by a Florida man arrested for dealing steroids that he sold drugs to members of the Nats. Kasten still doesn’t have much information on the story, but he’s hoping to learn more from MLB. He has also instructed all of his players and uniformed personnel not to discuss the matter with the media.
Here’s the transcript of the conference call…
KASTEN: “I have to tell you, I just don’t really know anything more about this morning’s story, or last night’s story, than what you’ve read. Truly, I don’t have any more information than that. I’ve spoken to Major League Baseball. They didn’t have any more details than the story we all read this morning. They are, of course, working on finding out all they can. I know the NHL is doing the same. So I don’t have any more than that. I don’t have any particular concerns, because as you all know, as you’ve seen in recent times baseball has the most effective and the most stringent program of testing and enforcement for performance enhancing drugs. Players run afoul of our rules. They are caught, and they are disciplined. And all that is administered by MLB. And until I hear something from MLB to be concerned about, I don’t have anything to be concerned about. And I haven’t been told anything to be concered about by MLB, at all. So for now, the story is what it is. I don’t really know any more than that.”
Question: What steps can you take to try to get more information? Do you strictly have to go through MLB?
KASTEN: “Yes. And MLB has real professionals who work on this every day with lots of law enforcement contacts. But no, we don’t have any independent, nor should teams have independent investigations going on. The way to endure full compliance and enforcement throughout the sport is to let MLB centrally administer it. And they do a good job.”
Question: What was your initial reaction when you heard about the story?
KASTEN: “My reaction is limited to the things I hear authoritatively from MLB. That’s the only time that I would really have a reaction. To just read second-hand, third-hand reports like this doesn’t give me anything to really react to. So I am waiting to hear from professionals. So far, they don’t have anything to share with me that I should be concerned about. So for now, that’s how I feel. We’ve been told nothing by MLB that is a concern to us.”
Question: Is it difficult or frustrating to have to deal with this from a PR standpoint when baseball has taken its lumps and the Nationals have also had to deal with some things that they’re just starting to overcome now?
KASTEN: “I think all of you have a sense of fair play. And I think most of you understand there’s just nothing here yet for me to have that reaction to the story. When more comes out, maybe there will be a reaction. But for right now, it’s not something I can turn a lot of attention to, now that I know baseball is dealing with it. They’re much better at that than any individual teams.”
Question: You have worked in the NHL in the past. That’s a league that has not had a lot of claims of steroids associated with it. Were you surprised to hear that sport included in this story?
KASTEN: “I’m not going to comment on anything like that. Again, I can’t lend credence to a story that I don’t know anything about. I read the same thing that you read, and your opinion about that would be the same as mine. I just don’t have any basis for an opinion on that. Until there’s anything produced in the way of substance, there’s really nothing for me to say about it.”