Former 18-year major leaguer Jack Clark had to know throwing out damning allegations of Albert Pujols using steroids wouldn’t do anything but bite him on the backside.
The show wasn’t even a week old when Clark, and his co-host Kevin Slaten, were fired from WGNU 920 AM in St. Louis. This happened because Clark said he knew for a fact that Pujols had at least once used performance-enhancing drugs.
This caused a visceral reaction from the Angels slugger, who was accused in the aftermath of the Biogenesis suspensions, with the manufactured outrage over steroids still looming in baseball.
Pujols isn’t going to stand for being subject to what’s considered in this game to be character assassination, just for the sake of good radio. That’s why he’s talking about taking legal action against Clark and the station.
Here’s a clip from Pujols’ statement via USA Today.
“I know people are tired of athletes saying they are innocent, asking for the public to believe in them, only to have their sins exposed later down the road. But I am not one of those athletes, and I will not stand to have my name and my family's name, dragged through the mud.
I am currently in the process of taking legal action against Jack Clark and his employers at WGNU 920 AM. I am going to send a message that you cannot act in a reckless manner, like they have, and get away with it. If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent players to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person. I have five young children and I take being a role model very seriously. The last thing I want is for the fans, and especially the kids out there, to question my reputation and character.”
Pujols has always been a proud guy who stood by his clean name, even as a marquee superstar of what remains a steroid era.
This is like one of those situations when someone is born into a certain environment, then spends a lifetime trying to fight off the stereotypes that come with it. Albert Pujols doesn’t want people thinking he’s a product of his environment. This is his chance to be independent from the crowd, the guy in baseball who folks can trust.
The Biogenesis scandal has allowed for a higher level of attentiveness when it comes to steroid accusations, though. Pujols has seen up close now that hearsay can lead down a revealing path.
Major League Baseball pursued the Biogenesis angle following up on a Miami New Times report with documents from whistleblower Porter Fischer. That makes the word of a former player who claims to have an inside source all the more viable.
Pujols, if he can help it, isn’t about to get hit by these steroid champions.