Accused of using performance-enhancing drugs by former major leaguer Jack Clark, Albert Pujols said Friday he would sue Clark and his St. Louis-based radio station, WGNU, calling Clark’s remarks “irresponsible and reckless.”
“I’ve said time and time again that I would never take, or even consider taking, anything illegal,” Pujols said in a statement released by his agent.
He added, “If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent athletes to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person.”
In his first week on the job as an afternoon drive-time host and in the wake of the Biogenesis suspensions, Clark told his audience Pujols’ former trainer confided he’d “shot … up” Pujols. Early Saturday morning, the company that put Clark on the air announced it has "terminated its relationship" with Clark and his co-host, Kevin Slaten.
“I know for a fact he was [a juicer],” Clark said on the air before he was dismissed. “The trainer that worked with him, threw him batting practice from Kansas City, that worked him out every day, basically told me that’s what he did.”
The trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, told NBCSports.com that Clark was mistaken.
“I haven’t even talked to Jack Clark in 10 years,” Mihlfeld was quoted as saying. “His statements are simply not true. I have known Albert Pujols since he was 18 years old, and he would never use illegal drugs in any way. I would bet my life on it.”
Additionally, Clark suggested former big-leaguer Shawn Green and current Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander also used steroids. His evidence against Green appeared only to be the alleged presence of back acne, which Clark said he noticed while employed as the Los Angeles Dodgers hitting coach during Green’s time in L.A. Verlander told reporters in Detroit that Clark’s accusation was “moronic.”
Clark, 57, played 18 seasons in the major leagues, three of them with the Cardinals, before retiring in 1992. He hit 340 home runs. Pujols played 11 seasons for the Cardinals before leaving for the Los Angeles Angels by free agency after the 2011 season. The three-time MVP, currently on the disabled list with a foot injury, has hit 492 home runs and has a career batting average of .321.
“My faith in Jesus Christ, and my respect for this game are too important for me,” Pujols said in his statement. “I would never be able to look my wife or kids in the eye if I had done what this man is accusing me of.
“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.”
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