According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, former MLB All-Star Jack Clark and his co-host Kevin Slaten have been fired from their radio show on WGNU 920 after accusing former Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols of of PED use on their brand new show. Clark would also go on to accuse Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander of the same dirty deeds, but obviously the focus immediately went to the Pujols allegations since Clark spent a good portion of his career manning the same position in the same city as the accused.
Naturally, once Pujols' camp caught wind of the comments, they began denying the allegations. That began with trainer Chris Mihlfeld, who Clark says personally told him of Pujols' PED use. Then on Friday evening, Pujols himself released the following statement denying using PEDs and threatening legal action against Clark and the station, which likely prompted the firing.
“I've said time and time again that I would never take, or even consider taking, anything illegal. I've been tested hundreds of times throughout my career and never once have I tested positive. It is irresponsible and reckless for Jack Clark to have falsely accused me of using PEDs. My faith in Jesus Christ, and my respect for this game are too important to me. 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.
“I am currently in the process of taking legal action against Jack Clark and his employers at WGNU 920AM. 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.”
You can read a lot more on the situation in a report filed by Yahoo!'s Tim Brown on Friday night.
In his statement, Pujols was certainly correct on two things. The first, he's never failed a test. The other, Clark's comments were definitely reckless regardless of the information he was privy to or how strongly he felt. Everybody has their thoughts. Everybody has their opinions. But you can't go on the air and start throwing names around in that manner.
That also goes for Clark's comments on Verlander, who offered his own response to the Detroit Free Press:
“It’s moronic,” Verlander said, “look at the source. It’s moronic to talk about something you know nothing about and clearly ... he’s not watching.”
Obviously Clark is learning his lesson the hard way. Whether or not he deserved to lose his job could be debated, but now that he has his next worry is whether or not Pujols will actually go through with a possible lawsuit. I can't imagine it would be worth the trouble in the long run, especially now that Clark has been punished by the station, but maybe Pujols truly does intend on sending a message. If so, an already bad situation could end up a whole lot worse for Clark.