Albert Pujols and Jack Clark aren’t going to take there war of words into court. Over the summer Clark, a former Cardinals first baseman, openly accused Pujols — another former Cards first baseman — of taking steroids on his short-lived radio show. Pujols said he was going to sue Clark. Clark then challenged Pujols to take a lie detector test, followed by filing a motion to get the lawsuit thrown out.
To the surprise of no one, this sad saga will never end up in court.
On Monday Clark issued an apology and retracted his statements about Pujols “juicing.”
“I would like to address Albert Pujols’ pending defamation lawsuit and reconfirm that I have no knowledge whatsoever that Mr. Pujols has ever used illegal or banned PEDs,” Clark said in a statement he released and was provided to the Post-Dispatch.
“I publicly retract my statements that Albert Pujols used such substances. During a heated discussion on air, I misspoke, and for that I sincerely apologize.”
Pujols accepted the statement and withdrew the lawsuit, as this saga reached its natural conclusion. There was nothing to gain, from the Pujols perspective, taking a lie detector test or even allowing the lawsuit to reach court. Pujols still has over $200 million coming to him from the Angels, so he doesn’t need the money. Going to court — even if he won — would keep his name associated with PEDs, which probably isn’t what he wants to accomplish.
Clark should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone with “proof” that someone in baseball took PEDs. Unless you’re Jose Canseco and want to write a book with your first-hand knowledge that you injected somebody, there’s ultimately not that much to be gained by perpetuating rumors. (Granted, the manner in which MLB handled the Biogenesis/Alex Rodriguez case is nothing for anyone to be very proud about and often felt like it was an unpublished chapter from Canseco’s “Juiced.”)
By now we all know that a large percentage of baseball players took some form of PEDs, going back into the 1980s and maybe even earlier than that. At some point everyone, well maybe not the BBWAA, is going to have to accept it and move on. If the game is ever going to stamp out drug cheats once and for all, it might come down to the players policing themselves, rather than relying on retired players spouting second-hand rumors into an open mic.