Every morning, the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews sift through the a.m. drive-time chatter to bring you the best interviews with coaches, players, and personalities across the sports landscape. Today: Conte says Braun is "dead in the water."
Victor Conte joined KNBR in San Francisco with Gary and Larry to discuss why he wasn't surprised by Braun's positive test, the number of people he still thinks are using banned substances, why the steroid era isn't dead, if another player will get caught after the Braun saga is over and what Braun's team can do to appeal.
Were you surprised that Ryan Braun tested positive?:
"No, I was not surprised. In fact, three weeks before that, I was in Vietnam and I was interviewed by somebody from the New York Daily News. It was when the growth hormone testing was being introduced. And I don't think growth hormone is effective as a performance enhancer. At that time, I basically said that what they're doing is using fast-acting testosterone - creams, gels, orals, patches - and they clear so quickly, sometimes in a matter of hours. … They could conceivably, after a game, use testosterone to help with tissue repair and healing and recovery and by the time they'd show up at the park the next day, their PE (progesterone/estradiol) ratio would be normal. I always knew there was this giant loophole that you could drive a Mack truck through."
How many players do you think are still using things that are banned by baseball?:
"A significant percentage. Way back in 2004, I said that I felt 50 percent were using steroids and 80 percent were using stimulants. The numbers are obviously less now, but I think it's a significant portion. … I'm including the offseason, where they really don't do testing. … When you're considering offseason and during the season, it may have dropped, but still 30 or 40 percent?"
Are you able to watch an athlete perform without questioning if he's using banned substances to do it?:
"No, I think they're all suspicious at the elite level, regardless of sport. … I just think that in this day and age, there's a dark cloud over sports. The whole idea that we're beyond the steroid era and all that, doesn't make sense to me. I understand what these loopholes are."
Do you think there will be another player implicated in this after Braun's situation is over?:
"This is a wake-up call. … I've been pitching this before this Ryan Braun case broke … I said here's the loophole: They're using fast-acting testosterone; they're not using anabolic steroids. … You need to use carbon isotope ratio testing and you will bust lots of people. I said a significant number of players would test positive. … Three weeks later, here's a positive."
What argument can Braun's people make to win their appeal?:
"The first thing I hear that they're saying is it's an extremely high level, the highest that's ever been recording. Are they talking about in baseball or are they talking about in general? … I'm not sure about that, but this is a double-whammy for him. Unless there's some chain-of-custody issue, other technical problem during the collection and transport process, he's basically dead in the water … I believe he's going to serve the 50-game suspension."
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