Thursday, March 01, 2007

SI.com is reporting that, in August of 2004, Gary Matthews Jr. was sent human growth hormone in care of a friend and former minor league teammate. (That is the current extent of the allegations -- not that he used, but it was sent to him -- though as a practical matter it's hard to imagine someone ordering human growth hormone and not using it, even assuming these allegations have basis in fact.)

How is this possibly less bad?

Well, in 2004, human growth hormone was not banned by Major League Baseball; the ban began in 2005.

IF Matthews took HGH in 2004 only, he would not have been in violation of any major league rules. We have yet to hear reports that he may have been sent any such substances in subsequent seasons. What's more, the notion that his career year in 2006 might have been fueled by PED would lose traction IF we were to find out that any usage on his part was also taking place over his two prior seasons.

There is still vastly more about this story we don't know than we do know, of course, and I do not wish to jump to any sort of conclusions at this juncture. I'm just examining possibilities based on the allegations put forward in the media.

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