There has been a lot of performance-enhancing drug talk around lately, thanks to the Biogenesis clinic and the list of clients that is steadily being released. Current Red Sox have been kept out of the picture, though, a merciful turn of events for all kinds of reasons we won't get in to here. That hasn't stopped the discussion from coming back around to Boston, however, as former Red Sox great Curt Schilling told ESPN Radio on Wednesday that, at the end of his career, he was encouraged to use PEDs by former members of the organization. This was in response to Colin Cowherd asking Schilling if he's ever been approached, and Schilling had an anecdote on hand. From WEEI's transcription:
"At the end of my career, in 2008 when I had gotten hurt, there was a conversation that I was involved in in which is [sic] was brought to my attention that this is a potential path I might want to pursue," Schilling told Colin Cowherd.
Asked for more details, Schilling said the conversation occurred in the clubhouse and involved "former members of the organization - they're no longer there. It was an incredibly uncomfortable conversation. Because it came up in the midst of a group of people. The other people weren't in the conversation but they could clearly hear the conversation. And it was suggested to me that at my age and in my situation, why not? What did I have to lose? Because if I wasn't going to get healthy, it didn't matter. And if I did get healthy, great.
Schilling last pitched in 2007, but he was under contract in 2008 while sidelined with a shoulder injury that resulted in mid-season surgery. Two of his previous three campaigns had been shortened by injury as well, and he was 41 years old in 2008, so, as said above, the end was nigh basically regardless.
This is all very... vague. Former members of the organization could mean players, it could mean officials from the front office, could even be members of the coaching staff. There has also been a significant amount of turnover in each of those three areas since Schilling left -- just five players on the 2013 roster were around in 2008, the front office has been given a makeover beyond just the loss of general manager Theo Epstein, and Gary Tuck's departure signaled the end of Terry Francona's influence in Boston on the coaching side -- so it's not as if this qualifier of "former" narrows things down. That being said the wording probably suggests it's actual members of the organization, rather than "former teammates" or something similar.
In the interest of fairness, it's not fair to speculate just who Schilling is discussing, as, without Schilling coming out and saying which persons are mentioned here, we just don't know for sure. What's important to take away from this, though, especially if Schilling is referring to non-player members of the organization, is that teams aren't always entirely innocent when it comes to PEDs.
All of this doesn't mean the testing system is broken -- players are caught, and fairly often -- but players are always going to be ahead of testing procedures, because you can't test for what you don't yet know exists. It might also be a bit easier to get away with it if teams are complicit in the process, but, unless every player comes out after they aren't worried about being blacklisted, as the now well-past his playing days Schilling is, we aren't going to hear many specifics on just how pro-PEDs teams are.
For what it's worth:
Lucchino said Schilling accusation (that someone in organization encouraged PED use) came "out of left field" but it will be looked into.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) February 7, 2013
If "out of left field" is code for "It's Manny Ramirez's fault," then Lucchino is a genius of subtlety.
[Update 3:13 pm: Apparently, the league is going to investigate Schilling's claim. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk spoke to a source who let him know the plan, but that doesn't mean Schilling is going to give up a name.]