Seattle Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley said he might have been treated better by fans if he had stayed healthy during his career, and hinted that admitted steroid users have had an easier time with the public than him.
Bradley, who is playing his first season in Seattle -- his eighth team in 10 seasons -- after being traded by the Chicago Cubs following one disappointing season, has played in more than 126 games just once in his career, mostly because of injuries.
Bradley was asked by ESPN's Karl Ravech on Baseball Tonight whether better statistics might have overshadowed his anger management problems on and off the field throughout his career.
"If I had been able to be healthier ... If I had cheated and then come back and apologized and say, 'I cheated, I'm sorry, forgive me but my numbers have always been good.' Then maybe all that would be washed away," Bradley said. "But I did it the right way. I try to work out, try to stay in shape. I've had injuries along the way. I haven't been able to be on the field and do the things that I'm capable of doing, but that doesn't stop me from working hard and playing to the best of my ability. I've never stopped."
Bradley made headlines in March after an interview with ESPN in which he described the atmosphere in Chicago as so negative that he felt like a prisoner in his own home because he didn't want to venture out. Bradley talked about the difficulties he perceived for African-American players in Chicago, unless they were the caliber of Ernie Banks or Andre Dawson.
Bradley also talked about receiving hate mail with no postage mark, and when asked if he thought it had come from within the organization, Bradley said: "I would hope not, but ... who knows? I don't know. I don't even care to know."
On Monday, Bradley said he will continue to call it as he sees it.
"I see things the way they are," Bradley said. "If you want to turn a blind eye, and people want to think there's no racism or that it doesn't exist or you're exaggerating ... I can recall numerous things that happened to me on a daily basis that can be deemed racial. Or happen to other people I see: the names people are called, derogatory comments made. But baseball just kind of gets laughed over and you forget about it. There's a lot of things that happen in clubhouses that people don't talk about.
"There's a lot of things you can shine a light on bright, and there's a lot of things you can shine on negative. I don't choose to shine a light on negativity. I'm trying to shine on something bright, but when things are happening, they are truths, and they don't just need to be washed over. If I'm hitting .300 every year and on the way to a Hall of Fame career, maybe a lot of the minor b.s. goes away, and it wouldn't be such a big deal."