|Tuesday, July 2
Updated: July 3, 5:05 PM ET
Reilly asked Sosa to take steroid test
ESPN.com news services
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa and Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly are in a spat after Reilly wrote down the address of a clinic and asked Sosa to go there and take a steroid test last weekend.
Reilly says he was trying to help Sosa win a public relations battle and didn't mean any harm. Sosa, who has said he would be the first in line for steroid testing should Major League Baseball and the players association agree to it, said he feels like he was set up.
Reilly wrote in this week's magazine that he gave Sosa the address of LabCorp, a clinic about 30 minutes from Wrigley Field, and said: "Why wait to see what the players' association will do?" I continued. "Why not step up right now and be tested? You show everybody you're clean. It'll lift a cloud off you and a cloud off the game. It'll show the fans that all these great numbers you're putting up are real."
After the article came out, Sosa told the Chicago Sun-Times: ''What a friend, huh? With friends like that, I don't need any enemies. Why is he going to ask an individual guy to go out there and take a test? C'mon. It's unprofessional, no question about it.
''He took advantage of my innocence. I didn't agree with what he was telling me. I just told him that whatever decision Major League Baseball makes, that's what we have to go for. He's trying to force me. I wasn't too happy with his questions. The whole world knows I'm innocent. You got to know I play every day. You can take it from there.''
Reilly and Sosa met last weekend at Wrigley Field. When Reilly told Sosa that taking the test is the only way to stop the steroid speculation, Reilly quotes Sosa as saying: "You're not my father!" he said, starting to yell. "Why do you tell me what to do? Are you trying to get me in trouble?"
Then he ended the interview, punctuating it with a profanity.
''He didn't come to me the professional way,'' Sosa told the Chicago Sun-Times earlier this week.
"I just wanted him to do something good for baseball and something good for Sammy,'' Reilly told columnist Jay Mariotti of the Sun-Times on Monday. "I thought it was a great PR idea. You give Sosa a chance to prove he's clean. When it comes back clean, it stops the speculation. Then I write a column about it, and he looks great in the end. What's wrong with that?''
"Before last week, I thought Sammy was clean. He's never been hurt, which is a good sign,'' Reilly told Mariotti. "But now, after his reaction, I don't know. This puts some doubt in my mind.''
''If people don't believe it, it's fine with me because I know the kind of person I am,'' Sosa told the Sun-Times. ''I have worked hard all my life to be what I am today. People now are pointing fingers to everybody because they think everybody that hits a home run is on steroids.''
Sosa said he remains committed to steroid testing -- if his union agrees to it.
''If they make that decision, I will be the first in line,'' Sosa said of taking a steroid test. ''I don't have a problem about that. I'm not a troublemaker. I'm not going to say something about it. However Major League Baseball decides, that's how we are going to do it.''