The Washington Nationals aren't shying away from it and Matt Williams reportedly addressed the issue directly during the interview process, but the Nats' decision to hire the former major leaguer made him the first MLB manager whose name appeared in the Mitchell Report, which investigated the use of performance enhancing drugs by major league players.
According to a San Francisco Chronicle report in 2007, Williams, "... purchased $11,600 worth of HGH, steroids and other drugs from the Palm Beach clinic in 2002," on the advice of a doctor after suffering an ankle injury. Williams has since said that he stopped using the drugs quickly when he didn't like the effect.
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told reporters today, including AP reporter Howard Fendrich, that the Nats' new skipper was open and honest about the incident when it came up in his interview:
"'It certainly was something we discussed. We didn't agonize over it. ... In the interview process, we asked about it,' Rizzo said.
"'Matt was extremely candid about the Mitchell Report and owned up to it," Rizzo continued. "He certainly showed accountability for it. He wants to only be judged by his coaching and managing going forward.'"
Rizzo elaborated on the issue when he spoke to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier early this afternoon:
"It certainly was something we discussed," Rizzo told the show's hosts. "Matt was extremely candid about the Mitchell Report. It was something that we discussed. It's something that we don't take lightly and for that matter Matt doesn't take lightly. But we didn't agonize over it. He was extremely candid [about] it. He was accountable for it and he wants to be judged on his coaching and managing days going forward and I think that it won't have any negative impact on his managerial style or managerial skills.
"I think that it's something that he will be vocal about when asked about it [going] forward and asked about the effects of it and I think he's a guy that was totally accountable for it and we'll move forward from here."
Does the fact that Williams' name was included in the Mitchell Report affect your opinion of the Nationals' new manager?
Does the widespread use of PEDs at the time make it easier for you to understand players doing what they did? Does a player's openness or accountability about their use of PEDs make you more willing to accept their explanations? Does it bother you that the headlines of reports on the Nationals' hire are focusing on Williams' use of PEDs?
• YOU CAN LISTEN TO MIKE RIZZO WITH 106.7 THE FAN IN D.C.'s HOLDEN KUSHNER AND DANNY ROUHIER HERE.
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