NEW YORK -- Curt Schilling says that Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire's refusals to address accusations of steroids use are tantamount to admissions.

"If someone wrote that stuff about me and I didn't sue their (butt) off, am I not admitting that there's some legitimacy to it?" he said on HBO's "Costas Now."

Schilling said "this will be the steroids era forever" and proposed that Jose Canseco and Rafael Palmeiro should be punished for steroids use.

"Jose Canseco admitted he cheated his entire career," Schilling said. "Everything he ever did should be wiped clean. I think his MVP should go back and should go to the runner-up."

As for Palmeiro, Schilling said: "The year he tested positive, nothing he did that year should count, which I think would take away 3,000 hits for him."

Schilling discussed accusations by Bonds' former mistress, Kimberly Bell, who testified before a grand jury that Bonds told her of his steroid use in 2000. She also said Bonds gave her $80,000 in cash to buy a house, the proceeds of which allegedly came from a paid autograph session that authorities also are investigating as going unreported to the Internal Revenue Service.

"If I wrote a book about Bob Costas and in that book I wrote about Bob Costas' girlfriend being on the road, and Bob Costas giving that girlfriend card show money and I outlined your daily steroid regimen, I've got to believe your first line of defense is to sue my (butt) off," Schilling said.

"It goes to the Mark McGwire thing in Congress. I mean, I'm a huge Mark McGwire fan. But I just always thought it was very simple: If you did something and someone asks you if you did it and you didn't do it, you say no. Any other answer than no is some form of yes, isn't it?"

Bonds' lawyer, Michael Rains, in the past accused Bell of trying to extort money from his client and using the platform to promote a book that never was published, but Bonds has not filed suit against her. Rains did not immediately return a telephone message Wednesday.

In March 2006, Bonds did sue two San Francisco Chronicle reporters who published a book claiming the Giants slugger used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, but Bonds dropped the suit three months later.

During a March 2005 congressional hearing, McGwire repeatedly refused to answer questions about his alleged steroids use. Schilling also testified during the hearing and was more muted in his steroids comments.

"I think while I agree it's a problem, I think the issue was grossly overstated by some people, including myself," he said then.

Schilling said the circumstances of testifying caused him to be reticent.

"When you're sitting in front of Congress and you're under oath, you'd better be damn sure if you're going to mention a name that you are 100 percent guaranteed sure somebody did something," he said during the HBO interview.

Schilling said he thinks some players still are using performing-enhancing drugs.

"There were teams that had a subculture of it. Obviously, guys are still getting caught, which shows me that even with all of the safety nets in place, people are still doing it," he said. "My understanding is that steroids and HGH, one of the main benefits of them is regeneration. If I can show up Sept. 1 and feel April fresh, I've got a huge advantage, not just that day but on everybody. And I think that's why a lot of pitchers have been caught."