Pettitte vows to teach of PED dangers
MLB's deal with Players Association plans to educate youth
BOSTON -- Shortly after his name was published in the Mitchell Report, Andy Pettitte went back to his old high school in Texas and met with the baseball team, just like he had every offseason since becoming a professional athlete.
As he stood on the campus of Deer Park High School, the subject of performance-enhancing drugs unavoidably came up. There weren't too many questions from his audience, but Pettitte was clear with his message -- though media reports were now linking Pettitte to past use of human growth hormone, he did not want any of those young athletes to consider using PEDs.
"I feel like it's my obligation now," Pettitte said. "I wouldn't want my kids to do it."
The experience of standing before the students and examining the issue of PEDs in sports could be a familiar one for Pettitte in future days. Under the terms of an enhanced drug policy announced on Friday by Major League Baseball and the Players Association, Major League players -- including those named in the Mitchell Report -- will join MLB to help educate youth and their parents regarding the dangers of performance-enhancing substances.
Pettitte said that he felt the media's magnified coverage of the issue of PEDs in Major League Baseball "almost did more damage than good" due to its sensational nature. Pettitte said that his greatest concern was for how the coverage affected young children and athletes.
"Anything I can do to help kids in a certain degree, I want to do, because I feel like I've been put in the forefront of this situation," Pettitte said. "When you have things that come across in your life that come across as trying or a serious tragedy, you can make it into a great triumph. That's what I'm going to try to do.
"God's in control of my life, and he's going to take me and put me wherever he needs me to be. In the bad times, I'll say the exact same things. That's the way I feel."
Pettitte, 35, became a prominent figure in the Mitchell Report when he was named for using human growth hormone on two occasions while attempting to recover from a left elbow injury. Pettitte was called to testify in Washington, D.C., before a Congressional committee investigating the Mitchell Report and later admitted to a third use of HGH in 2004.
Though human growth hormone is not legally obtainable in the United States without a prescription, but because Major League Baseball did not expressly ban HGH use until November 2005, Pettitte said he had not feared that a suspension was possible for his PED use.
"The only reaction I have is that I guess the Commissioner did what he felt like he had to do," Pettitte said. "Other than that, as far as having to do with me personally, it was never a concern of mine. I never did anything that was illegal in baseball."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.