Mariners' Montero bewildered by link to drug scandal, victim of 'Lance Armstrong effect'

Feb 8, 2013

Mariner catcher Jesus Montero has been linked to a clinic in Florida that’s under investigation for distributing performance-enhancing drugs. His name was found on a list. 

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says it’s nothing more than that right now.

'Thin premise'

Art says there's not much to Montero's alleged link to the now-closed Miami clinic that was said to be a haven for those wanting to acquire performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

"Jesus Montero's name was on a list. It wasn't attached to a sale receipt, it wasn't attached to a usage chart and he certainly hasn't tested positive for any use of banned performance-enhancing drugs."

Montero appeared bewildered this week when asked about the issue by The Seattle Times. He said he had no idea how his name showed up on the list, he's never met the figure in question and has never been to the clinic.

Art says he believes him.

"Having been around Jesus Montero, he's kind of an innocent, kind of a naive guy. And I realize this is a superficial impression. It doesn't mean anything. But it's what I know and I don't see Montero lying, I don't see him making something up like this. That's just an impression I have."

Latin America is different

Art says this story highlights the difference between the United States and Latin America, where PEDs are legal. In fact, they're encouraged if they will help boys escape poverty and find a better life with Major League Baseball.

But when they come to America, Art says they're afraid to stop using the drugs out of fear they won't make it here.

"But that doesn't necessarily indict everybody."

Lance Armstrong's collateral damage

Art says the recent admission by Lance Armstrong that he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career - after denying it for more than a decade - has permeated all sports.

Now, when athletes like Jesus Montero are linked to scandals like this, their denial is harder to accept - even if it's the truth.

"The public is ready to believe the worst because Lance Armstrong, in my view, IS the worst. It's not that he used the drugs, it's that he took the lying to cosmic levels to bully and intimidate and ruin lives of people close to him just for his own narcissism. I mean, the man's a sociopath. And the public is even more skeptical about denials among athletes. For people who care about these things, like athletes who want to participate in a clean fashion, Lance Armstrong has hurt all of them immeasurably."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest.