ST. LOUIS — Former Cardinals icon Albert Pujols said late Friday that he plans to sue former Cardinal Jack Clark, as well as those connected with the St. Louis radio station on which he appears, for Clark’s on-air steroids allegations about Pujols.
Then shortly after midnight Saturday morning, the company that has put Clark and co-host Kevin Slaten on the air abruptly announced they will not be returning — after just seven shows.
At least twice in the first week of a program that made its debut Aug. 1, Clark said that former Pujols trainer Chris Mihlfeld told him in 2000 that he “shot him up” with steroids. Both were working in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization at the time. Clark also has made other steroids allegations about Pujols, attributing them to comments Mihlfeld had made to him more than a decade ago.
Late Friday night Pujols released a statement through his agency, MVP Sports Group, and went on the offensive.
“I’ve said time and time again that I would never take, or even consider taking, anything illegal,” Pujols said. “I’ve been tested hundreds of times throughout my career and never once have I tested positive. It is irresponsible and reckless for Jack Clark to have falsely accused me of using PEDs. My faith in Jesus Christ, and my respect for this game are too important to me. I would never be able to look my wife or kids in the eye if I had done what this man is accusing me of.
“I know people are tired of athletes saying they are innocent, asking for the public to believe in them, only to have their sins exposed later down the road. But I am not one of those athletes, and I will not stand to have my name and my family’s name, dragged through the mud. I am currently in the process of taking legal action against Jack Clark and his employers at WGNU (920 AM).
“I am going to send a message that you cannot act in a reckless manner, like they have, and get away with it. If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent players to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person.
“I have five young children and I take being a role model very seriously. The last thing I want is for the fans, and especially the kids out there, to question my reputation and character.”
When Slaten said on the air that he long has believed that Pujols “has been a juicer,” Clark said, “I know for a fact he was.”
WGNU sells its weekday airtime to insideSTL Enterprises, which has a variety of employment deals with the hosts. A source said the arrangement with Clark and Slaten did not have them working directly for that company. So technically they couldn’t be fired, simply not allowed to return.
Early Saturday, insideSTL announced it “has terminated its relationship with Jack Clark and Kevin Slaten. As independent contractors, we want to make it clear that the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of insideSTL. Also as independent contractors, insideSTL did not have editorial control over the show’s content.”
Meanwhile, NBCSports.com and ESPN’s T.J. Quinn reported Friday that they had received an email from Mihlfeld in which he denied ever telling Clark that he provided steroids for Pujols.
“I haven’t even talked to Jack Clark in close to 10 years. His statements are simply not true,” Mihlfeld was quoted as writing. “I have known Albert Pujols since he was 18 years old and he would never use illegal drugs in any way. I would bet my life on it and probably drop dead on the spot if I found out he has.
“As before once again both Albert and myself have been accused of doing something we didn’t do. I never said those things to Jack Clark or anyone else because they never happened. That’s all I need to say.”
But Clark isn’t backing down, and he appeared on Doug Gottlieb’s CBS Radio show Friday after the story began to draw national attention.
“I know for a fact that Chris Mihlfield told me that,” Clark said and added that Mihlfeld told him he could inject him the same way he did to Pujols, who at the time was not known to Clark.
Clark said Mihlfield told him, “You’re going to see this guy coming up to the Cardinal organization, he’s going to be in the big leagues and he’s unbelievable,” Clark said.
He also said Mihlfield suggested that Clark try steroids and showed him how he injected Pujols.
“He like pulled his shorts, the waistband, down off his hip and (said), ‘I’ll just give you a little injection right there and you’re on your way and I’ll show you how to do it,” Clark said.