'Roid regret

Two-time MVP Murphy: I should have spoken up about juice when I played

Dale Murphy remembers sitting in front of a television screen, staring. There were Jose Canseco and the other beefy sluggers on the 1980s Oakland Athletics, slamming home runs and then bashing their ripped forearms in celebration. Murphy, an accomplished slugger, said to himself, "Something strange is going on here."

The brawn, the thick biceps, it all seemed so wrong, like something more than extra barbell curls. "I saw what everybody else saw," Murphy says. "I saw a few guys where you didn't really wonder, you knew something was obviously going on. We were all kind of hoping for the best and just turned our heads the other way . . .

"And it exploded."

But Murphy, who describes himself as "naïve," never voiced his suspicions about performance-enhancing drugs, even though he felt they were hurting baseball. That's something he regrets. Now, perhaps, he's making up for what he perceives was his lost chance.

Murphy, who won back-to-back MVPs in 1982-83, has started a non-profit foundation called "I Won't Cheat" ( to rid sports of drugs, and educate kids about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs and the ethical issues involved in using them. Drug experts estimate that as many as a million high schoolers use steroids in a given year.

The former Braves All-Star is particularly disgusted with the game that he played for 18 years, which opens its season tonight. It's a season in which tainted slugger Barry Bonds is pursuing one of the game's most hallowed records, Hank Aaron's all-time home run mark. Doping will be a baseball story all season and Murphy has been making noise about it in radio and print interviews recently, applauding the vote that kept Mark McGwire out of the Hall of Fame and calling Bonds' quest "disappointing."

"He's gone about his career the wrong way," Murphy says of Bonds. "I'm very indifferent to what he's accomplishing. He would've accomplished great things in baseball without getting involved with this stuff.

"I don't think we should acknowledge performances that are not legitimate. I don't know why more people don't feel that way. I guess the technical answer is that he hasn't failed a drug test. I say, 'Come on.' Not failing a test doesn't mean anything to me. People have told us that you have to be an idiot to not pass a steroid test. I hate to say those things publicly, but this is the stuff our kids know."

Murphy, 51, might have just the resume needed to get through to kids and their parents, says Dr. Gary Wadler, an NYU professor who is an expert on drug use in sports.

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