NEW YORK – Jason Giambi agreed Thursday to meet with baseball steroids investigator George Mitchell and apologized for his conduct, becoming the first active player known to cooperate with the former Senate majority leader.
"I alone am responsible for my actions and I apologize to the commissioner, the owners and the players for any suggestion that they were responsible for my behavior," the New York Yankees star said in a statement.
The decision by Giambi came two weeks after baseball commissioner Bud Selig requested the meeting and followed long negotiations between lawyers for the players' union and Major League Baseball.
"I will address my own personal history regarding steroids. I will not discuss in any fashion any other individual," Giambi said.
Giambi was quoted in USA Today last month as seeming to admit to steroids use several years ago — during a period when baseball did not penalize most first-time drug offenders. Selig threatened to discipline Giambi and said he would factor cooperation with Mitchell into his decision.
"A direct conversation the commissioner impressed upon me the idea that the game of baseball would be best served by such a meeting," Giambi said. "I will continue to do what I think is right and be candid about my past history regarding steroids. I have never blamed anyone nor intended to deflect blame for my conduct."
Selig nevertheless left open the possibility of punishment.
"I will take Mr. Giambi's level of cooperation into account in determining appropriate further action," he said.
Giambi testified to a federal grand jury in 2003 that he used steroids during the 2001-03 seasons and human growth hormone in 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2004.
Giambi made a general apology before spring training in 2005 but didn't specify what he was apologizing for. He became the subject of renewed focus when was quoted in USA Today on May 18 as saying: "I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up — players, ownership, everybody — and said: 'We made a mistake.' We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. ... Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it."
Five days later, he was summoned to baseball headquarters in New York and was interviewed about those statements by three management lawyers.
"In the opinion of my representatives, (Giambi) was fully cooperative and candid in explaining his personal involvement with performance-enhancing substances," Selig said. "Mr. Giambi has informed me in a phone conversation that he is willing to discuss with Senator Mitchell his personal involvement with performance-enhancing substances."
Selig called Giambi's cooperation an "important step forward" in Mitchell's efforts to provide a comprehensive report.