Reaction from Donald Hooton, father of steroid user
Within a few months of the Congressional hearings that have come to define baseball’s steroid era, Don Hooton, who testified at the hearings and is the father of a steroid-user who had committed suicide, received a nondescript envelope in the mail.
It contained a check to the Taylor Hooton Foundation, paying off a promise.
It was from Mark McGwire’s foundation.
Since meeting McGwire as both prepared to testify before Congress about baseball’s steroid culture, Hooton has spoken often about players like McGwire having the loudest voice when it comes to educating children and student athletes about the dangers of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
“I have said from the beginning that I believe Mark McGwire’s persona, his popularity, especially with the kids and even now, puts him in as good a position as anyone to spread the message,” Hooton said. “Now that he’s back in the spotlight, I hope he uses this opportunity to talk about the subject. I’d like to think this signals that he’s ready to speak out.”
The Taylor Hooton Foundation was named for Don Hooton’s son, who committed suicide in 2003. The foundation provides and pushes for increased education and awareness about steroid and performance-enhancing drug use in school-age athletes. Major League Baseball has partnered with the foundation for many projects since the hearing and last month the foundation received its first donation from the NFL.
At the hearing, McGwire said he would be a spokesman against the use of steroids by children and that he would charge his foundation with that message. McGwire has kept a mostly private existence since, but his foundation has made multiple donations to Hooton’s over the past three years. McGwire’s representative requested that Hooton keep the amount of the donations private, but Hooton classified them as “substantial.”
“We’d like to see Mark use his own voice … to speak out on this topic,” Hooton said. “He, more than anybody, should be able to speak to kids about what price he paid for getting involved.”
- Derrick Goold, STL Today