Slugger Sues Over Radio Host's Steroid Claim
CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - A "struggling radio talk show host" falsely accused Albert Pujols of taking steroids, the major league slugger said in a lawsuit Friday.
Pujols sued Jack Clark in St. Louis County court Friday. Clark was fired and hired legal representation shortly after making the remarks in August.
A longtime St. Louis Cardinal who now plays for the Anaheim Angels, Pujols claims his "character and reputation are impeccable and beyond reproach."
He was the 2001 National League Rookie of the Year, voted MVP in 2005, 2008 and 2009, and led the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.
He calls Clark "a former major league baseball player turned struggling radio talk show host."
"In an attempt to generate ratings during the first week of his The King and the Ripper radio program, for his own personal gain, or for other wrongful reasons yet unknown, Clark targeted Pujols and published and disseminated malicious, reckless and outrageous falsehoods and him, falsely asserting that Pujols used steroids and illegal performance enhancing drugs," the complaint states.
Pujols says that on the first day of the radio program, Clark said, "I know for a fact that he [Pujols] was" someone who took steroids.
Clark allegedly went on to say that he knew a trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, who worked Pujols out and shot him up, and that the trainer showed Clark how he did it.
"Astonishingly, Clark claims that Pujols' alleged use of PEDs was supposedly revealed to Clark thirteen years ago, yet Clark waited until the first days of his new radio show to make his groundless accusations," the complaint states, abbreviating performance-enhancing drugs.
Clark stood by his accusations on his Twitter feed, posting on Aug. 10: "I completely stand by the story i [sic] told 8 days ago about conversations 13 years ago w/Mihlfeld. He will never admit it. Google it."
Pujols claims Clark stood by his statements even though he admitted to interviewer Doug Gottlieb on Aug. 9 that Clark didn't know for a fact that Pujols had used steroids.
"Further confirming that Clark knew the aforesaid statements were false when he made them is the fact that Clark personally supported the Pujols Family Foundation for years, attending numerous charitable events for the Foundation and personally calling Foundation representatives, offering to do 'anything for Albert,' saying he would do 'whatever you guys want,'" the complaint states.
Pujols also notes that Clark enthusiastically presented a Silver Slugger award to him in 2009.
"All of this occurred long after Clark claims to have had the (nonexistent) conversation with Mihlfeld, which further serves to establish that Clark did not believe that Pujols used PEDs," the complaint states (parentheses in original).
If Clark knew for a fact that Pujols used steroids, then Clark wouldn't have supported Pujols' foundation or given him the award, Pujols says.
Clark's main motivation was driving ratings for Clark's new radio show, according to the complaint.
It states, "In fact, when interviewed by Doug Gottlieb who asked Clark why he was making the statements about Pujols, Clark admitted that his statements about Pujols were made in an effort to boost ratings and responded: 'We started our radio show last Thursday, brand new radio show 920 CBS here in St. Louis, Inside STL, and we started last Thursday was our first day, was our groundbreaking day.'"
Aside from his professional accomplishments, Pujols says he is deeply committed to serving as a positive role model for children. Pujols started the Pujols Foundation, which is a charitable institution designed to help those with Down syndrome and to help the poor in the Dominican Republic.
Mihlfeld issued a statement vehemently denying Clark's allegations, the complaint states. WGNU and Inside STL, which bought the airtime for Clark's show from WGNU, both issued statements with full retractions and apologies for Clark's statements, Pujols says. Mihlfeld, WGNU and Inside STL are not parties to the lawsuit.
Clark's attorney Chet Pleban told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he had not yet seen the lawsuit, but that his client looks forward to his day in court.
"Jack has said all along and, certainly, continues to say that if Albert Pujols wants to file the lawsuit, he looks forward to defending the lawsuit before 12 unbiased people who don't have a horse in the race," Pleban told the Post-Dispatch. "And we'll look forward to the discovery process and the deposition of Mr. Pujols. I have a variety of questions for Mr. Pujols."
Pujols seeks punitive damages and is represented by Joseph Martineau of Lewis Rice & Fingersh in St. Louis.
Clark, known as Jack the Ripper, played from 1975-92 for the Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, Padres and Red Sox. He helped lead the Cardinals to two World Series appearances in 1985 and 1987. His dramatic three-run home run off of Tom Niedenfuer in the top of the ninth clinched the 1985 National Championship Series for the Cardinals.