ALBANY – He was a head taller than any of the elected officials in the room. He wore a bedazzling pinstripe sport coat and sunglasses. And he absolutely did not want to talk about the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Jose Canseco, the former big-league slugger, former steroid user and modern-day Twitter philosopher, tried something new on Monday: political activism. Naturally, he explained his rationale in a Twitter message:
If Dennis Rodman can be in North Korea I can be in Albany New York with Senator Klein
Mr. Canseco, 48, was referring to one of the leaders of the New York State Senate, Jeffrey D. Klein of the Bronx, who invited him here. Mr. Canseco was the marquee guest at a news conference to promote legislation that would ban dietary supplements containing a stimulant called dimethylamylamine, or DMAA, whose safety has been questioned.
Mr. Klein, a Democrat, said that he was “so proud” that Mr. Canseco had come to the Capitol, and described him as “an inspiration to young people” who could raise awareness about the issue of dangerous supplements.
With seven television cameras trained on him, an impressive turnout for an Albany news conference, Mr. Canseco warned that young athletes were always looking for an edge, and said that he wanted to help educate them about the dangers of supplements and performance-enhancing drugs.
“These kids are willing to take risks because of those $100 million contracts,” he said. “People don’t tell them, ‘Listen, you have got to be careful what you put into your body.’”
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Canseco said he was pleased with how Major League Baseball had responded to the steroid era. “I’m hoping the game is completely clean right now,” he said. “I think they took very aggressive steps.”
He ended the news conference when a reporter asked if players who used steroids should be allowed in the Hall of Fame. “I don’t think we’re here for that,” he said, and stepped away from the lectern.