Thursday, March 5, 2009

Foundation shenanigans

I will do my best to not comment on every ARod gaff, goof, etc. this whole season. No promises, but I will try to keep it to a minimum.

This one, however, is not his fault, but it's worth mentioning:

Alex Rodriguez and the Taylor Hooton Foundation linked to

As you are probably aware, the nephew of former major leaguer Burt Hooton, Taylor Hooton, committed suicide as a result of fits of 'roid rage that spiraled him into depression. The Taylor Hooton Foundation was established to help make kids aware of the ills of steroid use.
The Taylor Hooton Foundation has recently announced that Alex Rodriguez would be joining their team to help educate the youth of America against the perils of steroid use. Don Hooton, president of the Taylor Hooton Foundation has stated:

"This is the first time that we have teamed up with a ballplayer who has made a mistake with steroids...he stressed he wants to turn his mistake into something positive..."
That's all great, wonderful, fantastic. ARod's taking the steps that McGwire never took.

A glance at the Taylor Hooton Foundation website reveals that they have published informational articles from the so-called Association Against Steroid-Abuse (AASA) . This company, located in Houston, TX, is owned by Brian Clapp, who, according to is also the owner of -- a site where you can learn how to use anabolic steroids and even receive a list where you can find contact information for steroid dealers:

"To subscribe to our list of International Steroid Suppliers, please fill out the form below. Your list will be confidentially MAILED to you within 24 hours."

A complete business report reveals that Mr. Clapp also owns the sites (a site where you can purchase a product that can be used to beat sports doping tests), (where you can purchase supplies for home-brewing injectable steroids, as well as liquid versions of Viagra and other drugs), and even, which promises:

"Buy Anabolic Steroids online at Buy Steroids. We ship discreetly, internationally, no prescription required, secure checkout, trusted vendor."
WHOOPS!!! This isn't ARod's fault; it's the Hooton Foundation's lack of due diligence. But it's startling nonetheless.
At this point, it is not believable that Mr. Hooton was unaware of the hypocricy behind the AASA, as he's been promoted by in the past, and apparently is such good friends with Millard Baker (a author) that he was introduced to Dr. Michael Scally by him. Dr. Scally is a doctor who has lost his license to practice medicine in Texas, because he'd been prescribing drugs illegally to steroid users. Why is Don Hooton palling around with a doctor who lost his license for working with steroid users, when he earns 100% of his income from being an anti-steroid crusader? Why is he being promoted by, and their authors on a site where "beat steroid testing" products are clearly advertised next to articles promoting Mr.Hooton? Why is Don Hooton not investigating people he associates with?

The good news:
After the initial publication of this article (on February 20th, 2009), it was removed and slightly altered from it's original form. The Taylor Hooton Foundation has removed any and all information gained from the Association Against Steroid Abuse from their own site, and expressed thanks to Anthony Roberts and for alerting them to the situation.
Big thanks to Anthony Roberts for sending me this story.

UPDATE (11:35am, 3/5/09): I traded a few emails with the author, Anthony Roberts. I was dumbfounded that Hooton would allegedly knowingly associate himself with steroid pushers. His reply, with his consent (I can neither confirm nor deny his claims here, but I have posted them since it's the first time I am hearing them):
"I'm a steroid-industry insider...Don wasn't unaware...I told him, prior to his putting the AASA information up on his site...he knew FULL WELL who they were and what they were up to. And if I hadn't, then he should still do his due diligence and research this kind of thing on his own. After having three books published on steroids, I can tell you that this kind of stuff goes on every day.

He did it because nobody is watching him. He lost his son. People are hesitant to attack his credibility because he lost his son, which is tragic, but his son was on Lexapro (side effect listed: Suicide) and not steroids (for which suicide is not listed as a side effect). He blithely claims his son killed himself because of steroid use, and few people want to wear the black hat and say that Don is wrong.

Check out the movie "
Bigger Stronger Faster" - Don is asked by the director of the documentary about the lexapro vs. steroids thing, and he says that he doesn't care about logic or logical arguments, because he lost his son. That's great, and I sympathize, but then he shouldn't be testifying in front of Congress (or making ~$4.5 million per year off his foundation)."

UPDATE #2 (1:30pm, 3/5/09): Seems I touched a nerve... I just got off the phone with The Hooton Foundation's representatives. I don't think they are sending henchmen after me but they did want to get their side of the story out. In the interest of portraying both sides of the story, I will let you decide what you want to believe.

I spoke with the attorney who represents Don's Foundation. He stated that Don "emphatically had no clue about Mr. Clapp's background." When Don initially started doing research, he was doing internet searches and came across Clapp's "Association Against Steroid-Abuse" and some articles that appeared to be legitimate. Don apparently did not know that Clapp was moonlighting as a steroid pusher. Don also vaguely remembers his chat with Anthony Roberts and fully admits that he didn't do enough due diligence.

Since then, the representative claims, they have revamped the Foundation's leadership, now chaired by famed WADA leader Dr. Gary Wadler. Also on the board is James Whitehead (CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine). Per the representative: "This little foundation outspends all federal anti-steroid programs by a factor of 10."

Lastly, the representative mentioned the movie referenced above, noting that it was more of a "videotorial". It appeared they were on a mission to cast those who disagreed in a bad light. Having not seen the movie, I can not offer an opinion. He did say, however, that the interview was taken in Taylor's bedroom, which has not changed since his death. Personally speaking, I can't imagine conducting an interview in my deceased son's bedroom and not being emotional or incoherent.

Let's just make this crystal clear: I have no interest in causing any harm to any anti-steroid efforts, particularly those who are seeking to educate in the schools. I would welcome the Foundation to come to my town to present to the kids. I have asked the representative for an invite when they come to Yankee Stadium during this season.

I originally wrote about all of this not to slam the Hooton Foundation, but rather to show how easy even the most reputable efforts can be undone by treachery. I had never heard of these connections prior to receiving an email from Anthony Roberts last evening. The connection to ARod was unfortunate but was enough to bring this all to light.

Consider this an invitation to both The Hooton Foundation and Millard Baker to contribute to the website. I will also volunteer my services, in any way I can, to assist in anti-steroids efforts.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the federal tax forms called 990's for the foundation to see how much money they raised off of the 2005 hearings. I cannot find anything after 2005 - is that normal?

Millard Baker said...


I think you underestimate Mr. Hooton. The driving goal behind the Taylor Hooton Foundation is to prevent kids from using anabolic steroids.

This is an objective that receives widespread support. This is no less true among non-medical users of anabolic steroids and steroid law reformers. Anabolic steroid user among teens is consistently condemned on websites that publish steroid information by publishers and visitors alike.

I think Mr. Hooton should be applauded for putting aside his differences and establishing a dialogue with publishers of "steroid websites" for the sake of preventing steroid use among teens.

Your characterizations of Mr. Hooton are off the mark. Criticisms of Mr. Hooton for trying to spread the objectives of the Taylor Hooton Foundation on steroid-related websites are unfair. Steroid information websites have significant traffic on the internet; working with them to develop a responsible approach to the prevention of teen steroid use is a good thing.

I encourage you to contact Don Hooton, Michael Scally, MD, myself, or any other primary source cited in your article for a balanced perspective on these issues rather than relying on the opinions of Anthony Roberts. I have spoken with Mr. Roberts on these issues and have noted my disagreements with his perspective.

For the record, I am a freelance writer that writes for various third-party websites including

I am also the founder and publisher of MESO-Rx at

Best regards,

Millard Baker

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Millard: You posted this just before I gave my latest update. Make no mistake, my goal was not to cast Don in a bad light. The info Mr. Roberts provided me was surprising and with his permission, I shared it.

I have spoke with Don's rep's to get his side of the story and that's been posted.

I remain totally supportive of all anti-steroid efforts.

Please consider this an invite to share your thoughts on steroid usage in baseball on the blog here. I'd love to get your perspectives.

Bob Tufts said...

The anonymous post was mine. As a former player I am interested in full disclousre and apologize for the error.

Full financial disclousre also is good.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Thanks Bob. Glad to have you here.

Was re-reading Mr. Baker's comments and I wanted to remind him (and anyone else reading): any characterizations of Don Hooton or anyone else come from the article written by Mr. Roberts.

As I also mentioned, I fully disclaimed: "I can neither confirm nor deny his claims here, but I have posted them since it't the first time I am hearing them"

Millard Baker said...


Thanks for following up and addressing my concerns!


Millard Baker said...

I think it's worth highlighting the amount of money that the federal government spends on congressional steroid hearings and steroid investigations that serve as nothing more than an opportunity for political grandstanding. The BALCO investigation that is pursuing Barry Bonds has a running tab of over $55 million; now that the trial is delayed, several additional million will likely be spent in an attempt to convict Bonds. (The saddest part is that it is a forgone conclusion, based on sentencing of other defendants, that a Bonds conviction will only result in probation and/or house arrest.) Steroid testing in Texas alone is costing taxpayers $12 million.

The government could conceivably make a different if these resources were devoted to effective steroid education programs.

So, when the Taylor Hooton Foundation spends more than 10x as much on steroid education, per their attorney as the feds, the U.S. government should be embarrassed because. Not only are they outspent by the small THF, they also spend more on steroid law enforcement and steroid witch-hunts than steroid education by a factor in the 100s!

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Good points, Millard.

Care to guest-write a posting on the subject here?

Email me.

Anonymous said...

If you want a local group to do anti-drug programs, In the past I was involved with Winning Beyond Winning, a Long Island based group that has been doung lifeskills programs for 11 years. Rusty Torres is active, as is Ryne Duren.

Bob Tufts said...

I experienced a similar reaction when I asked for the THF 990's. I was interested in them from an academic and sports viewpoint to see the effect of the March 2005 hearings on the organization's fundraising.

I am very concerned that I was effectively told that I would not be provided the information as they were unsure what I would do with publicly filed tax documents that have to be disclosed to the IRS.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps before they brag about how much money they used to educate kids about steroids, The Taylor Hooton Foundation ought to use some of it to educate themselves - before they get caught looking foolish again.

Bob Tufts said...

I was told in an email for Mr. Hooton that the THF would send me the relevant materials.

Anonymous said...

With as much influence as Mr.Hooton has in the anti-steroid world, I am wondering if he's going to actually do something about Brian Clapp, or if he's just going to ignore the fact that he was made to look like a fool by him.

Clapp is apparently operating his business under the government radar right now, and Hooton could really shed some unwanted light on him, if he chooses to (instead of just having his lawyers run PR campaigns on the internet for him).

Anonymous said...

It's easy to brag about spending $$ educating teens about steroid use. I notice that they haven't bragged about their program actually working. It must be nice to get funding without having to show that you've produced any results.