SAN FRANCISCO - Curt Schilling says as far as he's concerned, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds admitted to using steroids when they failed to defend themselves against doping accusations.
"If someone wrote that stuff about me and I didn't sue their ass off, am I not admitting that there's some legitimacy to it?" he tells Bob Costas on the HBO show "Costas Now."
The Daily News reported in 2005, three days before Schilling appeared with McGwire and Jose Canseco before a congressional hearing, that Mc-Gwire's name had surfaced in an FBI investigation into steroid use in the early 1990s. The News also published a list of steroids McGwire took.
Bonds admitted to the BALCO grand jury in 2003 that he took substances identified by the government as steroids, and the book "Game of Shadows" detailed extensive steroid use earlier in his career. Bonds denied knowing the drugs were steroids.
When told of Schilling's comments, Bonds - who sat out last night's 2-1 Giants win over the Braves - said, "Don't worry, my day will come," and added that Costas is a "midget who knows (nothing) about baseball."
McGwire famously declined to talk about "the past" during his congressional testimony, referring to the Daily News report in his statement, and last year was denied entry into the Hall of Fame when only 23.5% of voters marked his name on their ballots, well short of the 75% needed for induction.
Schilling - who did some backpedaling of his own during the hearings, downplaying previous criticisms about the extent of steroid use in baseball, and also ripped Bonds earlier this season in a radio appearance before apologizing - is critical of McGwire's congressional performance in the HBO interview.
"I mean, I'm a huge Mark McGwire fan," he says. "But I just always thought it was very simple: If you did something and someone asks you if you did it and you didn't do it, you say 'no.' Any other answer than 'no' is some form of 'yes,' isn't it?"
Schilling also refers to the allegations against Bonds that he gave his former mistress, Kimberly Bell, undeclared cash from memorabilia sales, accusations that are part of the government's perjury and tax-evasion investigation.
"If I wrote a book about Bob Costas and in that book I wrote about Bob Costas' girlfriend being on the road, and Bob Costas giving that girlfriend card show money and I outlined your daily steroid regimen, I've got to believe your first line of defense is to sue my (butt) off," Schilling says.
Schilling also says that known cheaters such as Canseco, who admitted extensive steroid use in his bestseller "Juiced," and Rafael Palmeiro, who failed a steroid test in 2005, should be stricken from the record books.
"Jose Canseco admitted he cheated his entire career," Schilling says. "Everything he ever did should be wiped clean. I think his MVP should go back and should go to the runner-up." About Palmeiro, Schilling says, "The year he tested positive, nothing he did that year should count, which I think would take away 3,000 hits for him." And while he downplayed the extent of steroid use before Congress, Schilling says he believes there is plenty of doping in the game.
"Obviously, guys are still getting caught, which shows me that even with all of the safety nets in place, people are still doing it," he says. "My understanding is that steroids and HGH, one of the main benefits of them is regeneration. If I can show up Sept.1 and feel April fresh