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Palmeiro Case: Lesson For Teens?

After Baltimore Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro announced Monday he had been suspended for 10 games after testing positive for steroids use, speculation began about how that would affect Palmeiro's chances of getting into baseball's Hall of Fame.

Prior to the announcement, Palmeiro's career statistics made him almost a sure thing for induction.

But the focus is on the wrong place, The Washington Post columnist Mike Wise

The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Tuesday.

He says the steroids problem "is a huge one. It's a public health issue to me. Everybody is worried about Rafael Palmeiro's chances to get in the Hall of Fame today. I think it's much more serious than that."

Word of Palmeiro's positive test came just months after he adamantly denied using steroids when he testified before Congress.

Appearing with Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and other baseball stars before a congressional committee on March 17, Palmeiro made an opening statement in which he said: "Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never."

Palmeiro was so emphatic in his denial of steroid use that he pointed his index finger at the panel, and expressed indignation over accusations made by former slugger Jose Canseco, who cited Palmeiro as a steroid user in a tell-all book.

On Tuesday, Palmeiro denied knowingly using the drugs, despite the test results.

But that doesn't wash with Wise, who told Smith, "I just can't believe that an elite athlete wouldn't know what he's putting into his own body."

The Palmeiro suspension comes in the same week a survey revealed young people in America are more and more willing to take different kinds of "supplements" to build and sculpt their bodies, something which alarms Wise.

"Over 500,000 kids, teenagers, have used performance-enhancing drugs, according to a recent survey. And I think, if this trend continues, you're going to see a lot more kids trying to hit that ball over the wall not naturally.

"I think the best thing Rafael Palmeiro and the other players that testified before Congress can do is finally come clean on this issue. That's the only way they're going to help stop the steroid use in America."

But Wise refuses to be defeated. He added, "We're all about second acts in America now. I think if Rafael Palmeiro stayed on the no tolerance task force he was actually named to and went around and told kids the real dangers of taking steroids, including what it's done to his own body and how it's changed his body chemistry, I'd like to see that. I think that could be helpful."