Romanowski discusses relationship between A-Rod, Victor Conte
Editor's note: Former NFL linebacker and current CSN NFL analyst Bill Romanowski responded to the reports of a 'secret meeting' between himself and Alex Rodriguez, with a Victor Conte tie-in, on Yahoo! SportsTalk Live with host Jim Kozimor. The following is a complete transcript of their exclusive conversation from Monday night.
Kozimor: This is that bad man, Bill Romanowski. Bill, let’s start with your reaction to the story. When you heard this come out in the New York Daily News, what was your reaction?
Romanowski: Well, you know, when I first saw “secret meeting” I'm like give me a break. When I was like, you know, all I did is, I made an introduction. I have been friends with Alex (Rodriguez) for probably four-five years and I like Alex. I think he's a nice guy. Do I know him on a real personal level or we’re out doing things together? No. I have been taking care of him with my products from Nutrition 53. You know, like I said for three-four years and he wanted to meet Victor (Conte), he knew Victor had a nutrition company and is doing some, you know, advanced things with athletes because he works with boxers and people like that and he said can you introduce me to him when I’m out there in the Bay Area? So, I took him there and I didn't partake in the meeting cause I don't need to. I dropped him off, introduced him to Victor. You guys can talk about whatever you want to talk about and I went and made calls in my car.
Kozimor: Alright, so you knew what Victor's background was. We all understand that, he went to prison. We know what A-Rod's background is and Bill on some levels you have a background that’s involved in this stuff. Why would you decide to make the introduction if you knew your name could be hooked up with two guys who weren't exactly looked at as clean?
Romanowski: Well, you know what, there comes a time in your life where you have to make decisions based on truths that you know versus truths that come out in newspapers and magazines. Hey, Victor Conte helped me with a lot of things nutritionally throughout my career. And people want to talk about him, there is so many things we can get into in this conversation but at the end of the day, he is a friend of mine. And he went through struggles. Hey, I took something that I never tested positive for and never got suspended for, never had any issues about and that's the facts. If you want to bring, and I admitted to it. So, the fact that I did that, you know a lot of people want to make me a bad guy because I admitted to taking something that they couldn't test for that I didn't get suspended for and that's how it goes.
Kozimor: What did Alex want from Victor Conte? What was the thing he was looking for or things he was looking for or education that was going to help him?
Romanowski: You know, Victor has a nutrition company as I do and he does, you know, he has things that are different than me. He has minerals, ZMA. He has some post-workout products that I don't have in my arsenal. I have a lifestyle company and those are the kind of products that I make at Nutrition 53 and he makes things more towards hardcore athletes and he has things that I used to take back when I played. And he still markets them and, you know, I think that's what he was looking for.
Kozimor: How surprised were you when Alex Rodriguez called and said I would like to have a meeting set up with Victor Conte?
Romanowski: I wasn't. I said fine. You know Victor is a wealth of knowledge, OK? I picked his brain for probably eight years on anything because he had a database. I would read about an ingredient and what would I do? I'd call Victor and say, “Victor, can you research this ingredient for me?” And that's how it worked. You know, and I did that for eight years and it all started with mineral testing. I took zinc, magnesium, copper and chromium and they tested my pubic hair, my urine and my stool samples for minerals and what I was deficient in and that's how I met him and that's what BALCO Labs was. It had nothing to do with anything illegal when I started doing that. I just got my minerals tested and those supplements – which are minerals, zinc, copper, chromium – are some of the best things I ever took when I was an athlete.
Kozimor: Can you say you believe that an athlete today can meet with Victor Conte and find legal substances, legal, that could improve their performance in their field?
Romanowski: One million percent.
Kozimor: Legal performance enhancers, I’ll use that and it’s a poor turn of phrase.
Romanowski: Yeah were all caught up in...it’s unbelievable that we have to have this conversation, that it’s this big of a deal because that is a past, and there is a product on the market today, ZMA, that is marketed by probably 50 nutrition companies all around the world and guess what? Who did they buy it from, and it is zinc and magnesium? Who did they buy it from? Who owns the world rights to those the combination to those two? Victor Conte. He has a patent on ZMA. So any company, and these are the most reputable companies in the world, they buy those ingredients from him, they put it in their containers and they sell them.
Kozimor: You’re convinced Alex Rodriguez and his meeting with Victor Conte was strictly for questions regarding a legal enhancement? And you weren't, were or were you not in the meeting, cause in the New York Daily News it says you were in the meeting with those two.
Romanowski: No, I was not in the meeting with those two. I didn't care to be in the meeting with those two. I had calls to make. I actually have a job Jimmy.
Kozimor: You have your own business.
Romanowski: Part of it is here and I got a business. You know, I work eight days a week, I don't work seven days a week. I am more with the Beatles, eight days a week.
Kozimor: Alright, when were you originally introduce to Alex Rodriguez? What was your relationship like? How did you come together?
Romanowski: A guy that I worked with when I was playing, Mark Lindsay, was in Aspen working with him rehabbing his hip. And I just happened to be in Denver, and I went up and I met them and they were doing therapy and stuff like that. And like I said, he was rehabbing his hip getting ready. And that year when he came back, they ended up winning the World Series.
Kozimor: Nothing that went on involving Victor Conte or BALCO or the products that Victor Conte has? None of that is involved in what is going on with the Biogenesis scenario with A-Rod?
Romanowski: Oh no, no. I know nothing about Biogenesis other than what has come up in newspapers. And guess what? I don’t read about it because I don’t care about it.
Kozimor: What was your reaction when Biogenesis came out?
Romanowski: Like I said, I don’t read, I don’t waste. That would be a waste of time for me Jimmy. It really would.
Kozimor: But because A-Rod had a history, and now Biogenesis comes out and A-Rod is linked to something again, did that surprise? What was your reaction when you saw, here's a guy who has already has had an issue with performance enhancers through Major League Baseball, and here years later after he says “I’m off it” he is involved with Biogenesis. As a friend or an acquaintance of his, what was your reaction?
Romanowski: You know, I didn't really dive into it very much like I told you. I didn’t really care. What he does outside of my friendship with him, you know, I know this about athletes, is we’re always looking for an edge. I know I would. I would do about anything if it would help me, you know, hit someone harder, run faster, cover a tight end, I would almost do anything. That’s how badly I wanted to play in the NFL. That’s how badly I wanted to keep my career. That’s how badly I wanted to keep my job. That’s how badly I wanted to feed my family. And that’s how much I loved the game of football. I didn't want it to end.
Kozimor: So one more play? That’s what you are looking for? That edge that gives you one more play.
Kozimor: We're efforting to have Victor Conte come and join us here on the program on Tuesday. If he comes on, what’s the question you would like him to answer so that we can get a better understanding for what has happened?
Romanowski: I already know. I know Victor and I know there’s anything, any talks about anything illegal…it is such a waste of energy. It’s a waste of energy and it’s tabloid because that is history. That is no more and that’s what I know. So there’s no real question I would need to have answered.
Kozimor: Alright sounds fair enough, Bill Romanowski. Thanks for being forthright. We appreciate it. We know you’re with us here as a member of the family, but you came on and were willing to talk about this.
Romanowski: You got it.