Posted by: Nate | January 7, 2008

Mitchell Report Fallout: Roger Clemens

In the wake of the defamation lawsuit against Brian McNamee, the 60 minutes interview with Mike Wallace and the press conference that finished about 30 minutes ago addressing the same issues it has become clear that Roger Clemens is sticking to his guns and going all out to prove he didn’t use steroids or other PED’s. The question that we all need to ask is: do we believe him?

The United States judicial system has always operated on the “innocent until proven guilty” mantra and many people are hesitant at best to call the Mitchell Report hard evidence against many players of drug use. The court of public opinion often operates on the”guilty until proven innocent” or” where there’s smoke there’s fire” theory, making it difficult at best for Clemens to clear his name regardless of his guilt or innocence. He was named in the report with testimony from McNamee saying that he injected Clemens with steroids on multiple occasions and they had numerous conversations about using steroids. For many people that will be enough to condemn him, no questions asked. Personally I would like something in the way of hard evidence one way or the other before I make a final decision. Receipts, further testimony from those not facing jail time, an admission of deception on McNamee’s part or guilt on Clemens’ part or some other hard evidence to swing the balance either way.

The 60 minutes interview was weak I thought, with Wallace (pushing 90 years old and a friend of Clemens) often not following up Clemens’ responses with the typical hardball questions that many would have expected. The full transcript of the interview is available online at

I thought that Wallace should have probed him more about the fact that his close friend and training partner, Andy Pettitte, who was also implicated by McNamee admitted to using HGH in 2002. If they are such close friends, how could Clemens “not know anything about Andy” and why would McNamee lie about Clemens and not Pettitte?

Clemens also said in the press conference that he would go to Congress and answer the questions they have for him on the 16th of this month. Under oath in front of Congress I hope that Clemens is a little more forthcoming about this whole thing, and asks the questions of McNamee that need to be asked, which he should of asked during the phone conversation played at the news conference: “Why did you lie? Come out and tell the truth.” Someone needs to ask these questions and let’s hope that Clemens and McNamee don’t pull a McGuire in front of Congress and “refuse to talk about the past” or this may never be cleared up anytime soon.

As a Red Sox fan and a baseball fan, I really want to believe that the Rocket is clean and that he really did achieve some of pitching’s greatest feats because of his God-given talent and legendary workout regimen and not because of steroids or other illegal drugs. At this juncture though, and having watched the interview and press conference, the whole issue seems really cloudy still. When McNamee asked during the phone call why didn’t Rog just ask him to tell the truth, or ask why he was lying about his steroid use? Who or these people he needs to “meet with” before he gets back to McNamee? Why did he skirt around the idea of taking a lie detector test when Wallace asked him about it, dismissing it as sometimes good, sometimes bad?

For now, I will reserve judgment until the Congressional hearing and the inevitable flow of information and claims that will lead up to that, especially in the wake of the defamation lawsuit. I can only hope that this issue specific to Clemens is resolved and that the issue of steroids and other PED in baseball is seriously addressed by Selig and MLB this off season in hopes of cleaning up the game. I don’t want to have to go through this whole debate 15-20 years from now with the stars of today that we all know and love.


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