Golden Boy Phelps Needs a Lesson in Denial 101
by Gus Jarvis
Feb 04, 2009 | 1096 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
as the Roger Clemens/Barry Bonds steroid ship continues to sink toward conviction, the two obvious ’roiders are giving a lesson to other steroid/drug enthusiasts on how to face investigators: Deny, deny, deny – deny even if the whole world knows you are guilty. Hey, at least they are sticking to their story.

Federal agents stepped up their investigation into Clemens’s alleged steroid use and whether or not he lied under oath in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee almost one year ago, when he told them flatly that he had never taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Since his testimony, the investigation has been a he said, she said squabble between Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee, who said he injected the pitcher with steroids 40 times in between 1998 and 2001.

Most recently, according to a Washington Post report, McNamee’s attorneys said they have given investigators syringes, gauze pads and other items he used to inject Clemens. Apparently, he has been keeping the bloody biohazard material in a FedEx box in a basement. A keepsake of the glory days, I guess.

With this new evidence of sorts, Clemens has given a voluntary DNA sample to authorities to see if it matches up with the blood in the syringes. Matching the DNA is only half of it. Scientists at the Anti-Doping Research Institute have been brought in to see if the syringes ever contained steroids or human growth hormones. According to The Post, since Clemens said he was injected with vitamin B-12 and painkiller over the years, the bloody syringes may not be the evidence to put him away for perjury. But, if investigators do find steroids, “it will be a much more significant problem for Clemens,” a former federal prosecutor told The Post.

Still, facing hard time because of his lies and with this new evidence of doping, Clemens remains stalwart in his innocence. Deny, deny, deny.

Rusty Hardin, Clemens’s attorney, said the DNA tests “won’t matter at all” and that it will “still be evidence fabricated by McNamee. I would be dumbfounded if any responsible person ever found this to be reliable or credible evidence in any way.”

On to Mr. Bonds. ESPN.com reported on Thursday that former MLB catcher Bobby Estalella, who has admitted to steroid use, has been subpoenaed by the feds to testify at Bonds’s upcoming trial in March. According to the report, Estalella is expected to testify to firsthand knowledge that Bonds used steroids. He played with Bonds in 2000 and 2001.

In an account given in the book Game of Shadows, Estalella received a drug schedule from Bonds’s trainer, Greg Anderson. He allegedly advised him not to use human growth hormones, “the cream” and “the clear” steroids and the female fertility drug Clomid. Anderson not only did this for Bonds, but set up a juice schedule for Jason and Jeremy Giambi, both of whom are also expected to testify.

Like Clemens, Bonds is facing the testimony of people who probably know first-hand that he juiced up. And like Clemens, he hasn’t wavered in his denial to authorities of ever using hormones or steroids. Deny, deny, deny.

You have to admire both men for sticking to their stories, even in front of those investigative committees. If they catch you lying, you will go to jail for a long time.

Regardless, I admire them for having the guts to lie under a huge spotlight. They are desperate to save their reputations and there are athletes out there who can learn from their staunch denials.

America’s golden boy pothead Michael Phelps should have taken a lesson from Clemens and Bonds. Phelps admitted last weekend to smoking pot after a British newspaper posted a photograph of him with a bong last November.

“I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment,” Phelps said last weekend. “I am 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry.”

No, Mike, don’t admit anything. Deny, deny, deny. I have seen the picture and you are not smoking marijuana you are just testing the gauge of the bong and checking for a good seal. Or you were curious to the inter-workings of the thing. Or you were smoking herbal healing tobacco from a water pipe. It is legal to own one you know. The picture was taken at a head shop as you tested bongs, ahem, I mean water pipes that you planned to buy for your stoner friend. You weren’t lighting anything, you didn’t even have a lighter in your hand. How can you smoke without a lighter? You weren’t smoking anything, Mike. Have you learned nothing from Clemens and Bonds?

In my eyes, the only inappropriate action Phelps did during all of this was admit his guilt. This is America. Innocent until proven guilty. Now that you partially admitted to smoking grass, the sheriff of the town you smoked in plans to press charges.

“This case is no different than any other case,” Sheriff Leon Lott told The Post. “This one might be a lot easier since we have photographs of someone using drugs and a partial confession. It's a relatively easy case once we can determine where the crime occurred.”

Lesson learned. Deny ’til you die.

Another lesson from all of this: Who are your friends and do you trust them with a camera when you have reached a high point in your career? Or even your steroid-filled syringe when you have reached a low point? Ask yourself that question. Do you really trust those around you? It could make a big difference in your life 10 years down the road.
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