Clemens and his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, went before a Congressional panel Wednesday where both were questioned while under oath about alleged steroid use. The two versions given by each man couldn’t have been more different. McNamee, who told investigators conducting the Mitchell Report that he had, on a number of occasions, injected the seemingly extra-large, Mark McGwire look-alike with growth hormones, gave the same story at the hearing. Clemens, sitting right next to McNamee during the very tense four-hour hearing, denied McNanee’s claims.
Somebody is lying.
Clemens willingly went before the Congressional panel to “clear his name.” No denying it was a gutsy maneuver, but I don’t think it worked. (Are Clemens and his lawyers really banking on the notion that just because he went in front of the panel, he must be innocent?) To me, he seemed more like a liar after the hearing, and some of the Congressional panel members felt the same.
“It is hard to believe you, sir,” Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, was reported by The New York Times as saying to Clemens during the hearing. “I hate to say that. You’re one of my heroes, but it’s hard to believe you.”
Investigators of the Mitchell Report also named Clemens’s longtime friend and teammate Andy Pettitte, who confirmed that McNamee, who was also his trainer, injected him with growth hormones. Pettitte told investigators that on numerous occasions, he and Clemens had talked about the use of growth hormones with McNamee.
Pettitte wasn’t at Wednesday’s hearing, but the panel did have two affidavits from him and his wife that contained details from past conversations the two have had about the illegal use of the hormone.
“In 1999 or 2000, I had a conversation with Roger Clemens in which Roger told me he had taken human growth hormone,” stated Pettitte’s affidavit.
Clemens reply on Wednesday: “I think he misremembers our conversation.”
I think Pettitte is playing his cards wisely. Why would he change his story after already admitting to his use? And he has no reason to take Clemens down. His only reason for naming Clemens is to tell the truth and avoid potential jail time. This notion alone works against Clemens more than anything.
Chuck Knoblauch, another former teammate of Clemens trained by McNamee, also confirmed in the Mitchell Report that he had been injected by McNamee. He said McNamee had given Clemens the hormone as well.
After Wednesday, I certainly have to question Clemens’s intelligence. He seems to be speeding up shit creek without a paddle. His friends and former teammates have no reason to lie; they are sitting safely on the sidelines (granted without their good names) after being men enough to fess up to the allegations. Clemens, after all is said and done, will end up sitting in a jail cell.
If I were Clemens, right now my argument would be, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game. I had to inject the hormones to keep up with everybody else who was injecting them. I am a symptom of Major League Baseball.” And I would leave it at that. At least with that argument he has some sort of dignity and he is not lying under oath in Washington, D.C.
I knew Clemens was screwed when he took his Texas-accent to 60 Minutes where he severely attacked McNamee. Even there, he seemed too defensive to be believable. For now, the justice system is watching the testimonies before putting a case together. If I were Clemens, I would be scared, not just of losing his reputation as a pitcher, but of spending the next two to four years in a jail cell next to Barry Bonds. Now that’s scary.