Roger Clemens told interviewer Mike Wallace that he would say the same things to Congress that he said to “60 Minutes.” His lawsuit against Brian McNamee(his former trainer) further demonstrates his willingness to continue the discussion.
His strategy — deny, deny, deny — previously was employed by Marion Jones, Barry Bonds and other athletes accused of using PEDs.(performance enhancing drugs) In Clemens’ case, the strategy actually could work, provided that no one corroborates McNamee’s charges and fans eventually lose interest.
A casual viewer watching Clemens on “60 Minutes” might have believed him, even empathized with him. Clemens came across as passionate, a hard worker, a man betrayed. And, as he rightly lamented, it’s “guilty before innocence” for those alleged to have used PEDs.
Still, Clemens should not be surprised that he isn’t getting “the benefit of the doubt” or “an inch of respect” after providing nearly a quarter-century of elite performance and community service.
If he were the first athlete in this predicament, he indeed would merit sympathy. But not now. Not after all the lying by others.
Marion Jones, after years of denials, finally confessed to using PEDs. Barry Bonds is under indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice. Other baseball players, including Clemens’ friend Andy Pettitte, confirmed allegations in the Mitchell report that they previously denied.
Whether Clemens likes it or not, the skepticism of him is warranted, and not simply because his late-career surge mirrored Bonds’.
Clemens already has changed his story once, saying initially that he did not give McNamee any drug to inject into his body, then admitting that he received shots of the vitamin B-12 and the painkiller Lidocaine. His statements to “60 Minutes,” while forceful, echoed the refrains of others alleged to have used PEDs:
“My body never changed.”
“Why didn’t I break down?”
“I listened to my counsel.”
“Andy’s case is totally separate.” Nevermind that Pettitte, by confirming his use of human growth hormone, strengthened McNamee’s credibility. When Wallace asked why McNamee would lie about Clemens but tell the truth about Pettitte, Clemens had no answer.
“Never happened.” That’s Clemens’ story, and he’s sticking to it. He will face a perjury charge only if he testifies before Congress and appears to lie under oath. Like Bonds, he would be playing the odds if he skirted the truth, knowing that perjury is difficult to prove.
Very interesting read from Ken Rosenthal and there’s more at www.foxsports.com