I just got done watching Darryl Strawberry on "The O'Reilly Factor" on FOX NEWS. The "Straw Man" says Roger Clemens is innocent and Bill O'Reilly(surprisingly or not so surprisingly) agrees with Strawberry but it seems they agree for different reasons. Strawberry is basing his opinion on the fact that he played against Clemens on the same field and feels he is a guy of integrity. O'Reilly took the perspective of "Innocent until proven guilty."
I'd hate to ever agree with O'Reilly, but he make a good point. Clemens has been convicted in the media. Lets take a moment to think about why this is happening. You have this cloud that's been hanging over the game for the past few years thanks in large part to Barry Bonds and his continued denials on whats been documented as pretty lengthy performance-enhancing drug use. You combine that with the collective holding of one's breath that was forced on us by the 20 month investigation which culminated in the releasing of the Mitchell Report and you have a media that's out for blood.
I was one of the members of the media who received the long-awaited report just seconds before Senator George Mitchell stated his findings. And the goal of the media was clear: FIND NAMES
Nothing else mattered. The impact on kids, the impact on players and the impact on the game and its history were an afterthought. All we did was scan for the names. And when we found the big ones, we immediately started texting our respective media bases to tell them which ones we found. Forget what it said in terms of the evidence against the players listed. All we wanted were the names. That's what was sensational and that's what would grab headlines.
Who knows what kind of pressure was put on the two trainers that served as the major source for the Mitchell Report. In some cases we have cancelled checks. In others we have packing slips. In the case of Clemens we have one persons word versus another. And the last time I checked, it would take a lot more than that to convict someone in a court of law. Now granted, this is not a court of law and its largely a court of public opinion and when all is said and done, peoples careers and their legacies will be based on the opinions of a selected few in the form of the Baseball Writers Association.
I do not have a HOF vote. Maybe someday I will but its unlikely. Based on the information I have in front of me, Roger Clemens is still going to the Hall of Fame. I don't have a single positive steroid test or any test for that matter that shows he had an illegal substance in his system. The same cannot be said for Barry Bonds. So before you start to say it's a "white and black thing," take that into consideration for moment. All I have is one trainers word. From accounts I have read on the Mitchell Report, trainers were the most vulnerable to brow-beating from the staff put together to investigate on behalf of Senator Mitchell. The trainers unlike players(who have the MLBPA) were often questioned for lengthy periods of time and forced to sometimes guess whether or not they thought a player used steroids. How admissible would that be in a court of law??
Just because I believe Roger Clemens is a Hall of Famer doesn't mean I believe he is absolved. It just means that as of today, I don't have enough evidence(circumstantial or otherwise) to say a guys whole body of work should be thrown out the door because of the word of one person. But I will say this: Should further evidence come out(circumstantial or otherwise) that proves "The Rocket" did indeed use the juice, I will use my bully pulpit(the airwaves at ESPN Radio) to ensure he never gain acceptance into Cooperstown......... That is unless he buys a ticket like the rest of us.
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