Thursday, February 14, 2008

Roger Clemens: My Answer Is Yes, No and Maybe

I'm sure I'll miss some but here are highlights of the bizarrely inconsistent testimony by Roger Clemens.

1. Andy Pettitte couldn't possibly believe Clemens did HGH or steroids -- why? Because if Pettitte did believe that he would have talked to Roger about it before using HGH himself. But of course Pettitte swore under oath that Clemens told him he had used HGH.

2. Andy Pettitte believed Clemens did HGH or steroids because Pettitte "misremembered" a conversation -- Uh-huh. One of your best friends drops the bombshell revelation that he is cheating and using illegal drugs and you freak out and tell your wife. But in fact what your friend REALLY said was he saw a TV show about old men who take HGH to maintain their quality of life. (It's used for senility.) This is insane.

3. Andy Pettitte got confused because Roger Clemens told him that Roger's WIFE did HGH once. This conversation was in 1999 or 2000. But Roger later said his wife only did HGH once in 2003.

4. Brian McNamee told the truth about Andy Pettitte under the threat of going to jail if he lied in any way. Andy Pettitte confirmed this.

5. Brian McNamee told the truth about Chuck Knoblauch under the threat of going to jail if he lied in any way. Chuck Knoblauch confirmed this.

6. Brian McNamee lied about Roger Clemens under the threat of going to jail if he lied in any way and even though secret conversations Clemens taped show McNamee torn up about his confessions and offering to go to jail even though he's afraid to, in order to protect Clemens.

7. Roger Clemens had absolutely no idea he would be mentioned in the Mitchell Report. The numerous, repeated, specific requests to speak to Clemens through the players association and others -- the only ways Mitchell was told he could reach players -- well, those people never bothered to mention these requests to Clemens. (I would have liked to see them under oath too yesterday.)

8. Roger Clemens absolutely DID know he would be in the Mitchell Report because Brian McNamee told Roger's people and Roger and Andy Pettitte hired lawyers and had McNamee deposed to find out what he had said before the report came out. Clemens knew at least several days before if not a week or more from McNamee alone.

9. Roger Clemens would have broken down doors to talk to Mitchell if he knew he was going to be in the report.

10. Roger knew he was going to be in the report and did nothing but hire lawyers and grill McNamee to find out what he'd said.

11. Roger Clemens told 60 Minutes his lawyers told him to have nothing to do with the Mitchell investigation.

12. Roger Clemens had no idea he'd be mentioned in the Mitchell report.

13. Roger Clemens was NOT at a BBQ held by Jose Canseco. Jose Canseco says also Clemens wasn't there. It's outrageous to suggest he was. This is the site of their first conversation about illegal drugs, per McNamee. Of course the location isn't really germane -- they could be arguing about the suit Clemens wore when they first discussed it (I was NOT wearing a brown suit that day; I never wear brown suits.) Nonetheless, McNamee insists Clemens was there and also he believes the nanny for the Clemens family was there as well. Absolutely not, says Roger.

14. Roger Clemens was NEAR the party, says Clemens. It's POSSIBLE he dropped off his wife and kids beforehand or picked them up afterwards. So he was there, he just wasn't really there.

15. The nanny -- The committee asked for contact info for the nanny on a Friday. Clemens and his lawyers ignored the request. They were asked again on Sunday. They ignored the request. They were asked again on Monday and finally gave up the contact info. Meanwhile, Clemens contacted the nanny himself -- the only person who might conceivably contradict his claim that he absolutely was nowhere near this party -- and invited her to his home on Sunday (they hadn't seen each other in seven years) where Clemens told her what was up and reminded her that he WASN'T at the party. Guess what? The woman testified under oath that Clemens was indeed at the party. Hence Clemens claiming he might have dropped his family off and been sort of, you know, NEAR the party.

16. Clemens says he NEVER talked to Brian McNamee about HGH.

17. Clemens says he DID talk to Brian McNamee about HGH and was very angry McNamee gave HGH to Clemens' wife before a Sports Illustrated shoot in 2003.

18. Roger Clemens and his lawyers insist angriy they absolutely did NOT push for this public testimony and it's outrageous that the committee headed by Waxman says it only happened because Clemens insisted on it. The committee insists they told Clemens there was no need for public testimony but he and his lawyers demanded it. But no, this is absurd.

19. Roger Clemens and his lawyers admit they DID insist on public testimony because they suspected that after the depositions were given that the committee's report would be harsh against Roger and they wanted the opportunity to make their case to the public at large.

I find this all very depressing. I've never been a fan of Clemens but I hate to find out he was a cheat and that some of the Yankee dynasty of the 90s is tainted. It's almost as depressing as finding out how widespread cheating is in baseball. Almost as depressing as finding out how little the owners, the players who didn't cheat and the fans care about this cheating. I've never liked A-Rod but I dread the possibility of bim being a cheat as well. I'm depressed that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are cheats and that little kids who looked up to them are now embarrassed by that. But as sordid as it all is, I would much rather deal with it all and get real safeguards in place and have a level playing field where people don't cheat and kids in high school and college don't feel obliged to break the law and risk their health in order to play ball. I am not experiencing schaudenfreude here. But I'm sorry: If the ever-changing excuses and half-truths and absurdities Roger Clemens offered up (Andy Pettitte confused Roger discussing a TV show with Roger confessing to using HGH?) don't make you shake your head, you are in complete denial. The guy is lying.

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