Double Standards: Bonds vs. Clemens

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[Speaking Truth To Empower]

Last Wednesday, Roger Clemens surely committed perjury before the Capitol Hill House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding his use of steroids, yet criticism of Clemens pales compared to the media’s excoriation of Barry Bonds.

Are racial double-standards at work here? 

Some pretend race isn’t a factor in media’s crucifixion and conviction of Bonds on steroid use. But they lie, as Clemens did. If Bonds was faced with the kind of evidence that confronted Clemens in the Rayburn Building do you think media’s response would be this tepid?

Since last week’s disaster, media’s coverage of Clemens’ perjury-filled ramblings haven’t gotten the amount of scrutiny it deserves, especially, since the steroid spotlight’s dark shadow is lopsidedly locked on Bonds. Sure, some made fun of Clemens’ creation of words such as “misremembers.” But the fact that Clemens’ pitiful performance repeatedly exposed him as a steroid user seems to be lost on these media truth seekers. 

More evidence that he lied emerged today with a New York Times report that someone has come forward to offer a photograph showing that Clemens attended a party at the home of Jose Canseco: Clemens denied that he attended the party. His former trainer Brian McNamee has said he saw Clemens speaking with Canseco at the party and that shortly afterwards Clemens approached McNamee regarding performance enhancing drugs.

Yet, several media entities even referred to the Clemens testimony's outcome as a “he said, he said,” insinuating it was a question of either believing Clemens, or, his former trainer McNamee.

Did these pundits watch the hearing? Let’s be clear, the evidence against Clemens, compared to Bonds, is overwhelming. And, the strongest pieces of evidence came from parties other than McNamee, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Incredibly, some suggest that the “evidence” against Bonds is stronger than Clemens. Really? Let’s review the “evidence” against him. First, there is the recent allegation by the government that Bonds tested positive for steroids in 2000.

But that charge has to be proven. Then there is the book “Game of Shadows,” which purportedly has details from a sealed grand jury deposition. However, we only have the word of these writers to judge. Shouldn’t other parties analyze those tran scri pts before we pass final judgment? But, hey why should we need corroboration, isn’t the fact that he’s a “surly Black” enough?

Some cite the claims of his ex-girlfriend, Kimberley Bell, who said he admitted to using steroids. Question: Do spurned lovers make impartial witnesses? And the other “evidence” cited is that Greg Anderson, of BALCO, was Bonds’ trainer and Bonds got bulkier as he approached forty, while hitting home-runs. Isn’t it funny nobody questioned Clemens success as a pitcher of forty?
Anyone who plays baseball for any length of time, as I did, knows that pitching is the most strenuous position on the diamond. Why do you think starting pitchers need three or four days rest? Sure, squatting catching 90-mile-per-hour fastball foul-tips off the face-mask, shins, ankles and arms while getting plowed into protecting home-plate is tough. But the wear and tear of pitching is another story.  

Prolonged pitching, especially at the Major League level where Clemens has been for twenty-four years, is physically demanding often leading to assortment of injuries. Those who make the argument Bonds must have used steroids because of his age failed—or conveniently refused—to ask those same questions of a white baseball pitching icon.

Bonds, was pulverized by the press on hearsay circumstantial evidence. Clemens is now getting a pass, even after his tongue betrayed his credibility. If race isn’t the main reason for this variance what is it? If Bonds was a “nice” white male, would the media have attacked him this vociferously?

Now, let’s examine the proof against Clemens. Exhibit A: Andy Pettitte. Pettitte testified before Congress, on three separate occasions, that Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 that he had used HGH. Clemens claims that Pettitte “misremembers” the event and “misheard” him. He claims that he told him about his wife’s use of HGH. There are several things wrong with this fable. 

First of all, Clemens repeatedly told congressional members that he had no knowledge whatsoever of steroids. However, when pressed he said it was his wife who used. The next thing is that by his own admission his wife didn’t use HGH until 2003. So, how could Pettitte “misremember” something that hadn’t yet happened? And, are we to believe that his wife found out about HGH without his knowledge, then, used his trainer to inject herself? 

McNamee named three players, in particular, that he injected: Clemens, Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch. The other question Clemens hasn’t been able to answer is why he’s the only one of three protesting that McNamee didn’t “juice” him? Why would McNamee only be lying about him?

And here is the smoking gun: the MRI report results, introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), from Clemens’ Toronto Blue Jays days. The MRI was for an abscess on Clemens butt. Clemens’ assertions that the abscess was from a B-12 shot was thoroughly refuted by the testimony of medical experts, including personnel—like Dr. Ron Taylor—with the Blue Jays.

In fact, Lynch was told that this abscess was a more consistent side effect of the steroid Winstrol. So, why is the media treating Clemens with kid gloves now the evidence he used steroids, and lied to the Congress about it is stacking up?

The answer is right there in Black and white.


Colins is a member of The Black Star News' Editorial Board.

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