Clemens’s Hall Of Shame

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

Somewhere, Barry Bonds must be smiling, as the face and focus of Major League baseball’s steroid scandals has whitened and is now firmly fixed on Roger Clemens, who mumbled and stumbled during his tortured Capital Hill “testimony” yesterday, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

It wasn’t a good day for Clemens, who was repeatedly singed on the congressional hot-seat. One reporter noted that Clemens looked like “a worm on a hook.”

He denied ever using steroids or Human Growth Hormones (HGH) but it’s clear that he lied. At one point, Rep., Elijah Cummings (D-MD.) told Clemens “It’s hard to believe you.” Try impossible.

Committee chairman Rep., Henry Waxman (D- CA.) stated “This isn’t just a misunderstanding—someone here is lying.” Waxman declared: “We found conflicts and inconsistencies.” It was obvious Waxman saw those “inconsistencies” as Clemens’ lies. In my previous column, “Bonds: All Baseball is Tainted,” I argued that success in pitching in a player’s advancing years was harder than hitting a baseball, but some based Bonds’ steroid “guilt” on age.

Clemens’ testimony was worse than Mark McGuire’s shameful, teary-eyed implosion on March 17, 2005. At least, McGuire was smart enough not to lie to Congress, with the cameras rolling. Clemens, under oath, groped for explanations to serious contradictions tripping up over his own tongue, striking out his credibility in the process.

The day started with statements by Clemens and Brian McNamee, an ex-New York City police officer, who trained Clemens when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.

McNamee told the committee “I personally injected those drugs into the body of Roger Clemens at his direction,” referring to steroid and HGH.

According to the Mitchell Report McNamee, the strength and conditioning coach with the Blue Jays started injected Clemens in 1998, in Clemens’ Sky Dome apartment. 

Evidence from the Mitchell Report and Congressional depositions support McNamee’s version of events. One of the strongest pieces of evidence against Clemens was made by his friend, Andy Pettitte, who admitted his steroid involvement with McNamee. When the Mitchell Report became public, Pettitte confessed he was injected twice with HGH, while suffering from an elbow injury, in the hope that it would speed up his recovery.

Rep. Cummings asked Clemens—while repeatedly warning him that he was under oath —why Pettitte testified three different times to the committee that Clemens told Pettitte, in 1999 or 2000, that he had used HGH.

Clemens invented words, claiming that Pettitte must have “misheard” him and that Pettitte “misremembers” the event. He said Pettitte was confused regarding an instance when Clemens’ wife, Debbie, injected HGH, without his approval or foreknowledge. That injection was done by Brian McNamee. 

Is, Clemens telling us his wife’s use of HGH came out of the clear blue sky without any influence from him? Apparently, she wanted a boost for a 2003 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photo shoot.

How did she know about this substance? How would she know McNamee was the “right” person to administer this injection? This story calls into question Clemens’ repeated assertions to members of congress, under oath, that he never had any dealing of any kind with HGH. Why did it take so long for him to remember this account of his wife’s use of HGH? So, now his wife is the alibi to cover this lie?

The use of HGH by Clemens’ wife, according to him, happened in 2003; long after the 1999-2000 conversation. So, how could Pettitte have “misremembered” or “misheard” Clemens about an incident that hadn’t yet transpired?
There was another lie exposed by Rep. Cummings and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY.)

Clemens swore to committee members that he didn’t know Senator Mitchell wanted to see him: but that isn’t what he said on a recent “60 Minutes” interview. During that interview, when asked by Mike Wallace why he hadn’t spoken to Mitchell, Clemens said:

“I listened to my counsel. I was advised not to.”

This lie creates another obvious question. Assuming, he was telling the truth to Mike Wallace, why would his counsel advise him not to talk to Mitchell, if he had nothing to hide?

Another damning moment for Clemens came when he was questioned by Stephen F. Lynch (D-Ma.) Rep. Lynch studied an MRI report from Clemens’ days in Toronto regarding an abscess on his buttocks, which he attributed as being a side effect of a B-12 shot.

Lynch’s consultation with medical experts showed that the abscess could not have been the result of B-12 shots. He pointed out that Dr. Ron Taylor, a Toronto team doctor, assured Lynch that he had administered nearly “one thousand B-12 shots” and never had any such problem.

Moreover, Lynch declared that the doctors and trainers—with the Blue Jays—testified that B-12 shots couldn’t cause such complications. Worst of all, he indicated that side effects experienced by Clemens were more compatible with the steroid: Winstrol. Clemens had no real answer when Lynch asked “how am I to receive this testimony?”

In “testimony” filled with lies here’s another one. Clemens insists he didn’t know of Pettitte’s HGH use until the Mitchell Report’s release. Yet, his only response when a worried Pettitte asked him what he would say if asked about steroids was: “I will tell the truth.” The curious thing is his response showed no surprise to Pettitte’s questions about steroids. Wasn’t Pettitte’s steroid concern revealing his involvement? 

On Feb. 29 Barry Bonds will be in court. If the government proceeds with prosecuting Bonds, for allegedly lying to a closed-door grand jury, then Clemens must also be prosecuted for his perjury-filled “testimony” which was broadcast on television.

Bonds was convicted by the media. Clemens convicted himself in the media, before Congress.


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

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