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The Clemens-McNamee case gets even more pathetic

Nov 12, 2009, 11:19 AM EDT

You know you’ve done something wrong in this world when a guy who is famous for being (1) an admitted liar; (2) an admitted drug dealer; and (3) who was once implicated in an alleged date-rape drug incident (and lied to police about it) sues YOU for defamation of character . . . and HAS THE STRONGER CASE!

Lawyers for Roger Clemens filed a motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by Brian McNamee, on the grounds that Clemens and his representatives weren’t serious when they accused the former trainer of trying to shake down the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.

Clemens, lawyer Rusty Hardin and others also weren’t serious when they questioned McNamee’s mental state, wrote attorney Joe Roden in the motion filed in federal court in Brooklyn, according to a report Thursday in the New York Daily News.

“They are part of the public battle of words between the two camps, and in no way suggest to the average reader that McNamee is actually mentally unfit,” Roden wrote.

THAT’S the defense? “We didn’t really mean it! It was all P.R. stuff!”  Really?!

How about a simple filing that says “Mr. McNamee, who has been shown to be a pretty big slime ball in the past few years, cannot possibly say to this court that his reputation has been damaged as a result of all of this.  Because you have no case if you have no damages, the lawsuit should be dismissed.”  Fine, pay the lawyers extra to make it sound fancy, but that’s what Clemens should be saying.

Of course, Clemens hasn’t done a single thing he should have done since the Mitchell Report came out. If he had simply shut up about it all, he may be someone’s pitching coach right now.  But between his ham-fisted P.R. offensive and his ill-advised defamation suit — which revealed to the world that he was messing around on his wife with a severly damaged country music star, possibly while she was underage — he has done more to make himself look like a slimeball than Brian McNammee ever could.

Mark McGwire has a job. Andy Pettitte was just in a World Series parade. Roger Clemens can’t show himself in public and is getting sued by a lying drug dealer for having his good name besmirched.  And he’s losing!

Great moves, Rocket!

  1. Rick2009 - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say in this column you have wrote here. What happened was it was disclosed that Roger Clemens had been on roids and everything else you could imagine for several years. He decided to deny this and lie,lie,lie,deny,deny,deny. Then he decided to attack anyone and everyone that said he was on the dope. In bringing attention to himself all sorts of weird and sordid things have been learned not just about Clemens life but also about his wifes taking of roids. In your column it almost sounds like you are making Brian McNamee the bad guy here. Why is it that it is so easy to make the little person the fall guy and the rich, famous people get off with a slap on the wrist. Are we to say that every clubhouse person or trainer are to blame for what the players do. Maybe we can blame it on the batboys or the groundcrew. One of the favorite alibis of athletes is to say they didn’t know what they were taking. Accept responsibilty and be a man not some pathetic ,lying crybaby.

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM

    Why does there have to be only one bad guy? Clemens is a slimeball. So is McNamee. The fact that either of them are suing the other for defamation of character — let alone both of them suing — is ridiculous. It’s not a matter of steroid morals — they’ve both already failed that test — it’s a matter of wasting judicial resources in either of their cases.
    But while you mention it: in what other context do we hold the drug dealer less culpable than the drug user? Last I checked, the legal system views them as more morally reprehensible. Why isn’t that the case here?

  3. Omega - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    Your honor we would like to file a Writ of Fingers Crossed, Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge…
    That’s what I got from your post. This circus becomes more and more ridiculous with each turn.

  4. Rick2009 - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    I don’t know if you should be writing about sports or the judicial review. Take your pick. Let’s let the lawyers and the judges decide if this is a waste of judicial resources. I didn’t know that Brian Mcnamee was a convicted drug dealer or a rapist but then I don’t keep up with all this stuff. Surely as a respected sports writer you wouldn’t exaggerate any part of this story or tell an untruth. Everyone has told a lie at sometime in their life. But what matters here is who is lying about this case . Which one of these gentlemen perjured themselves in front of Congress. Since you have so much more information than I do why don’t you tell me which one pejured themselves in front of Congress.

  5. Old Gator - Nov 12, 2009 at 1:15 PM

    Between this case and the McCourt bagatelle, I may well run out of popcorn before the offseason is over. Hell, I think I’ll save myself five bucks a month and cancel the Legal Channel off my cable bill. Why waste money on Judge Wapner when we’ve got Craig here to handle our jurisprudential reporting?
    Speaking of which, I’ve noticed that there’s something about sports that seems to attract lawyers to…to…aw, why not, you can call it “journalism” now that both professions have sufficiently degraded themselves on all fronts. Anyway, Craig belongs to a fine tradition of lawyers turned professional sports junkies including Howard Cosell, Naguib El-Mestekawi, Andy Sloan, and former Miami late-night sports talk immortal Ed Kaplan (and what the hell ever happened to Eddie, anyway?).

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Nov 12, 2009 at 1:17 PM

    Actually, who lied in front of congress is irrelevant to this case. This case is a civil action for defamation, relating to statements said outside of congress. Clemens’ lawyers and P.R. people said that McNamee was trying to shake Clemens down for money. McNamee said that such an accusation defames his character. Whether either of them (or both of them, I believe) lied before Congress doesn’t matter.
    And for the record, I never said McNamee was a convicted drug dealer. I said that he was an admitted drug dealer. Which he is. I also never said that he was a convicted rapist. He was caught having sex in a hotel pool with a woman who was basically passed out. Witnesses told police that they believed McNamee drugged the woman. Police asked him about it and he denied it. Police indicated that they believed he was lying based on the witness statements. Ultimately, however, charges were never brought.
    He also once wrote an editorial for the New York Times defending Roger Clemens. He later admitted that the whole thing was made up.
    None of this is inconsistent with Clemens being a scumbag too, and mentioning it does not mean that I’m defending Clemens.

  7. GimmeSomeSteel - Nov 12, 2009 at 1:20 PM

    If I were the judge, I’d put the heaviest possible sanctions on all of Clemens’ lawyers. Perhaps they’d cut the BS if they were hit where it hurts a lawyer the most–in the wallet.

  8. Joey B - Nov 12, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    “But while you mention it: in what other context do we hold the drug dealer less culpable than the drug user? Last I checked, the legal system views them as more morally reprehensible. Why isn’t that the case here?”
    You have it wrong, and probably backwards. The reason why street dealers go to jail, and users don’t, is because the system rightfully punishes those that are prospering as a result of the transaction.
    In the Clemens/MacNamee transaction, the use of PEDs is what got Clemens the $28M payday from the NYY, and probably earned him in the neighborhood of $100M on top of what he might’ve made without PEDs. McNamee was probably looking at profits of a couple of thousand a year. If you took into account all the profits from all the PED dealers in the entire country, it probably doesn’t add up to the Clemens $28M deal.
    Punishing MacNamee instead of Clemens is like punishing the mule for delivering 20 kilos to the dealer.

  9. Rick2009 - Nov 12, 2009 at 1:45 PM

    So what you are saying is that it is not important who lied in front of Congress. Interesting. And McNamee is not a convicted rapist. Hum. And he is an admitted drug dealer but not convicted. Something is surely wrong with our legal system when an admitted drug dealer,shake down artist,Congressional liar,almost a rapist can walk around free like this. And you say Clemens is as big as scumbag as this guy. Are you sure you want Clemens back in Baseball. It sounds to me that both of these guys should be doing some jail time somewhere. How our heros have fallen. Who is next.

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Nov 12, 2009 at 1:50 PM

    Interesting legal theory question. Is it because they’re prospering as a result of the drug trade, or because they’re enabling others to use? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I think at least a plausible argument could be made that sentencing guidelines (for example) are set up like they are because of the indispensibility of the dealer to the process of drug abuse.
    Probably doesn’t matter. I stand by my general postion, however: Just because Clemens is a scumbag doesn’t mean that McNamee isn’t one too.

  11. Michael - Nov 12, 2009 at 2:07 PM

    I get it, commenters. You hate Clemens. Funny how all the loud and proud Yankee fans are taking a pass on this one. And the ones who ARE commenting don’t seem to have a fully formed idea of who McNamee is – they only know that Clemens was one o’ them lowdown dirty steroid users.
    Rick2009: “Let the lawyers decide”? There’s a recession on. You stop the sports industry from commenting on that stuff and you’ll put thousands out of work. (Please let one of them be Colin Cowherd.)
    LOL @ Joey B: Punishing a drug dealer is like punishing a drug mule? What??
    And Judge Wapner became a judicial reporter? When? …Ohhhh, you’re just making a funny and “Judge Wapner” is a funny sounding name. Sorry.

  12. Craig Calcaterra - Nov 12, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Rick — I can’t tell if you’re trying to pick a fight with me or just pontificating. If the latter, apologies. If the former:
    It matters in the grand scheme of things whether someone lied before Congress. It doesn’t matter to the claims asserted in the Clemens-McNamee defamation lawsuit, at least as long as someone doesn’t say something differently under oath in one than they did in the other. It “matters” if you shoplifted something last week. But whether you did or not doesn’t matter to a civil case you have going arising out of an auto accident last year.
    As for your other stuff, no there’s not necessarily anything wrong when a guy like McNamee is walking free. He walked on potential drug charges because he cooperated with George Mitchell and federal agents. If he said nothing, he almost certainly would have been charged. In fact, that is the justification he cited in defense of the suit Clemens filed against him (I was under government compulsion to talk, so anything I said was privileged under the law).
    He didn’t go to jail for rape charges because the police found insufficient evidence to bring a charge. Which, no matter what I think about McNamee, is a good thing, because I don’t like the idea of police charging people unless there is clear evidence. They did think he was lying to them, though. That’s right in the police report. Take it for what you will.
    And who says I want Clemens back in baseball? I said he could be back in baseball if he had proceeded differently. He didn’t do that though. And based on what we learned about him after the fact — mostly the McCreedy stuff — I’m not losing much sleep over what if anything happens to him.
    I get the sense that you want a world in which (a) Clemens is evil; (b) anyone opposed to Clemens is, by definition, good; and (c) anyone opposed to Brian McNamee is, by definition, a supporter of Roger Clemens. That’s not the world we live in.

  13. comeonman - Nov 12, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Actually I don’t care about this case or any steroid case and Roger

  14. willmose - Nov 12, 2009 at 2:29 PM

    Craig, I agree that no matter how much you lie about McNamee you can’t damage his reputation. Just like saying Clemens is a no good mother loving son of a puppy, can’t possibly damage his reputation. Keep Clemens out of the hall, keep him away from little league baseball games, and fast pitch softball games. Finally, let’s see McNamee and Clemens square off at the annual cow chip eating contest. My guess is Clemens pulls off the win, but I won’t bet against McNamee.

  15. Rick2009 - Nov 12, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    Well Craig; here’s the thing. There really isn’t much to this story. Brian McNamee; like a lot of other people; has made a lot of mistakes in his life and I hope he has realised that and is trying to reform.If I knew him I might think he was the worst person in the world but I only have what I have read to go by. Roger Clemens probably has an ego the size of his paychecks and will never admit he ever did anything wrong. There are a lot of baseball players that took steroids and I bet that it was someone besides McNamee that provided them with these and other drugs. I have even read that some baseball players provided other baseball players with drugs. That would make them both drug users and drug pushers. I have to wonder how this drug usage escaped the notice of other players, coaches, and clubhouse personel. How many of these individuals knew what was going on but said nothing. How many are scumbags like these two. As we find out the truth about people, there are many things we don’t like to hear. Those athletes we have idolised sometimes become less than nothing.

  16. Joey B - Nov 12, 2009 at 4:16 PM

    “LOL @ Joey B: Punishing a drug dealer is like punishing a drug mule? What??”
    Re-read it.
    If a drug dealer hires someone to bring in $10M worth of drugs that he’ll sell for $20M, and he pays the mule $10,000, who do you find more culpable? 99% of the population will say the guy making the $10M, not the guy than made the $10,000.
    Clemens paid MacNamee a couple of grand to go out to procure drugs for him, which Clemens used to enhance his career to the tunes of tens of millions. There is no doubt where the guilt is in this case. MacNamee is no angel, and his lawyer is laughing all the way to the bank dealing with the village idiots, but it’s beyond ridiculous that Clemens is paying this guy to get him drugs, and some people find the poor sap more guilty than the guy paying him and profiting from it.

  17. peteinfla - Nov 12, 2009 at 5:31 PM

    Hey Michael,
    As a proud Yankee fan, I got to tell you that I am just a disgusted with Clemens’ behavior as you are. I think it is pretty obvious in this case that even though MacNamee is a piece of slime, Clemens is at least as bad. Instead of taking the high road, ala Pettite or A-Rod and admitting what seems obvious to evryone, he made matters uglier by not only denying his guilt, but then getting into a fingerpointing and name calling war with MacNamee who as Craig points out is at the very least an admitted drug dealer. At least one of them lied to congress, MacNamee lied to the NY Times, Clemens cheated on his wife, MacNamee screwed sone drugged (Supposedly underage) girl in a pool… they are both pieces of crap! I hope they both go to prison and are forced to room together!

  18. Sal Paradise - Nov 12, 2009 at 6:18 PM

    I love this quote:

    Let’s let the lawyers and the judges decide if this is a waste of judicial resources.

    Who gets to decide if letting the lawyers and judges decide if it is a waste of judicial resources is a waste of judicial resources?
    Should we let the lawyers and the appeals court figure that one out?

  19. Rick2009 - Nov 12, 2009 at 7:08 PM

    Of course your right Sal. Let’s let sports writers decide if this is a waste of judicial resources. Or we could put it to a vote. Maybe binding arbitration . Whoever spends the most money or has the biggest soapbox gets to decide .

  20. Dean Moriarty (AKA Old Gator) - Nov 12, 2009 at 7:36 PM

    I also go by Cody Pomeray from time to time….
    Judges usually have the authority to find a lawsuit without merit and boot it to the curb, but few will, especially the ambitious ones, because they don’t want the apellate courts to overturn their rulings. For any judge looking toward bigger and better things – Commissioner of Baseball when Bud Selig finally decays out from under the job, for example – overturned rulings are kind like a gunfighter having the notches on his pistol sanded off. So to both Roger and his antagonist I would say
    Fare thee well now,
    Let your life proceed by its own design;
    Nothin’ to tell now,
    Let the words be yours, I’m wasting mine….

  21. Rick2009 - Nov 12, 2009 at 7:39 PM

    By the way Craig , just f@#$%^g with you . However, a lot of people don’t believe in kicking someone when their down even if they are a scumbag . I bet a lot of so-called trainers gave their athlete/clients illegal substances but they never got caught. And I don’t think anyone should get away with lying to congress, but that’s just my view.

  22. Paul - Nov 12, 2009 at 8:27 PM

    Not to mention he’s killing the value of his rookie card, which I happen to own three of.

  23. Lee Blitstein - Nov 12, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    I think you miss the point. Your blog insinuates that because Mcnamee is an admitted liar (he didn’t lie to congress or federal procesutors, admitted steriod dealer (sounds different than drug dealer), was accused by witnesses of non-consensual sex (where were they, when did they see him with her, etc) in a never prosecuted crime (because we all know how district attorneys hate to file rape charges) that he shouldn’t be allowed to recover if defamed.
    As a retired administrative law judge, I can assure you that the framing of issues is as important as arguing them before the court. No one is defending either character in this circus, but your blog attacks Mcnamee while tapping softly on Clemens.
    For example, you could have referred to Clemens as a cheating, lying husband having an affair with an emotionally unstable female who witnesses claim was not 18. Sounds a little different than your version doesn’t it? Framed in this fashion, both men appear equally ridiculed and equally juvinile.
    Good luck with the rest of the story.

  24. Randy - Nov 12, 2009 at 10:35 PM

    Both scumbags. Both greedy. One living in total fantasy land, trying to save his legacy, his ego, and his false image of himself. The other saying whatever he needs to say to hopefully stay out of jail. I just wish they would both go away. But when you’ve got this much money (and fame) on the line, what else can you expect? As Chris Rock so eloquently said, behind all great wealth you will find a great crime. Clemens was looking washed up, then he suddenly had this magical resurgence, because of his “rededication to training and fitness.” At the same time McMonster and Sammy Souped were hitting baseballs like golf balls. And we all loved it. And we watched them on the TV and went to the games. And we turned blind eyes because we wanted to believe the fairy tales. Are we the scumbags?

  25. Old Gator - Nov 12, 2009 at 10:59 PM

    Paul, hang onto that card and don’t use it as a noisemaker with your bicycle tire spokes just yet. If the Rocket goes to prison, this kitsch-driven culture of ours being what it is, the value of your card will go through the roof.

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