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Roger Clemens brought this on himself

Aug 19, 2010, 1:47 PM EDT

We can argue about whether Congress should have been involved in the steroids mess to begin with, but the fact is that they were, and Roger Clemens deserves a lot of the blame for that.

We can argue — as many have in the past — that Congress should never have been involved in the steroids business in the first place. Personally, I think their primary interest was grandstanding and I found it all distasteful.

But the hearings that led to Clemens’ testimony and now his indictment were certainly within Congress’ broad powers.  More importantly, however, it was Clemens who made himself such a fat and inviting target for their opportunism, and it has led to his downfall.

Congress’ interest in Clemens came on the heels of weeks of denials by
Clemens of the allegations against him contained in the Mitchell Report.

  • Within days of the December 13, 2007 report, Clemens lawyer, Rusty
    Hardin, attacked the credibility of Brian McNamee, Clemens’ primary
    accuser, calling him “a troubled and unreliable witness”;
  • On January 6, 2008, Clemens appeared on “60 Minutes,” vehemently denying that he ever took PEDs;
  • The following day Clemens filed a defamation suit against McNamee,
    claiming that his statements to Mitchell and his investigators were
    lies. The lawsuit was subsequently dismissed, with said dismissal being
    upheld by an appellate court earlier this year;
  • On that same day, Clemens held a bizarre press conference in which he
    played a recorded telephone conversation with Brian McNamee which, it
    appeared anyway, Clemens was trying to make McNamee out as a liar or a
    shakedown artist.
  • On January 28, 2008, Clemens’ agent, Randy Hendricks, released an
    18,000-word statistical report purporting to establish that Clemens’
    baseball career was subject to a typical year-to-year variation in
    performance, with the implication being that Clemens did not take PEDs (my analysis of that report here);

You could not have made yourself bigger piece of wriggling Congress bait if you took a year to draw up a plan to do so. George Mitchell is a former colleague of those guys. By so loudly declaring him to be incompetent (which Clemens was, in effect, doing) Clemens all but ensured a subpoena. 

And yes, I’ve heard it before: “but what if he really didn’t take PEDs!”  I get that, and I don’t think someone who didn’t do something should cop to it simply for PR purposes. But even if Clemens found it intolerable to admit to taking PEDS, he could have issued a simple denial and said a few words about how, while suing to clear his name was tempting, the benefits to such a course were minor (“I don’t need a court to tell me what I already know”) and the hassle extreme (a few choice — and true — words about how hard it is for a celebrity to sue for defamation would have done the trick).

But the Rocket protested too much, either because he received bad advice or because he was too bullheaded to see the pros and cons of various courses of action.  As a result, he was hauled before Congress.  As a result, all kinds of seedy muck from his personal life came out into the open.  All of this could have been avoided.

“Not giving in” is a mantra you hear from all of the best starting pitchers. And Clemens was certainly one of the best to ever have played the game.  But what makes one successful on the baseball diamond does not necessarily make one successful off it.  And Clemens is learning this the hard way.

  1. walk - Aug 19, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    I wonder how much money this is going to cost. Good thing the governments not in debt or anything and caught this career master criminal.

  2. gemf89 - Aug 19, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Lying to politicians is a crime? Quite the irony.

  3. Cru11 - Aug 19, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    I’m just glad you found a picture of Roger and that awful 300 career wins patch on his glove. That was so vain and ridiculous.

  4. Florida727 - Aug 19, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    walk and gemf, I’m troubled… I can’t decide which of you had the better one-liner. Unless you’ve copyrighted them, I am going to use them :) I’ve only met Clemens once, and impressions don’t determine innocence or guilt, but he seemed like an awfully nice guy. He was coming off a golf course with his wife and we just stopped him to say “hi” (in the rain no less, talk about a perfect opportunity to blow someone off, but he didn’t) and tell him about a better course we play. It was brief, but he was very cordial.
    Since we’re indicting people, any chance we could indict the President to get him to actually PROVE whether or not he was actually born in America? Or maybe get him to testify under oath whether or not he’s a Muslim? Just wondering…
    Remember to mark your calendars folks… take out the trash in November.

  5. Randall - Aug 19, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Well, at least Congress accomplished something. Give yourselves a raise gang.

  6. paul-e - Aug 19, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Try to stay on topic there, buddy. And when I need a comment about baseball from a Floridian, I prefer to get it from OldGator.

  7. Fthrvic - Aug 19, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    good call gemf89

  8. D-Luxxx - Aug 19, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Funny, but if I remember correctly there was only one candidate who wasn’t born in the U.S. and that was John McCain. Unless of course you count Panama as being part of the U.S…

  9. Ice22 - Aug 19, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Clemens is looking at 30 years for lying to Congress? Congress lies to us every day and all they get is re-elected. What a crazy world we live in.

  10. D-Luxxx - Aug 19, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    I have absolutly no sympathy for Clemens. When you lie under oath and get caught, you deserve everything coming to you. There’s a reason you can plead the 5th.

  11. Inigo Montoya - Aug 19, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Birth Certificate? Try doing some research beyond listening to idiotic talking heads. The birth certificate has been out there for years.
    As for a reminder on taking out the trash in November, no thanks. I take out my trash every week. You might want to look into a weekly service in your area. I’m sure your neighbors would appreciate it, even if you don’t realize how bad you smell.

  12. twain45 - Aug 19, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Who dresses you. Obama is an American citizen, and you are an idiot–don’t need a certificate; you just proved you are an idiot.

  13. JPL9 - Aug 19, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    When Roger Clemens testified he did that under oath. Martha Stewart lied to the FBI and she was not under oath. Guess what she still went to jail.

  14. bobauss - Aug 19, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    Why can’t the Yankees buy Clemens a good lawyer. they buy the pennant every year !!!!

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