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Roger Clemens - Undecided

I watched Roger Clemens last night on 60 Minutes, denying his use of performance enhancing drugs.  I really want to believe that Roger is clean.  He's the greatest pitcher of our time, and is an inspiration to all of us over 40 athletic wannabes.

Unfortunately, we've become so jaded by athletes' denials in this area.  Too many times an athlete who denied taking performance enhancing drugs has admitted it later.  If Roger is guilty, he'd be denying this just as vigorously as he could, until he had no choice.  After all, he isn't likely to get into legal trouble, and his career is probably over.  He's fighting about his legacy, not his freedom.

But, if Roger is innocent, I feel bad for him.  In court, there is a presumption of innocence.  In the court of public opinion, there is a presumption of guilt.  He can complain about this, but he can't change it.  So, he needs to build up the perception that he is innocent.  He's started doing some of these things:

  • He has filed a suit against his accuser, Brian McNamee.  More likely to be a move that an innocent person would take than the action of a guilty person.  According to the suit, McNamee says he was pressured to implicate Clemens by some of the BALCO prosecutors.  The proof of this part of the suit should be interesting.  Clemens should reveal this information right away.
  • He's going to testify in Congress.  That raises the stakes.  If he lies there, it's a federal offense.  McNamee will testify, too.  Unless someone changes their story, one of these guys is going to be in legal trouble.  And, McNamee seems to be boxed in.  If he lied to the Mitchell Commission, he also faces felony charges.
  • He should continue to demand that someone come up with evidence showing where he got the performance enhancing drugs.  According to McNamee, Clemens supplied these, but they had to come from somewhere.  If there is a paper trail, it shouldn't be that hard to find.  If someone wants to investigate this, Clemens should assist them.
  • I think that he should take a lie detector test.  It's not proof, and it's not reliable.  But, it would give him another thing to pound home when he talks about his innocence.
  • He should continue to talk to the media.  If he has nothing to hide, he should remain accessible.  It's a pain, but his reputation should be worth fighting for.

Taking a low profile and waiting for this to blow over is what a guilty person would do.  If Clemens can build up some momentum that takes credibility away from the Mitchell Report, he has a chance of reversing public opinion.  Right now, I am on the fence.


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After Clemens took the step of playing the phone call with McNamee and Clemens going ahead to testify to Congress, I think that Clemens is either innocent or very confident/cocky about his ability to lie and not get caught. Since Clemens as been aggressive, he'll have to support a deep and thorough investigation. If he's guilty, he got the performance enhancing drugs from somewhere. That will come out during an investigation, and Roger will be through. But, he just might be innocent. If he is, I feel sorry for him.

As soon as I heard that McNamee was promised immunity for testifying against others, Clemens's credibility zoomed. The practice of promising immunity in return for testimony is way too often abused. Just like torture, it gets you whatever you want to hear -- not necessarily the truth.

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