Roger Clemens: Please Shut Up

A day after being named in the Mitchell Report, Roger Clemens is fighting back, vehemently denying that he ever used performance enhancing drugs, and going so far as to hire an attorney to defend himself.

Strangely, there are no direct quotes from Clemens himself — only words from his mouthpiece / lawyer Rusty Hardin. No denial from Clemens, and no threat of a lawsuit … though slander was mentioned.

Here is what Hardin did say:

“Roger Clemens vehemently denies allegations in the Mitchell report that he used performance-enhancing steroids, and is outraged that his name is included in the report based on the uncorroborated allegations of a troubled man threatened with federal criminal prosecution. Roger has been repeatedly tested for these substances and he has never tested positive. There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today … I am extremely upset that Roger’s name was in this report based on the allegations of a troubled and unreliable witness who only came up with names after being threatened with possible prison time. ….

Brian McNamee, a former trainer who worked with Clemens on the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees, has repeatedly denied these current claims, including in June of this year when he was first contacted by federal investigators. According to McNamee, after a day of repeated denials to federal investigators, he changed his story under the threat of federal criminal prosecution. He says he was then forced by those federal prosecutorial authorities to tell the same story for inclusion in the Mitchell report. ….

I have great respect for Senator Mitchell. I think an overall look at this problem in baseball was an excellent idea. But I respectfully suggest it is very unfair to include Roger’s name in this report. He is left with no meaningful way to combat what he strongly contends are totally false allegations. He has not been charged with anything, he will not be charged with anything and yet he is being tried in the court of public opinion with no recourse. That is totally wrong.”

Ho-hum. That part about McNamee’s story not being corroborated, by the way, is hogwash. In addition to McNamee, Jose Canseco, Kirk Radomski, and Jason Grimsley all claim that Clemens was a user. That other part about McNamee denying the claims is one of the funniest parts of Hardin’s statement. Of COURSE McNamee denied everything initially. It was only after the feds (FBI and IRS) showed him all the evidence they had, which let him know that they already knew the truth, that he began to sing like a bird.

This statement by Clemens through his attorney is distasteful, to say the least. Roger the dodger had every opportunity to defend himself prior to the release of the Mitchell Report — but like every other self-righteous loser in the Report, he chose not to answer the allegations.

Quite strange, isn’t it, that Clemens’ career was all but over when he left the Red Sox after his 10-13 season in 1996 — and then suddenly, at ages 34 and 35, he has perhaps the most dominating seasons of his career? Isn’t it also strange that the PED allegations come about in 1997? According to Jose Canseco, he and Clemens spoke at length about the pleasures and performance gains of Winstrol and Deca-Durobolin, and the effectiveness of “stacking” steroids, way back then. So far, Canseco has not been caught in a lie. He may be a little crazy, but he’s yet to be found a liar.

The best thing Clemens could have done after the release of the Mitchell Report was to shut the heck up. Let it lie, and hope to god that everyone will eventually forget about it. But no, he has to deny that he ever did PEDs, and play us for suckers. Hasn’t he made enough money? As a player he’s pocketed in excess of $120M, and perhaps made as much with endorsements and licensing. It’s not like anyone is going to take his money away, and with him retired (we think), it’s not as though the accusations are going to cause him to lose any future endorsements or salary — not that he needs any more dough.

I suppose he’s worried that his Cy Youngs and 350+ wins now look tainted, and perhaps he’s further worried that because of the Mitchell Report, he won’t be voted into the Hall of Fame. But he shouldn’t be worried about either of those things. First of all, the entire era of baseball from about 1982 to the present day is tainted. Secondly, there are plenty of sappy journalists who will still vote the juicers into the Hall. Barry Bonds will get in, Clemens will get in, and myriad other drug abusers will get in. The majority of the “experts” are filled with justifications — such as the crockery that these players would still have put up Hall-worthy numbers — and they’ll vote them in anyhow.

The sad thing is, eventually, the Hall of Famers — or at least, those who entered in the 21st century — will be as meaningless as the “records” that have been “broken” in the last 20 years. We’ll never know for certain who was juicing, who wasn’t, and how much the juice affected everyone’s numbers.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. RockStar78 December 14, 2007 at 4:04 pm
    Isn’t it funny how Rusty states that “Roger has been repeatedly tested for these substances and he has never tested positive”, but conveniently leaves out the fact that back around 1997-2001 (when Roger was alleged to inject steroids), there was no testing done at that time? Who cares if he tested negative in 2005 or 2006 or 2007? Way to skew the data to make it sound good Rusty.
  2. isuzudude December 14, 2007 at 6:35 pm
    unrelated subject: the SF Chronicle is reporting Dan Haren has been trded to Arizona for 6 prospects. I don’t know athing about any of the guys being traded, but I’d equate it to the Mets giving up F-Mart, Gomez, Carp, Mulvey, Guerra, and Neise. If that’s accurate, I’m glad Oma didn’t pull the trigger. Blanton might not be far behind….is it time to revisit Gomez/Humber/Mulvey for Blanton?