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Give Roger Clemens his due process

Jan. 14, 2008

by Matt Kane

Say it ain’t so, Roger.

In the court of public opinion, Roger Clemens is guilty.

And why shouldn’t he be? If everybody and his mother believes home run king Barry Bonds ingested steroids and human growth hormones like they were Gatorade, then don’t we owe it to Bonds and the rest of the baseball world to believe Clemens did the same thing?

Why was Clemens getting off easy in the first place, compared to Bonds? We know Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson, is a crook, and now, thanks to the Mitchell Report, we know Clemens’ former trainer, Brian McNamee, is a crook. Now that Clemens name is out there and in an official report on steroids, is Clemens going to get as much heat as Bonds?

Early on, its seems Clemens is getting asked all the difficult questions Bonds has been asked over the last few years. So, I guess I applaud the general public and the reporters asking the questions for, so far, reporting the Clemens situation as they did the Bonds situation.

I said earlier that Clemens is guilty in the court of public opinion. We have to remember that, although very powerful and damaging to a person’s image, that court means absolutely nothing, legally.

Remember the Duke lacrosse team case. Everybody immediately believed the accused Duke players raped the accuser. It turns out, there was no crime committed.

We have to keep that in the back of our minds when it comes to Clemens and Bonds, too. Even though the evidence, especially McNamee’s declarations that he injected Clemens with human growth hormones, seems like overwhelming evidence, we need to sit back and let the legal and congressional system play out.

Actually, I am kind of doubtful that we will ever get the whole truth on the Clemens situation. Either Clemens is lying or McNamee is lying. It’s one man’s word against another.

Clemens has been vehemently denying he ever took steroids or HGH. But does it really matter what he says? He’s damned if he does or damned if he doesn’t. If he did take steroids and admits it, he will be an admitted cheater, and his reputation will forever be a fraud. If he denies using steroids, nobody will believe him anyway.

During both the 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace and Monday’s press conference, Clemens accepted the questions, but, in both instances, you could see how angered Clemens is over the situation, and you could see the water temperature rising to a boiling point.

Remember my Incredible Hulk reference? When David Banner got angry, his eyes turned green and his body bulged until it ripped out of his clothing as the Hulk. Clemens didn’t shred his Dockers, but it looked like he wanted to toss a car through a building.

That fiery side of Clemens has been seen on the pitching mound for over two decades.

I commend Clemens for not backing down and hiding from the media during this ordeal, but I’m not sure whether he is hurting or helping himself. I think it is a push.

Could Clemens really go on 60 Minutes and stand up in front of America’s best reporters and lie? I don’t know, but I hope not. If he was lying, will it be worth it? Maybe, or maybe not.

If Clemens did use an illegal performance enhancing drug and he immediately confessed, you wonder if he would get the same forgiveness that his friend, Andy Pettitte has been given.

Of course, Pettitte hasn’t had the career of Clemens and is lesser known, but it seems that admitting to the use of steroids or HGH is the better way to go. Pettitte said he used HGH to recover from an injury, everyone believes him, and now he is going on with his career.

I’m not sure whether to believe Clemens or not, so I will not judge him before congress and/or the courts do. Neither should you.