This started with Brian McNamee saying he injected Roger Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone from 1998 to 2001. Fast forward to Monday, the Clemens press conference, and a secretly recorded telephone conversation.
As someone who routinely does telephone interviews, I can tell you if the other person doesn’t know you’re recording, you have the power. You know what not to say, and what subjects to avoid. You can move the conversation into areas you’d like and prod the other person into saying things you want him to say. Afterward, you decide which sections to make public. By the way, sections of the Clemens/Brian McNamee phone-conversation tape were bleeped out.
But, it was an interesting conversation, both men revealing nothing that could damage their case while prodding the other person to compromise himself. The long, 17-minute conversation was unnaturally vague on both sides.
Clemens says, “I don’t know why you said I used steroids.” This can be understood in two ways, Clemens doesn’t know why McNamee ratted him out or Clemens doesn’t know why McNamee made up a story.
McNamee said, “You treated me like family. You treated me better than anybody.” And then, “Tell me what you want to me to do.” Seemed like McNamee repeated that sentence 50 times. That can be taken two ways, “I’ve done you wrong by informing” or “I’ve done you wrong by lying” and I’ll do anything to make it right.
Or, maybe there is a third option. Maybe McNamee was taping the conversation too.
McNamee says, “I’m in your corner. I didn’t want this to happen, I also don’t want to go to jail.” Is McNamee saying he doesn’t want to go to jail so he’s telling the truth to the feds, or he doesn’t want to go to jail so he’s giving the feds what they want to hear?
Clemens says, “So much of it is untrue.” How much of “it” is untrue? Which specific parts are untrue?
What would be the first sentence out of your mouth if you were Clemens talking to your accuser for the first time since his statements became public? How about, “WHY IN THE FUCK ARE YOU LYING ABOUT ME!?” That would be the second sentence, the third sentence, the fourth sentence, and on until you got an answer.
Roger Clemens is using the Marion Jones defense. Attack, threaten, sue. It worked for Jones. For awhile. Turns out she was attacking and threatening while negotiating with the feds to become a government witness. The feds decided she was unreliable and withdrew. Jones pled guilty.
Clemens, by using this tactic, provokes the wrong sorts of people: congressmen (who see headlines), Jeff Novitzky, the IRS special agent who nailed Barry Bonds (who sees a high-profile arrest), reporters (who see several months’ worth of stories), and lawyers (who see money). Clemens has called them out.
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had previously scheduled a hearing on the Mitchell Report with baseball suits: baseball commissioner Bud Selig and union boss Donald Fehr, among others. Baseball players were not going to be called as witnesses.
Now the committee has “invited” Clemens to testify along with Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch (former Yankees teammates), Kirk Radomski (ex-Mets clubhouse guy and steroid dealer/government witness), and Brian McNamee. All the fellas must be happy that Clemens made this time in the national spotlight happen for them.
So far, Clemens has made a pouty video that wound up on YouTube, the 60 Minutes interview, followed by filing a lawsuit against McNamee for defamation, followed the next day by a nationally televised press conference where he promised to attend and testify at a congressional hearing scheduled for January 16.
Clemens has thereby beckoned McNamee’s lawyers to come on down to Texas and have a deposition party. He has given himself several opportunities to testify under oath where every word he says will be gone over by many lawyers looking for anything they can use.
No one born of woman can come out of a serious investigation into his life looking clean. Clemens won’t be the first. It is already apparent Clemens can’t keep his mouth shut.
I should point out that Clemens could say to the congressional committee, or have his lawyer say, he has a lawsuit (initiated by him) in the hopper and regretfully cannot testify at this time. That worked for Barry Bonds. And, Clemens can drop his lawsuit at any moment, thus avoiding a deposition.
Or, we can take him at his word and believe the crazy bastard is going to testify in Congress and press his lawsuit.
I’ll go with crazy.