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Clemens' phone conversation with McNamee

The plot in Roger Clemens' situation thickens.

Yesterday, Clemens and his attorney played a recorded telephone conversation that took place just days ago between Clemens and his former personal trainer and accuser before the Mitchell investigation, Brian McNamee, during which Clemens again strongly suggests his innocence and then explicitly expresses it.

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The recorded telephone conversation is not completely fulfilling -- not in the definitive way the public is conditioned to from TV shows like CSI or Law & Order -- because McNamee neither refutes nor endorses Clemens' contention of innocence. McNamee repeatedly asks Clemens what the pitcher wants him to do. Clemens does not answer that directly, possibly to avoid any appearance of witness tampering. Clemens does say that he wants the truth to come out in some fashion.

Clemens held a news conference yesterday, during which he obviously was seething and answered reporters' questions, much as he did those asked by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes Sunday night. Barring any more developments, the next step in this soap opera is next week before Congress, where Clemens has agreed to testify about the steroids issue.

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In any event, Clemens' full frontal assault on allegations that he was a steroid and human growth hormone user continues. In denials through his attorney, through his foundation, on 60 Minutes, in filing a lawsuit against McNamee, during the news conference yesterday and again, presumably, next week before Congress, Clemens has maintained that he has never used performance-enhancing drugs.

McNamee's assertions that appear in the Mitchell Report came as a result of pressure applied by federal investigators looking into McNamee's possible involvement in handling drugs. During his talk with Clemens, McNamee described himself as a man under great pressures, financially drained and facing family difficulties.

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