There was always a danger when Roger Clemens pressed his case that he was innocent of the accusations in the Mitchell Report that the whole thing could blow up in his face. Now there's word that the congressional committee that heard testimony from Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee may send a letter to the Justice Department recommending it look into Clemens' testimony.
It was one thing to go on 60 Minutes and make his argument to the American public. But when he started answering questions for congressional staffers in preparation for his House committee appearance earlier this month and, of course, appeared in front of Rep. Henry Waxman's and Rep. Tom Davis' committee in his faceoff with Brian McNamee, the ante was raised significantly.
Without being privy to what his lawyers told him, one can only speculate that Clemens' attorneys advised him to keep his mouth shut about the allegations in the Mitchell Report other than maybe that first statement he issued right after the report came out. Maybe they didn't even want him to do that much. That's a lawyer's default position in most cases -- keep quiet.
Clemens could have gone the Mark McGwire route. At the core of the issue, the suspicions and accusations about McGwire and Clemens are the same regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs. McGwire may have been pilloried for refusing to answer questions in front of Congress but he doesn't have the feds breathing down his neck either. What will his silence cost the home run hitter? Maybe Cooperstown. Or maybe down the road, attitudes will be different and electors will send him there; it's not as if he's barred from entrance like Pete Rose.
But Clemens decided to fight this out. Earlier this week, his son Kolby said that his father was even planning to attend the Houston Astros training camp to work with minor leaguers.
Anyone making a guess about Clemens' innocence or guilt is making just that -- a guess. You may feel that the circumstantial evidence is convincing or you may feel it amounts to little. If Clemens is telling the truth -- as difficult a notion as that may be for some people to even consider -- then he is showing more fortitude now than at any time during his playing career. But if this outspokenness on his part comes back to haunt him, more than being guilty of using PEDs, more than being guilty of perjury, what will really have done in Roger Clemens is being guilty of arrogance.
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