(Long Island, N.Y.) There’s an old saying that you can hear on any given day around a courthouse, and it simply is, “You can even indict a ham sandwich.” Handing down an indictment is a far cry from getting a conviction. But no matter how you slice it, Roger Clemens is in hot water.
A federal grand jury in Washington, DC indicted the former ace righthander on six counts, with charges stemming from Obstruction of Congress, False Statements and Perjury from his testimony at the 2008 Committee Hearings about his usage of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.
Apparently there were a few people that didn’t believe Clemens when he said matter-of-factually on February 5, 2008, “”I am just making it as possibly clear as I can. I haven’t done steroids or growth hormone.”
In turn, part of the indictment reads, “In truth and fact, as Clemens well knew when he made this sworn statement, Clemens knowingly received injections of anabolic steroids while he was a Major League Baseball player.”
Since Day One, the Texas native has denied any and all allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs. The majority of the testimony that stated otherwise came from Brian McNamee, his former trainer and strength and conditioning coach on two teams that Clemens played on, the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.
McNamee, who is identified in the indictment as Strength Coach #1, gave damaging testimony in the Mitchell Report that included nine pages on Clemens’ PED use alone. The ink was barely dry on the report before Clemens made his first statement denying everything that McNamee had reported to the investigators. His dramatic appearance on “60 Minutes” and then his days of testimony seated within arm’s distance of McNamee were fodder for sports junkies for months and even years to follow.
Ask the average person in the street and they will probably say that they feel that Clemens used PEDs at some point in his career. All of Clemens’s denials and showboating by his attorney Rusty Hardin aside, it is difficult to believe that he was totally clean while maintaining the skills from his twenties into his forties.
Now the next move belongs to Clemens. Does he continue his denial and take this to trial? Or does he take a plea to a lesser charge and hope it goes away? He can roll the dice, but that may or may not result in jail time for him (most likely not). Congress and the federal government are obviously using Clemens as a target to set an example and baseball can look at this one of two ways. They can view it as a major black eye that one of their all-time great pitchers has shamed the game and himself, or they can say that the system is working and that all avenues available to them will be used to clean up the National Pastime.
The screaming headlines do make it sound as if Clemens has been found guilty of the highest possible crime, but in reality this is just a political ploy to show who is boss.