Sorting Through the Clemens Mess

Gene Wojciechowski recently posted an article over on ESPN.com (heard of it?), breaking down the Clemens defense and how it doesn’t hold water.

I don’t want to get up on a soapbox here, even though that’s typically what blogs are used for, but I have a really hard time with journalists proclaiming guilt or innocence in the case of Roger Clemens right now.  

The only evidence we have, at this very moment, of Roger Clemens doing steroids, is the testimony of Brian McNamee.  If this were a court of law, this case would never have seen trial.  One man’s testimony is not enough.  

You would think that George Mitchell could have used a little better judgment regarding the standard of evidence he presented before unleashing dozens of names on the public, labeling players steroid users.  These are public figures who’s reputation, livelihood, and historical context will all be effected by what is printed in this report.  Mitchell treated it as if he were turning in a high school book report, pulling facts from wherever he could get them without substantiating any of them beyond two sources, a professional trainer facing federal prison time who was forced to testify and a clubhouse attendant selling PEDs on the side.

It may very well be that every single shred of testimony from McNamee and Kirk Radomski presented was one hundred percent true.  It could also be true that McNamee was pressured to provide the feds with a big fish, a name that would show definitive progress in this supposed battle against steroids.  

There is no firm evidence to suggest that McNamee was coerced into his testimony and to portray that without fact is reckless.  What we’ve been left with is a situation of conflicting stories, one of which is untrue.  The motivations of each party is that of self preservation: McNamee to keep himself out of jail, Clemens to protect a reputation and career considered by many to be the greatest of his generation.   Until we get more facts, I don’t think it’s possible to proclaim Clemens guilty or innocent.

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