Clemens acquittal doesn’t mean he didn’t cheat

Published On June 28, 2012 | By Alice Cook

I covered Roger Clemens back in 1986. The “Rocket” was just a kid from Texas. He had a big arm and huge swagger. I remember clearly the night he struck out 20 against the Seattle Mariners. That same year, Clemens won the Cy Young Award and the American League MVP. The Rocket was on fire.

It was clear from the beginning that Clemens was headed for greatness. When his numbers started to spiral with the Red Sox, Clemens went from Boston to Toronto. At the age of 33,  many believed the Rocket had returned to earth. Dan Duquette, the general manager of the Red Sox at the time, famously said that Clemens  was in the “twilight of his career.”

Hmmmm. Apparently Duquette didn’t factor in the magic of performance enhancing drugs.

Clemens went to Toronto and became a new man.  He won two Cy Young Awards with the Blue Jays, another with the Yankees, and was still going strong at age 41 when he ended his career in Houston.   His success on the mound after the age of 39 is unprecedented.

When the Mitchell Report was released in 2007, Clemens was one of 89 Major League players alleged to have used steroids.

In 2008, Clemens was accused of lying to Congress about the drug use. After four years, and countless hours in a courtroom, Roger gets the win.

On June 18, 2012, Clemens was acquitted on six counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. The trial was  viewed by many as ridiculous waste of money and time by our federal government.

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in our judicial system, heck, I’m married to lawyer!   Lying under oath is never okay under any circumstance.

But this trial went on way too long and turned into a side show. The key witness for the prosecution, Brian McNamee, is a shady character, to say the least.  Scum bag, is probably more like it.  No juror in their right mind would find him credible.

And what about Clemens throwing his wife Debbie under the bus?

“If we believe Clemens, it means he condoned the injections of Mrs. Clemens with HGH by McNamee in Clemens’ master bedroom with out the presence of Mr. Clemens,” said Wallace Matthews of ESPN.  “That should be mortifying enough to a guy as quasi-macho as Clemens, but when merely being publicly cuckolded stands between you and jail cell, I suppose some guys will submit to anything.”

As if Debbie Clemens hasn’t been through enough. In 2008, the New York Daily News reported on a long term relationship between Clemens and country music singer Mindy McCready that began when McCready was 15 years old.

Clemens was on trial for lying under oath, not for taking performance enhancing drugs.   His relentlessness to clear his name rivals his once amazing fierceness on the mound.

With his four sons and his wife at his side, Clemens recorded the biggest win of his life.

Unfortunately for him, Clemens victory is not all that sweet. He has very little chance of ever entering baseball’s biggest shrine — the Hall of Fame. The Baseball Writers of America, who decide these things will never let that happen. Like Pete Rose and Barry Bonds, Clemens legacy will never live in Cooperstown.

Clemens can move on now. He is out of the limelight, and can enjoy retirement with his wife, kids, and the grandkids that will follow. There is no proof that he lied, and no hard evidence that he cheated.

Only Roger Clemens knows the truth, and he’ll have to live with it the rest of  his life.

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About The Author

is a veteran television sports reporter and Olympian. Her experience includes 25 years of sports reporting for WBZ-TV, the CBS and former NBC affiliate in Boston. Cook has worked for ESPN, Turner Sports, and WTBS. Cook is a feature writer for She's Game Sports and She is also President and Founder of She's Game Sports LLC.