Rocket Ride: Has Anything Changed?

I still don’t know what to think about Roger Clemens.

I don’t think he necessarily hurt his cause with his appearances on “60 Minutes” Sunday and his bizarre news conference on Monday. Nor do I think he helped himself very much.

We know this much, though: he is deceitful enough to try to set up his accuser with a taped telephone conversation.

Still, after testily answering questions posed by Mike Wallace and angrily answering those posed by reporters, little has changed since Clemens was first named in the Mitchell Report, which was revealed on Dec. 13.

Clemens is still steadfastly denying use of any performance-enhancing drugs. He claims his former trainer and accuser, Brian McNamee, is lying about injecting the Rocket with PEDs.

But when he got McNamee on the phone, he stopped short of asking why McNamee “lied”, or to tell the truth even when a floundering McNamee says, “tell me what you want me to do.”

There may be legal entanglements for why Clemens didn’t take those extra steps — he could potentially be cited for tampering with a witness. But Clemens never let on to McNamee, who, if this phone conversation is to be taken as importantly as Clemens and his team of lawyers believe it to be, is the central figure in all of this. Why didn’t the Rocket at least say something to the effect of, “I never took steroids. You know that. So why did you accuse me of this”?

There seem to be more questions than answers following Clemens’ public appearances. He says he will testify before a congressional committee in a week and has filed a defamation lawsuit against McNamee, who, while sounding deflated on the phone, didn’t recant anything he told investigators, either.

We’re a long way from having any of this resolved, if ever. Clemens keeps asking for “an inch of respect.” But that’s difficult when he’s taping phone calls, stomping off a dais at a press conference he called and claiming that guys were using steroids just to look good in the lobby in their three-piece suits.

Which puts us basically exactly where we were four weeks ago.


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Filed under Major League Baseball, Sports, Sports columns

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