Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's High Noon For Clemens

His appearance before Congress tomorrow starts at 10 AM, but it is High Noon for Roger Clemens on Wednesday, as he will plead his innocence before them that he never took any performance-enhancing drugs.

Let's face the facts. The Texas Con Man has boxed himself into such a corner that he has absolutely no choice but to do that.

You'd have to be blind or some kind of crazy Clemens fan to believe in his innocence. Right now he can't go before Congress and say that Brian McNamee supplied him and shot him up with PEDs. If he were to do that, he can kiss his Hall of Fame induction, his legacy and millions of dollars in endorsements goodbye. So he HAS to go before Congress and risk perjury and declare his innocence.

The case against him is just too strong. Two days after The Mitchell Report came out, Andy Pettitte came clean and admitted that McNamee shot him up (at least twice) with HGH. That was a near-death blow to Clemens, as the public simply won't believe that McNamee told the truth about Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch (who also came clean about his dealings with McNamee), but that McNamee was making some incredible lie about Clemens. Pettitte had plenty to lose, so he came out and admitted that the Mitchell Report was indeed truthful about him.

Brian McNamee had EVERYTHING to gain by telling the truth, and nothing to gain by lying. George Mitchell found the evidence he provided his committee to be so compelling that it became the centerpiece of his report. Mitchell was not about to put his hard-earned reputation on the line for something if he thought it was just circumstantial or without some merit. The Feds were in the room as McNamee told his story, and the threat of serious jail time hanging over his head if he lied. So why on earth would he come clean about everyone but Clemens?

McNamee also saved some syringes and other evidence he said he used to shoot up Clemens years ago. I can only imagine he held on to them as a sort of "get out of jail free" card, as he knew what he did was illegal, and if law enforcement ever caught him, he could use it for his own benefit. But if this is true, why didn't McNamee turn it over to the Mitchell Commission, or even mention he was holding on to it? I'm curious to see if anyone in Congress brings that up tomorrow.

You may also have seen Clemens "glad handing" members of Congress last week, as he met with 19 Congressmen on Capitol Hill who will be involved in Wednesday's proceedings. This strikes me as more than a little odd. And like the hearings of 2005, these lawmakers seemed to turn into schoolboys at the sight of seeing such a famous athlete. They asked for autographs and had pictures taken with him. This makes Wednesday's proceedings seem almost compromised. How would it look if someone who was about to go on trial for a serious crime was seen palling around the jury just before the trial began? (Clemens WILL be on trial on Wednesday, and in the court of public opinion especially.) It will turn into even more of a pathetic circus than it already is.

Last night, the shocking news came down that Pettitte will not testify tomorrow, as he doesn't want to badmouth his onetime buddy and teammate before the whole world. He's already given a sworn deposition before Congress, so that is on the record. Rumors are swirling that Pettitte was a terrible witness, contradicting himself, but he especially backed up a lot of what McNamee claims about Clemens.

Clemens has also done himself a disservice with this screwball attorney of his, Rusty Hardin. He's dug Clemens even further into a hole, with that taping of the phone call between Clemens and McNamee and releasing it to the public. (That may have been the move that made McNamee take off the gloves and declare war.) Hardin's statement about how Clemens will "eat the lunch" of investigator Jeff Novitzky got him into trouble with Congress. And the way he's attempted to besmerch McNamee (he still hasn't explained why Clemens stayed with McNamee after a 2001 investigation regarding McNamee and a Florida woman over a possible date rape was dropped, if McNamee was of such low character) has made himself look like a real low-rent character.

One observer may have put it best about Wednesday's hearings. It's like watching two speeding trains heading right for each other on the same track. We do know one thing. If both men testify to what they said in their depositions, someone is lying through their teeth. It is rumored that Congress will turn the case over to the Justice Department right after it's over, and they will persue a perjury charge against the man they think is lying. (They won't be afraid to put Clemens behind bars. Uncle Sam doesn't like being lied to. Remember Martha Stewart.)

The circus comes to Washington on Wednesday morning. It will be must-see TV to see both Clemens and McNamee together in the same room talking about steroids and PEDs.

It's High Noon for Roger Clemens.

Everything, EVERYTHING is on the line for him on Wednesday.

I'll be watching. And I sure as hell won't be rooting for him.

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