January 8, 2008

After Clemens Press Conference, McNamee's Lawyer: "This Is War"

After watching Roger Clemens's Monday press conference (video here), I don't think it did him much good -- admitting his disgust at the media, sarcastically asking if he could drink some water, swearing several times and stomping off the podium -- but it was not the total disaster I was expecting.

The conference began with the playing of a phone conversation between Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee that Clemens recorded on Friday night. During the 17-minute conversation McNamee asks Clemens 21 times: "What do you want me to do?"
Clemens (who ignores most of the 21 questions): "I just need someone to tell the truth, Mac. ... For the life of me I'm trying to figure out why you told guys I did steroids."

McNamee: "I understand that. ... It is what it is, and it's not good. ... I don't want this to happen. But I'd also like not to go to jail, too. ... All I did was what I thought was right -- I never thought it was right, but I thought that I had no other choice, put it that way."
This sound more like McNamee saying he's sorry for exposing Roger after getting squeezed by the feds, not lying about him. As Earl Ward, one of McNamee's attorneys, said: "All Brian says on the tape is that he didn't want to hurt Clemens and felt bad about what he was obligated to do."

Clemens's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said that it was his decision to not have Clemens ask McNamee to admit he was lying.
Brian is a federal witness. I told [Roger], the last thing in the world you want to do is sound like you're trying to persuade him into anything [or] trying to interfere or coerce a federal witness. So he kept saying nothing. Except you'll hear throughout him saying, 'Tell the truth.'
Yet Clemens also never says anything definitive about his innocence, such as "You know damn well I've never done steroids" or "We never even talked about steroids, Brian. I was shocked to read all those lies in the Mitchell report." For his part, McNamee never insists "I was telling the truth" or "You know you did it, Roger. It all happened, I shot you up."

McNamee now tells SI:
Roger was in no way an abuser of steroids. He never took them through our tough winter workouts. And he never took them in spring training, when the days are longest. He took them in late July, August, and never for more than four to six weeks, max. ... It wasn't that frequent. Within the culture of what was going on, he was just a small part of it. A lot of guys did it. You can't take away the work Roger did. You can't take away the fact that he worked out as hard as anybody.
Why didn't McNamee say any of that when he was on the phone with Clemens?

One interest bit from the conference is that McNamee spoken to Clemens's representatives earlier -- and that conversation was taped. Hardin implies that McNamee was considering recanting what he told the feds. I'd like to hear that recording.

Here is a PDF of a press release from McNamee's lawyers, contradicitng several of Clemens's claims, including the fact that he was in the dark about the contents of the Mitchell report.

Earl Ward, one of McNamee's attorneys, says his client is
angry that the information about his son was manipulated in that fashion. The original text message to Roger said, 'My son is sick, can you call him at home?' Brian was not even living there. He had no intention of talking to Clemens. [Clemens] never did call his son. ... The tape added nothing. All Brian says on the tape is that he didn't want to hurt Clemens and felt bad about what he was obligated to do.
Richard Emery, McNamee's attorney, added:
What does [Clemens] do, he calls him back with his lawyer in the room and a tape recorder going. He wants to play that game, he's going to get buried. I have no compunction about putting him in jail. This is war.


Jere said...

"Why didn't McNamee say any of that when he was on the phone with Clemens?"

Just my theory, but if you think about the whole conversation assuming McNamee injected Clemens with steroids--why would McNamee feel the need to remind him of this? He'd be talking from the point of view of someone who knows that both sides know that it happened. (Whereas Roger has convinced himself it didn't.)

Then again, the whole thing was just so weird with the taping and the obvious holding back. This is so crazy.

SoSock said...

All I did was what I thought was right," said McNamee. "It wasn't right, but I did what I had to do."

Huh? I did what I thought was right......It wasn't right,but what I had to do?
The story you linked to at MLB.com had that quote. It sure sounded wierd, so I watched the video myself. When listening to the phone call, I think he actually said "All I did was....what I thought was right, and, I never thought it was right, but..I thought that I had no other choice"
Pretty much the same thing, and makes no sense whatsoever!
Roger knows the tape is running and you can sure tell it. He is very vague, but keeps up the "tell the truth" crap without really positioning it in such a way as to force McNamee into saying anything substative. I'm not sure about McNamee. The way he holds back makes you think he suspected the tape, and that might account for the confusing statements.
All very vague, Roger should have a great career in politics ahead. He sure knows the all-important art of "talking a lot without saying anything," not to mention "how to get caught in a lie and turn it into something else". He'll fit right in!

SoSock said...

Having said all that - I'm still not completely convinced of Rahger's guilt. Leaning that way, but not 100%.

Jere said...

"McNamee. The way he holds back makes you think he suspected the tape, "

I remember at the beginning he says "I don't know who's listening" or whatever. (And then Roger says the same thing. Lie.)

So, yeah, Brian suspected.

Jere said...

Oh and the last story I read was how Clemens' lawsuit attacks McNamee's character by saying he raped a woman in a pool in 2001. The Yanks let McNamee go after the incident. What did Roger do? Hired the guy as his personal trainer right after that. What does that say about HIS character?

9casey said...

To my understanding Roger could not say anthing to Mcanmee about him injecting him with steroids, because that would be tampering with a witness , thats why he was so careful.......