March 1, 2008

Y'Alling His Way Into The Quicksand

Even before the Justice Department was asked to "investigate whether Roger Clemens made false statements under oath about his suspected use of steroids and human growth hormone", federal investigators were on the job in Houston:
looking into whether Clemens received performance-enhancing drugs from local suppliers. That effort has led investigators to scrutinize the activities of at least one gym owner in Houston and one or more doctors, according to several lawyers with knowledge of the situation who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
What's amazing about the quicksand into which Billy finds himself slowly sinking is that it all could have been avoided if he hadn't been such a stubborn dumbass. ... But then if he wasn't a stubborn dumbass, he wouldn't be our Fat Billy, would he?

If, after the Mitchell Report had been released, Clemens had pulled a McGwire and said "what's past is past, I'm retired now", none of this would have happened. The media and fans would have ripped him, though to a much smaller extent that they have to date. And perhaps when his first Hall of Fame vote came around in five years, his career would get the fair appraisal he clearly wants.

If Clemens and his attorney Rusty Hardin had not played the recording of Clemens's phone call to McNamee, it's likely that McNamee's stash of Roger's old needles and gauze pads would have remained a secret. McNamee would not have declared war on Clemens. There would not have been any hint of a criminal investigation.

But no. That's not what happened. So we're left wondering whether Hardin is the engineer of this legal trainwreck (in which case Billy must be mighty pissed off) or whether Clemens is calling the shots over his lawyer's advice (in which case, why didn't Hardin jump ship earlier?).

Howard Wasserman, writing at the Sports Law Blog, calls Hardin "possibly the worst example of the grandstanding lawyer we have seen in a while". Hardin has complained about the "circus of public opinion", yet Wasserman correctly notes that Hardin is that circus's chief architect.
[A]nd let's not forget that Hardin has basically dared DOJ to investigate Clemens by saying of the likely lead investigator that Clemens "would eat his lunch."
Michael McCann, a law professor at Mississippi College School of Law and Chair of the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Sports and the Law, writes:
A person close to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with knowledge of its proceedings tells SI.com that Roger Clemens and his legal team made a devastating strategic blunder in regards to the now infamous Jose Canseco lunch party that took place in June 1998. The alleged blunder caused members of the committee and their staff to deeply question Clemens' veracity and the wisdom of his legal team's counsel.

Initially the party seemed like an unimportant fact. The party is mentioned only briefly in the Mitchell Report ... [and] does not expressly connect Clemens to steroids or HGH through his alleged attendance ...

Clemens' legal team, however, apparently regarded the mention -- which it insists is wrong -- as the primary point of vulnerability in McNamee's testimony ... As the committee evaluated the depositions and available evidence, however, it began to conclude that McNamee told the truth at all times and that Clemens repeatedly lied.
ESPN columnist Gene Wojciechowski:
In less than three months, Clemens has y'all-ed his way into more corners than a folded flag. ... Clemens hid the truth. He didn't hide it very well, which is why IRS special agent Jeff Novitzky of BALCO fame is now Clemens' worst nightmare. ...

Novitzky is a grinder who has already put away Olympian Marion Jones and former NFL defensive player of the year Dana Stubblefield. ... Clemens got his clock cleaned by little, gavel-waving Rep. Henry Waxman of California. Just wait until Novitzky starts dumpster diving into his life.

Clemens hasn't given the feds much of a choice. Every time there's smoke, Clemens seems to be standing there with a blowtorch. ...
There have been complaints that the government should not be wasting taxpayer dollars on this matter. Keep in mind that they are investigating perjury, a much more serious matter than steroid use. What is $25 million gets spent on this investigation? The US burns through that much in Iraq alone every 18 minutes.

SoSher badger:

Well, I for one, think it is a great use of my tax dollars to put Roger Clemens in jail. Maybe we can have a separate check-box on our tax return -- "Would you like to donate $1 to the Federal Send-Roger-Clemens-To-Jail Fund?"

10 comments:

redsock said...

Pettitte: "I've made mistakes and I've admitted to them."

Eventually.

redsock said...

SoSHer Average Reds:

"I kind of wince whenever I see people talking about whether the [2004] trophy is tarnished or not, because I think it misses the point. Given the pervasiveness of PEDs in baseball over the past two decades, I find it hard to believe that any trophies have been won by a team that didn't include at least one PED user. And so until comprehensive evidence is developed to say that team x was "clean" and team y was "dirty" - and since the Mitchell Report barely scratched the surface, I cannot imagine that we'll ever get to that point - we should take the issue of any taint associated by any victory out of play. The Yankees of the late 90s were the best team in baseball and their trophies are deserved. The Sox have been the best team in recent years and their trophies are deserved. (And yes, I realize that I've just agreed with something that Hank Steinbrenner said. So if you'll excuse me I have to go wash out my brain with soap.)

Of course, this doesn't mean we all can't enjoy the fact that Clemens is an arrogant, cheating blowhard who is getting what's coming to him.

***

The Omnipotent Q said...

At Professor Thom's in NYC, we are planning a "Roger Clemens Conviction Party" on the night the Texas Con Man gets locked in the slammer...

redsock said...

At Professor Thom's in NYC, we are planning a "Roger Clemens Conviction Party" on the night the Texas Con Man gets locked in the slammer...

Hmmmm, I may have to consider a road trip.

Pepe Lepew said...

Y'know, I just keep coming back over and over to the idea that Clemens was never subpoenad. He didn't have to testify. Waxman said after the hearing that he didn't understand why Clemens came before the committee. He totally did this to himself. He didn't have to testify and even if he had been subpoenad, he could've come clean like Pettitte and gone his merry way or pleaded the 5th Amendment.
Pure arrogance brings down even the most intelligent people (see Bill Clinton), but you mix arroagance with idiocy ... well, you get Roger Clemens. I swear this guy is dumber than Bonds, even. Bonds at least *had* to testify to the grand jury. Clemens must've figured he could bluff his way past Congress just by sheer chutzpah and indignation.
They oughta change his nickname from The Rocket to The Rockhead.

L-girl said...

Pure arrogance brings down even the most intelligent people (see Bill Clinton)

That and a hostile, hypocritical Congress, yes.

redsock said...

And $100+ million!

L-girl said...

And $100+ million!

Good use of taxpayers' money. Yeah.

redsock said...

Tony Massarotti, Thursday's Herald, on the "monumentally vain and narcissistic" Clemens:

"In hindsight, with regard to Clemens, the behavior only gets more maddening. The more you think about it, the more insulting it all is. Charged with a misdeed, most people get one phone call. Clemens got to hobnob with members of Congress before the political dog and pony show that was his televised day in Washington, which turned the entire process into a laughable spectacle.

Somehow, even then, Clemens managed to mess up the whole darned thing."

***

Jack Marshall said...

If you're Jay Gibbons, or even Eric Gagne,there isn't that much downside to coming clean. You get suspended, and some people will be down on you for good, but you can write it off as one mistake...because you're not historically important, and haven't built your reputation on being so.

But a Bonds or a Clemens is invested in being a superstar, a record-setter, hero, and an All-Time great, and they know the steroid use threatens that. And their identity and self-image is so tied up in being that famous, immortal, player for the ages, that it seems worth risking jail and everything else to hold on to immortality. But they are NOT that bright, or that clever, and they WILL get caught. They end up trading immortality for infamy.