April 3rd, 2009 09:15 EST
Clemens Says I Did Not Used Steroids
On Tuesday, Roger Clemens pleaded his case to investigators and the public at large, maintaining that his former personal trainer Brian McNamee did not inject him with performance-enhancing substances, in his first public statement in over a year.
The 354 game winner over the course of 24 seasons in Major League Baseball, was featured on an interview via phone during ESPN Radio`s "Mike & Mike in the Morning." He told listeners that he decided to come out with his announcement now because Tuesday also coincided with the release of a book detailing his speculative drug use.
"American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America`s Pastime," written by four New York Daily News reporters, covers previously published stories in the newspaper since the news first broke. The book had been circulated for early review, and passages from the book have been made available before Tuesday.
In the interview, Roger Clemens remained unwavering in his stance he originally publicized during the Congressional hearing on substance users in professional sports last year.
"He`s never injected me with HGH or steroids," Clemens said, concerning McNamee, who swore he administered the drugs to Clemens to federal investigator George Mitchell earlier in 2009.
Clemens later said he submitted a DNA sample to federal investigators but denied claims that the syringes supplied by McNamee would connect him to illegal perfomance-enhancing drug abuse.
"It`s impossible because he`s never given me any," he said.
Since the initial probes began into the widespread drug use in MLB, many of the perennial All-Stars in the sport have tested positive for HGH and various steroid compounds. Allegations, both verified and simply conjecture, had put the national pastime under further scrutiny and severely tarnished the game`s image in the media. Before Clemens had been suspected for steroid use, baseball saw the likes of Rafael Palmiero, Jose Canseco, among others publicly shamed for their HGH and steroid abuse.
In 2008, Clemens became the next ballplayer to be implicated in the steroids scandal when a federal grand jury began investigating into whether the pitcher lied before a congressional committee when he said he was never a illegal drug user in the past. He affirmed that he has not yet been summoned to appear before the grand jury.
Since the accusations from his previous trainer have painted him as a deceptive figure in the public, Clemens has filed a lawsuit against McNamee for defamation of character.
According to the statement obtained by The Associated Press, McNamee`s chief attorney Richard Emery claims the 11-time All-Star is now lashing back at the truth which will ultimately cost him in the long run.
"He`s on the offense again, which is Roger`s mode of operation... This, in my view, is going to backfire, because he`s publicly now poking a stick in Congress` eye. And, to me, all that`s going to do is vitalize the prosecutors going forward," he said. "Nobody, for a minute, thinks he`s not a liar just because he`s talking. He`s always talked, and he has stood by his falsehoods. So going forward, I think, it`s just going to dig the hole deeper for him."
The seedy affairs behind Clemens` illustrious career have catapulted the retired pitcher back into the limelight, which had been occupied by fellow baseball stars implicated in the substance controversy for the past several months. Alex Rodriguez, third baseman for the NY Yankees, confessed before the season to having taken steroids during a portion of his time as a Texas Ranger from 2001 thru 2003. Last week, Manny Ramirez for the Los Angeles Dodgers came up positive for a banned substance according to the league`s drug policy.
But through all the uproar, Clemens still promotes a sense of responsibility especially toward the aspiring ballplayers of the future.
"Everywhere I`ve gone and gotten the opportunity to speak to young kids or college kids. I take a lot of pride in telling those boys to get after it and do things the right way and take care of your body, because I know how I did it; I know how hard I worked," he said. "For some of that to come in question, of course it`s hurtful. But it`s not going to break my spirit."
Concerning his argument in how he couldn`t have taken banned substances, Clemens claimed that doing any steroids would have been "suicidal" because of his family`s history with heart problems. He also echoed the use of his madeup word "misremembers" he initially cited in response to his friend and former teammate Andy Pettitte`s testimony saying Clemens told him he used HGH.
Since his fellow Yankee teammate stated Clemens` use, Clemens admitted that he has been in contact with Pettitte but never spoke over the fed`s accusations.
With the public opinion now against the pitcher`s word, he could only express: "All I can do is speak the truth and from my heart to them. That`s all I can do. I know what your polls say, (but) I`ve been getting great responses everywhere I`ve gone in the cities I`ve traveled to. All I can do is be me and give them the message I just told you about the steroids are bad for these kids. You don`t want to have anything to do with them the way they tear your body down. But I can`t defend a negative. When you`ve got somebody that`s out there that is really just crawling up your back to make a buck - which is what this is - other than speaking out, what else can you do?"