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Monday, January 07, 2008

Roger Clemens, Take 3

With the publication of the Mitchell Report, Dan supported Roger. A few days later, Dan was disbelieving.

After last night's "60 Minutes" interview, Dan thinks Roger "looks dirty." Well, if he says so!

I didn't see it. And I don't get the overall criticism of his performance. He is doing what sportswriters always clamor for, an athlete stepping up and facing his accusers without hiding behind lawyers or written statements. Now that Roger does it, he looks guilty. You can spin it any way. If you believe Roger is guilty of the accusations, then you think he sounded or looked guilty.

7 comments:

ObjectiveBruce said...

Well, no, he didn't support Clemens when the report came out, he noted "The Rocket's résumé was flushed down the toilet yesterday when he was dimed out by a report that relies heavily on witnesses of questionable credibility." The second column, he was less "disbelieving" than he was wondering when Clemens would back his denials with something more: "His outrage is late and limp. He needs to answer questions." Then Clemens answered questions and Shaughnessy said "I wish I could say I believe him ... [i]t's just that the argument makes no sense."

Shaughnessy is commenting on a developing story and the commentary is going to develop along withe the story.

Unfortunately, this story is being covered by sportswriters, most of whom, as Carr has often noted "couldn't hack it cityside."

The biggest reasons we are given for believing Mitchell are that McNamee had been promised immunity for talking to Mitchell and that Pettite confirmed McNamee's allegations.

Neither is evidence of guilt, especially when, in the case of McNamee, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of corroboration.

Federal prosecutors don't abandon prosecutions just because someone promises to spill their guts to someone in private industry as McNamee did for Mitchell. To get his 'tell-all-and-go-free' deal, McNamee had to tell the prosecutors about what and whom he was willing to sing. The prosecutors wanted big names and needed big names. So they were promised them one of the biggest. McNamee wouldn't have gotten his tell-all deal by delivering Mike Lansing, Mike Stanton or Howie "Mendoza Line" Clark. Contrary to the nitwit reporting, McNamee had every incentive to lie about what was in the needle in Clemens' ass, for without Clemens or a star of Clemens-like stature, his story was nowhere near as important. Now in Clemens, the prosecutors are delivered an all-time great.

Petitte could have swallowed a pharmacy and it doesn't make Clemens guilty of anything. In the meantime, where is any kind of look at this by people who understand medicine -- all we get is speculation that 'he's bigger, therefore he's juiced.' Where's the medically qualified commentary on Clemens showing physical manifestations of steroid use and abuse?

Was Clemens using steroids? It certainly looks like there's a pretty good case for it. But the evidence needs to be viewed at least as cynically as Clemens' denial.

None of the sports writing fraternity, Shaughnessy included, has taken an objective look at McNamee and the deal he made to save his own skin. Fact is, McNamee would be looking at jail if he didn't come up with someone big enough to justify the prosecutors deal, so the prattle that he has to be believed simply because he talked is absolute rot.

dbvader said...

OB,
That darn reading comprehension problem you have. You have to look at the context. In the first column Shank was not expressing his personal opinion about Roger's alleged use, but his view of the public perception.

Read the passage again:

we know the biggest loser of Dec. 13, 2007, was Roger Clemens.

The Rocket's résumé was flushed down the toilet yesterday when he was dimed out by a report that relies heavily on witnesses of questionable credibility. The report holds that Clemens was a steroid guy, starting in 1998 and continuing through two years with the Yankees (2000-01). The juicy disclosure might not hold up in court, but that doesn't matter to much of the viewing public or probably to the Hall of Fame electorate. Clemens has assembled a legion of haters through the decades (many of them Red Sox fans), and they now have a weapon any time his name is raised. The Mitchell Report says Clemens walks hand in hand with Barry Bonds. One of the greatest pitchers who ever lived is now tainted.

Clemens sounds like a man ready to fight. He didn't have an ounce of Mark McGwire in him when he issued his denial last night through his attorney.


Shank makes it clear that he discussing the public perception of Clemens. But you will note by the last statement in bold, Shank is impressed by Roger's resolve to fight the charges.

Now contrast the above statement with the next column: "By most accounts, the agreement adds credibility to McNamee's charges against the Rocket. The former trainer had plenty to lose if he lied to Mitchell."; "His outrage is late and limp. He needs to answer questions."

So Dan changes from describing McNamee as someone with questionable reliability to someone with plenty to lose. The description of Roger changes from someone who is lauded for fighting when other turtled to someone whose denials are "late and limp."

Roger goes further on the offensive against McNamee. What does Dan conclude? "He looks guilty." Roger does what Dan wanted and it is dismissed by a subjective statement about "looks." Roger cannot win.

And where is the admission that you were wrong about the videotaping?

Charlie said...

The main problem is that Shank seems to hit Clemens hard for not talking for himself, for not suing everyone's pants off, and questioning whether he'd testify under oath.
Now he's doing all 3 and he still "looks guilty."

Monkeesfan said...

Hey Subjective Bruce - Andy Pettite gave McNamee corroboration. The prosecutors told him to tell the truth or he was going to the slammer. Bruce, you're flat out wrong - McNamee has no incentive to lie about anything because he's going to the slammer if he does.

And if you'd listen to the varied broadcast outlets we're getting looks at this from people who understand medicine, and literally no one is defending Woger.

The objective look needed is of Woger, not McNamee.

oldskool138 said...

Am I the only one bored to death of this story? OB, before you release the hounds on me for not appreciating Roger accomplishments here me out.

I'm of the mind that everybody who played in the "Steroid Era" (~1996-2003) is guilty. The users and the non-users. The non-users are just as guilty because they allowed this "juice" culture to grow and they didn't demand that their union or MLB do anything about it.

The argument goes round and round on nitwit radio and in the papers. Did Roga take steroids? Is McNamee telling the truth? Taped conversations. B-12. Innocent until proven guilty. Court of public opinion. And on and on and on.

Roger Clemens is/was the best pitcher of his generation. Did he juice? Probably. Should he get in the HoF? Not for me to decide.

There's a huge game in Foxboro this weekend featuring some team that wears silver helmets and blue uniforms. And I could be wrong but if they lose this game, they don't play in the next round of the playoffs, right? You wouldn't know it by reading the paper or turning on the radio.

Monkeesfan said...

oldskool138, theere's a playoff football game this weekend? Who's playing? Is it the Patriots against the Houston Oilers? The Tennessee Titans? Never mind that, the big sports story here is Roger Clemens and his ass. ;-)

BTW, will Shank harp on how many yards the Patriots defense gave up even though they shut down the Jaguars to the tune of just six second-half points?

Monkeesfan said...

Egad, Roger Clemens' ass just got stuck back onto the front page.

What's Shank going to say about Roger's serial denials, being caught in obvious witness tampering, contradictions, and so forth? What's Shank going to say about the embarassing spectacle of Congressmen kissing Roger's ass for some five hours?