Why Roger Clemens would rather go to jail than admit guilt

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens leaves the U.S. District Court House after his arraignment hearing in Washington on August 30, 2010. Clemens is being charged with making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress in his congressional testimony on his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

I don’t know Roger Clemens and despite the advances in modern technology, I still think we’re a couple of years away from being able to walk around in someone’s head to help understand what they’re thinking.

That means I can only speculate as to why Clemens decided to plead not guilty on Monday to charges of lying to Congress about whether he ever used steroids or human growth hormone. Or better yet, why he also decided not to accept a plea agreement in order to face a lighter sentence.

But the reason, I speculate (along with the fact that he could lose future earnings and the chance of being elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame), is rather simple. Had he accepted the plea deal, he would have admitted guilt to everything: taking steroids, for lying about taking steroids and for calling Brian McNamee a liar. (And there’s no doubt that Clemens wants to give into McNamee – even if it meant that he would stay out of prison.)

Even if Clemens has told a shred of truth over these past couple of years, it won’t matter. All people will care about is that he a) cheated the game and b) lied about cheating the game.

That’s why I think he’d rather go to jail maintaining his innocence than be deemed a liar. That may sound ridiculous to most people and it should, but we’re talking about someone facing hard evidence and yet he continues to deny that he used steroids. Keep in mind that even if he does get locked up, he can still say that the judicial system screwed him or he was wrongfully accused.

Here’s another thought: He has bought into his lie. There are some people in this world that tie a lie so many times that they start to believe it. They’ve repeated to themselves enough times that they’re 6’3” and 230 pounds of shredded muscle that when they look in the mirror, the person starring back at them is 6’3” and 220 pounds. (Now you know what I do before I got to bed each night…right before I cry myself to sleep.)

Either way, I think “Rocket” is lying. And either way, I think he’ll go down maintaining his innocence, even if he eventually winds up behind bars.

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“Rocket” once again denies taking HGH or steroids, lying to Congress

Former New York Yankee Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens is flanked by his lawyers while testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on The Mitchell Report: The Illegal Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington in this February 13, 2008 file photograph. Clemens, one of the best pitchers in the sport's history, has been indicted on a series of charges related to lying to the U.S. Congress during an investigation into doping, court papers said. Picture taken February 13, 2008.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SPORT BASEBALL CRIME LAW)

After he was indicted yesterday on charges of making false statements to Congress during his testimony about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, Roger Clemens made a statement via his Twitter page denying that he ever used steroids.

I never took HGH or Steroids. And I did not lie to Congress. I look forward to challenging the Governments accusations, and hope people will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court.

Rocket

Is it just me, or does anyone else think there’s something sad about the way Clemens signs off as “Rocket” at the end of his note? That’s his nickname of course, but it almost feels like he’s trying to play to the crowd that beloved him during his playing days.

Regardless, if you’re innocent, you shout it from the rooftops as much as possible – just like Clemens has done. It’s also important to keep in mind that he has never been proven guilty of anything as of this point.

But given how much evidence there is linking him to performance-enhancing drugs, I can’t help but to think about the Dana Carevy stand-up routine when he pokes fun at the O.J. Simpson trial.

Here sits a mountain of forensic evidence and Roger’s like, “Why we even havin’ a trial?”

MLB News: Roger Clemens to be indicted for perjury

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 13:  Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (R) and former Major League Baseball strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee testify about allegations of steroid use by professional ball players before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill February 13, 2008 in Washington, DC. The 'Mitchell Report' named several former and current major league baseball players, including Clemens, who are accused of using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times is reporting that former pitcher Roger Clemens will be indicted on charges of making false statements to Congress during his testimony about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The indictment comes nearly two and half years after Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee testified under oath at a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, directly contradicting each other about whether Clemens had used the banned substances.

The committee held the hearing in February 2008, just two months after McNamee first tied Clemens to the use of the substances in George J. Mitchell’s report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. After Mitchell released the report, Clemens launched an attack on McNamee, saying he made up the allegations.

I’ve long held the opinion that both Clemens and McNamee lied about their testimonies back in 2008. I don’t think we’ve heard the true story of Clemens’ involvement with performance-enhancing drugs, although sadly I don’t know if we ever will either.

Even though Clemens has been indicted, don’t expect a speedy trial. Barry Bonds was indicted in 2007 and his trial won’t start until next March. Thus, it could be years before Clemens goes to trial.

The Rocket is looking through rose-colored glasses

Last week, Roger Clemens went on ESPN radio to defend himself against allegations written in a recently released book, American Icon. He once again denied that his former trainer Brian McNamee had injected him with any form of performance-enhancing drugs and his former teammate, Andy Pettitte, still “misremembered” their conversation on steroids.

And at the conclusion of the interview, you could slowly see Clemens turning into Pete Rose. Both determined to bully the public into believing their innocence, with the hopes of clearing their name and reputation.

After being banished from baseball in the summer of 1989, Rose would go on various interview shows to vehemently deny the allegations brought against him. He would laugh at the suggestion that a meeting took place between outgoing baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, incoming commissioner Bart Giamatti, and himself to discuss his gambling habits. That was his story and he stuck to it until 2004, when Rose took the money and wrote a tell-all book about his baseball gambling exploits. He wanted to beat baseball executives on their playing field, but it wasn’t game to them.

Clemens hired a media marketing firm that assists high-profile clients through PR crises, and they suggested getting his side of the story out to the press. Bad move. He said that it would be suicidal for him to take steroids with his family history of heart trouble. Clemens said that heart disease took the life of his stepdad and older brother. Hey, wait a minute! How can you inherit a genetic trait from your stepfather?

Clemens brought attention to a book that otherwise wouldn’t have received any media attention. Unfortunately, he sees this as a competition and challenges anyone to prove him guilty of steroid usage. Last year, Clemens told major league baseball to effectively “kiss his ass” following the release of the Mitchell Report. McNamee offers syringes with his DNA as evidence of steroid usage, and Clemens in turn files a defamation of character lawsuit against him. His competitive personality will eventually do him in.

A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but just like Barry Bonds, the general public has convicted Clemens of using performance-enhancing drugs. And if he follows Rose’s script, the Rocket will eventually admit to his usage in a book deal a few years down the road. Assuming he needs the money, of course.

Lupica: Clemens sticks to fiction

In one of his recent articles, New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica hammered Roger Clemens about what the former pitcher said on the “Mike & Mike in the Morning Show” for ESPN Raido.

McNamee is making it up. And Andy Pettitte is still “misremembering” a conversation he and Clemens once had about HGH. And of course the four reporters from the Daily News who have written the book “American Icon” about Clemens – Teri Thompson, Mike O’Keeffe, Christian Red and Nate Vinton – must be making it up for 428 pages, plus footnotes.

Then, referring to “American Icon,” Clemens said, “I’ve seen excerpts from the book and they’re completely false.”

He didn’t say which false excerpts he’d read. But then once you get Clemens off his talking points, almost everything becomes a brain buster.

He even suggested Tuesday that “common sense” had to tell you he wouldn’t take steroids, because of a history of heart trouble in his family. One of the people he cited was a stepfather who died of a heart attack. As if somehow they weren’t just related by marriage, but by blood as well.

So Clemens does add a new wrinkle, that he was worried about what steroids might do to his heart. You wonder how they could ever do as much damage as Clemens has done to himself over the last year and a half. Somehow he still wants that to be everybody else’s fault. The media’s most of all.

He is a little bit like Barry Bonds now, though Bonds does a much better job of keeping his mouth shut, probably because he has much better lawyers than Clemens, starting with Rusty the Lawyer down there in Houston. Bonds is as good as retired. So is Clemens. Bonds can’t hit home runs to change the subject, Clemens can’t strike people out.

What’s absolutely ridiculous about what Clemens said about his family’s history of heart conditions (besides the idiot comment he made about having heart issues because of his stepfather), is that this is his first mention of anything like that. He has never said that it would be “suicidal” of him to use steroids because of his family history – that was the first time since the steroid allegations came out that he referred to any kind of family heart history. Did he actually think that the American public was going to buy that? That’s what he and his crisis coach came up with over the past year?

Lupica’s right – Clemens should take a page out of Bonds’ playbook and just stay out of the public. Clemens does more damage to himself when he opens his mouth.

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