Clemens asked to testify to Congress
Roger Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner and current active leader with 353 victories, has been called to testify on Jan. 16 in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, along with the personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who told federal investigators and former Sen. George Mitchell that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing substances numerous times from 1998 to 2001.
Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch, other players who McNamee named in the Mitchell Report last month, were also called to testify, as well as Kirk Radomski, the former Mets clubhouse employee, who supplied McNamee with the drugs. Radomski said in the report that he supplied at least 51 players with drugs over a 10-year period.
In what now has become a two-day affair, Mitchell, Commissioner Bud Selig and Don Fehr, the executive director of the Players Association, have been asked to appear before the same committee on Jan. 15, an invitation that was extended last month when Mitchell released his long-awaited report.
Clemens has been waging a public relations campaign through the media adamantly denying he ever used the substances. But if he does the same on Jan. 16, he will be under oath and will be subject to the threat of perjuring himself in front of the U.S. Congress, a serious offense.
The House Committee is the same one that called the now infamous March 17, 2005, hearing in which Selig, numerous other baseball executives and players had to be subpoenaed to attend. In the end, all complied, including Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Jose Canseco and Frank Thomas.
The 11-hour session proved to be disastrous for McGwire and Palmeiro. McGwire, who hit 583 homers and is in his second year on the Hall of Fame ballot, declined to answer numerous questions about whether he had used steroids, saying only that he wasn't in attendance to "speak about the past."
That performance was one of the key reasons given by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America for checking off McGwire's name on only 23.5 percent of the 2007 ballots, well below the 75 percent necessary to be elected to the Hall.
Palmeiro, also testifying under oath, read a statement to the Congressional officials and wagged his finger as he stated that he had never used steroids. In August 2005, not long after he reached the 3,000-hit plateau, it was reported by Major League Baseball that Palmeiro had tested positive for steroids under the Major League joint drug policy and was suspended for 10 days, the first-time punishment that season.
Fans acted so harshly toward Palmeiro that he was later sent home for the season by the Orioles and never again played professional baseball. A subsequent perjury investigation by Congressional leaders into Palmeiro's March 17 statement didn't turn up enough evidence to charge him.
Last month, after Mitchell named Pettitte in his report, the Yankees left-hander admitted publicly that he had used HGH on several occasions, as described by McNamee.
Clemens, through his own words and statements from his attorney, has done just the opposite.
In an interview conducted by venerable newsman Mike Wallace to be televised Sunday on "60 Minutes," Clemens calls the accusations "ridiculous" and says he "never" used any banned substances. "Swear?" Wallace asked. "[I] swear," Clemens said.
Under an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco in its investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative for money-laundering and selling drugs illegally, McNamee disclosed information to the feds about Clemens, Pettitte, Knoblauch and Jason Grimsley. He also provided the same information to Mitchell.
As far as the Report is concerned, under McNamee's federal agreement, Mitchell wrote, "No truthful statements can be used against McNamee in any federal prosecution by that Office; if however, he should be untruthful in any statements made pursuant to that agreement, he may be charged with criminal violations, including making false statements, which is a felony."
Thus, McNamee could be liable for serious prison time by lying to the feds, who sat in on his three interviews with Mitchell and was advised "that he could face criminal charges if he made any false statements during these interviews, which were deemed by the prosecutors to be subject to his written agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office."
According to Mitchell, McNamee told the feds and his committee this, in part, about Clemens: In 1998, when both were still with the Blue Jays, the trainer injected Clemens with the steroid Winstrol "approximately four times in the buttocks over a several-week period with needles that Clemens provided."
In 2000, when both men were with the Yankees, McNamee told Mitchell that he "injected Clemens four to six times with testosterone" and later with multiple doses of human growth hormone, which is injected instead into the abdomen.
"On each occasion, McNamee administered the injection at Clemens' apartment in New York City," Mitchell wrote.
McNamee has threatened to sue Clemens if he publicly denies being administered the drugs. Now the two of them can testify under oath and tell their divergent stories to Congress.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
There wasn't much of Piniella's profanity-laced tirade that's printable.