When the first verdict from the federal jury was read that Roger Clemens was “not guilty” of obstruction of Congress, his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, knew what was coming on the other five verdicts: a clean sweep. Not guilty on all six counts.
Roger Clemens, you see, was one of the all-time great pitchers in major league baseball. Clemens won seven Cy Young awards, the most of any pitcher in major league history. Clemens won 354 games. Clemens played 23 seasons, a remarkable feat in itself for a pitcher. Clemens played for four teams. Clemens had a 3.12 earned run average (ERA) and 4,672 strikeouts, the third-most all time. An 11-time All-Star and two-time World Series championships.
With a sterling record like that, he would have been a sure bet to be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame, which is the ultimate in authentication for a baseball player. The first vote will come this December and close will not be good enough. There will surely be sportswriters out there that cannot or will not vote for Roger Clemens to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.
But Clemens is not the only player in the upcoming Hall of Fame voting that has been linked to steroid use. In addition to Roger Clemens, The Hall of Fame ballot will include Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio and Curt Schilling.
It was Roger Clemens who was implicated in the Mitchell Report that investigated steroid use in major league baseball. The evidence against Clemens in the report was based on the testimony Brian McNamee. Ironically, it was McNamee’s testimony that was ceremoniously rejected by the jury.
One juror, Joyce Robinson-Paul, was particularly adamant about McNamee. She called him a “liar.”
“We knew we had to be fair to both parties, but we didn’t see anything to be prosecuted,” said Joyce Robinson-Paul, a political activist who is known in Washington as an advocate of statehood for the District of Columbia. “We just didn’t.”
“The defense showed that McNamee was a liar and once that was done, nothing that he said could hold up,” Robinson-Paul said. “We felt that when McNamee got angry at Roger Clemens, that he was going for his throat. He even said something like he was going to see Roger Clemens in an orange (prison) suit. This after Clemens let him live in his house, after he did everything for him. We felt there was something here, it was vengeance probably.”
It all comes down to Brian McNamee versus Roger Clemens. There is also public opinion versus Roger Clemens. Now Clemens faces a civil trial in the Eastern District of New York, where he is being sued for defamation by McNamee. A hearing in the case is scheduled for June 27. In view of the criminal trial, it would seem that Brian McNamee case has been severely diminished.
But the hearing that will mean the most for Roger Clemens is the hearing he will receive in the halls of public opinion.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books