by Ryan Hubbard
Roger Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee, who alleged in the Mitchell Report that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) 16 to 21 times from 1998 to 2001, fielded questions today from members of the House Committee on Government and Oversight Reform for nearly five hours. I caught a couple hours of the hearing live on ESPN. It felt like a trial, with so many back-and-forth questions and comments on key pieces of evidence and testimony, yet the truth never emerged and the hearing only raised more questions. Here are some I had.
To the congressional questioners:
1. Why weren't all depositions taken for this hearing available for use in questioning? One congressman said there were depositions not yet released that would be "devastating" (he didn't say toward which side). I thought the point of taking these prehearing depositions from a variety of witnesses was to help the committee get to the truth with the accuser and the accused today?
2. In the Mitchell Report McNamee stated that Clemens and his wife had attended a party, apparently a barbecue, at the home of confessed steroid user Jose Canseco, and that he saw Clemens, Canseco, and a third person having a conversation. Clemens has denied he attended the party, and as evidence he's produced: a receipt from a golf course near Canseco's house that puts him in its clubhouse that morning; video of announcers for the Toronto Blue Jays, Clemens's team at the time, discussing Canseco's party and mentioning that Clemens wasn't in attendance; and an affidavit from Canseco, himself, stating that he doesn't recall Clemens being at the party. But it's not simply their word against McNamee. At the the hearing today Congressman Henry Waxman introduced a deposition from Clemens's nanny at the time in which she says Clemens did attend the party, along with his wife and their children.
Here's my question: Why hasn't anyone proposed that Clemens could have attended the party at Canseco's house, presumably a large place, without all or even the majority of the people in attendance realizing that he was there, perhaps briefly? If it was a barbecue, maybe most people were outside and unaware of everyone who was inside. At the hearing today Clemens admitted that he might have been at Canseco's house to pick up his wife and kids. Perhaps he stopped in for a minute.
To Brian McNamee:
1. Why did he recently release evidence about Roger Clemens's alleged use of steroids and human growth hormone that he didn't give to Mitchell Report investigators? If he was willing to connect Clemens to steroids and HGH use in the Mitchell Report, why didn't he give it all the evidence he had?
2. Part of the new evidence McNamee has released is paraphernalia related to his alleged injections of Clemens with steroids and HGH. McNamee said at the hearing today that he never disposed of this evidence--including used syringes and gauze pads with Clemens's blood on them--because he harbored doubts about whether he could trust Clemens. But as a former police officer who no doubt understood the gravity of this evidence, why did McNamee all but sabotage its admissibility in court by simply keeping it in his basement for several years?
3. Why can't he get a better haircut?
For Roger Clemens:
1. Clemens has stated that what McNamee actually injected him with was the pain killer Lidocaine and the vitamin B12. Clemens stated at the hearings today that he's taken B12 for many years and considers that a "healthy" thing to do, citing the recommendation of his mother, now deceased, as far back as 1988. But Clemens offhandedly remarked at the hearings today that he's often taken it in pill form. What advantage would there be for Clemens to take B12 in the form of a shot to his buttocks? Why would he involve McNamee (who says he's never injected B12 into anyone, ever) and a needle for a nonprescription substance he could just as easily take in pill form? And why would these injections have always taken place in private, as in hotel rooms, according to McNamee? If Clemens has been taking B12 for so long, why hasn't he produced other trainers or doctors who have administered the vitamin to him via injection?
2. McNamee recently said he injected Clemens's wife with HGH in the Clemenses' bedroom, just prior to a photo shoot the two did for Sports Illustrated. How could Clemens's professional trainer have injected his wife with HGH, in his own bedroom, without his prior knowledge?
3. In a deposition, Andy Pettitte, Clemens's teammate of many years with the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, corroborated McNamee's story about injecting Clemens with banned substances. It's one thing for Clemens to disagree with his accuser, but how could Clemens and a friend and training partner diametrically disagree about whether Clemens received steroids or human growth hormone from McNamee? It's not enough to say Pettitte "misremembers" or "misunderstood."