Major League Baseball

Failure to Launch – Roger Clemens Indicted

Roger ClemensRoger Clemens was indicted on federal charges of obstruction and perjury. He is not the first and will not be the last professional athlete to have trouble with the Federal Government. What most amazes me about this case is the fact Clemens had the opportunity to avoid this whole situation.

Roger Clemens was offered a plea with no jail time if he were to admit to using steroids while he was playing baseball. He turned it down because he wants to clear his name. He is going to find out the Federal Government is harder to deal with then say, the Baltimore Orioles.

Clemens has made statement to the affect that he wants to get the truth out there such as, “I just want the truth out there and like I said, I can’t believe what is being said,” “I’m telling the truth and I want it out there,” and, “Just the stuff I’m reading and hearing, so much of it is untrue and it’s just tearing everyone apart.”

I commend Roger Clemens for wanting to tell his side of the story. It seems like he just wants to convince people his side is more believable than all the evidence against him. The issue he is going to run into is there are several sides to this story and the Federal Government is only interested in the truth, regardless of who it comes from. It makes me want to ask him if he is aware he is going up against the Federal Government and not the general public.

The Federal Government has an excellent track record in dealing with athletes who cross them and it is not just a recent trend. They do not discriminate against sports, talent, popularity or performance. If you are guilty, you are going to pay the price. The list includes people from all over the sports world in different capacities. You have former trainers like Greg Anderson. Referees like Tim Donaghy. Coaches like Pete Rose. Former Heavyweight Champions like Riddick Bowe and Muhammad Ali. Average players in several sports like Mike Danton, Lonny Baxter, Bam Morris and Timmy Smith. Even owners like George Steinbrenner. Plus legends like Duke Snider and Willie McCovey.

I am not here to say Clemens is guilty of anything to this point except hubris, but in the world athletes live in, they know what kind of pitfalls await them everywhere they go. Fifteen years ago, we would never have found out about Michael Phelps smoking marijuana, Lebron James giving the finger to fans in Las Vegas or even New England Patriot cheerleaders drawing swastikas on people’s faces at a party. These are just instances of people being ignorant that carry no fear of federal prosecution. Clemens will not be the last athlete to have a federal case brought against him because there will always be athletes who refuse to take the past and learn from it.

Any baseball player today who thinks they can: A) take steroids; and B) get away with it has not been paying attention. They should know that denial is not a plausible way to escape the situation should they be caught. If Clemens did take steroids, it does not make him different than several star players of his era. Mark McGwire finally admitted it, not because he wanted to do the right thing, but because he was getting back into baseball as a coach and did not want to deal with reporters all season long. It worked too. Nobody hears about McGwire’s steroid admission at all anymore. We just hear about the Cardinals superior starting pitching and how Tony LaRussa can over-manage the heck out of baseball game.

Clemens is not the standard by which all denials are to be measured; Pete Rose still has that title, but is certainly is the most puzzling. For all the instances listed above, one would think there is only one good way to deal with the situation…confess! Several phrases are as hard to utter as “I am guilty,” such as “Tiger Woods is a great guy,” “I think the Reds are for real,” “This is the Lions’ year,” and “I love you,” but since he did not do that originally, he is going to have to figure out a way to strike out the side in nine pitches without a power fastball or nasty split finger. If not, Clemens’ name will become synonymous with McLain, Vick, Newton and Strawberry instead of Maddux, Smoltz, Schilling and Johnson.

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Read Bases Loaded: The Inside Story of the Steroid Era in Baseball by the Central Figure in the Mitchell Report by clicking here.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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