What an eventful day (or uneventful as some have called it) with Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee testifying before the House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Committee. Both Clemens and McNamee were there in what has been described as a “perjury trap” – each espousing that they were telling the truth – and both leaving us with the clear understanding that someone was lying!
Clemens began with a six page written statement (link here) a portion of which is reproduced:
I appreciate the opportunity to tell this Committee and the public—under oath—what I have been saying all along: I have never used steroids, human growth hormone, or any other type of illegal performance enhancing drugs. I think these types of drugs should play no role in athletics at any level, and I fully support Senator Mitchell’s conclusions that steroids have no place in baseball. However, I take great issue with the report’s allegation that I used these substances. Let me be clear again: I did not.
Likewise, McNamee, not to be outdone, had a written statement (allbeit 5 pages – link here) where he stated the following:
I was once the personal trainer for one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball, Roger William Clements. During the time that I worked with Roger Clemens I injected him on numerous occasions with steroids and human growth hormone.
Now, someone is not telling the truth! And, in the setting they were both in, failure to tell the truth can have serious consequences.
According to the White Collar Crime Prof Blog, “Clemens made any number of inconsistent statements in his deposition and testimony, and had a difficult time expressing himself when challenged. McNamee fared little better, explaining that he hid information from prosecutors and changed his story by adding details as he remembered them, so he never told the same tale twice.”
If prosecutors want to go after Clemens, they will be hard pressed to get a jury to believe McNamee, who effectively admitted that he does not handle the truth very well. Information provided by Clemens’ former teammate Andy Pettitte about conversations they had concerning HGH use was not helpful, but it is hardly the type of clear contradiction needed for a perjury investigation, especially when one of the discussions took place nearly ten years ago. Clemens could not bring himself to call Pettitte a liar, but he did dispute his friend’s memory of the conversations, throwing up enough dust to make it hard to figure exactly what was said. While the syringes and other items produced by McNamee could well link Clemens to HGH and steroids, issues about chain of custody and McNamee’s veracity in recounting why he held on to such materials don’t make this anything like a smoking gun, or even one a little bit warm.
One thing seems certain, someone will face perjury charges. If that turns out to be McNamee, the linchpin of the Mitchell Report, then the credibility of the report will be severely challenged and open the flood gates for many to dispute the findings. Clemens, on the other hand, probably took the best position possible – a good offense. He might not have had a perfect memory, but was credible enough to produce doubt and as Wesley Snipes proved – doubt is all it takes to win the case.
But for my readers, know that Every choice has a consequence. As a Motivational Speaker (www.chuckgallagher.com) sharing info on ethics, I see examples of choices and consequences every day. Clemens, by implication and association, has suffered in the court of public opinion. There are those who will never believe that he was completely clean and never used performance enhancing drugs. So what is the Truth About Consequences?
While there are many truths about consequences – one of the first truths is – the truth will set you free. And since every choice has a consequence we will see when the dust settles who spoke the truth and what consequences will follow to the one who didn’t.
Question: Who do you believe?