Skip to comments.Roger Clemens' Tall Tales
Posted on 01/10/2008 8:35:18 AM PST by canuck_conservative
Most of you have never heard of Ralph Beard, or if you did, had forgotten him by the time he died a few weeks ago just short of 80. But back in the 1940s, Beard was a terrific All-American basketball player, who led Kentucky to two national championships and the United States to a gold medal in the 1948 Olympics. He was already a first-team NBA All-Star when it was revealed that he had taken money from gamblers to shave points in games at Kentucky.
Beard, like so many other players of that era, was summarily banned for life from the game. He admitted his guilt, too, saying that he had simply grown up poor and just couldn't resist taking the money. He lost it all for only about $700 -- branded forever as a fixer.
We tend to be more critical of athletes, like Ralph Beard, who conspire to lose, rather than those, like steroid users, who cheat trying to win. That's often dismissed as just being canny, looking for an edge. Why, Gaylord Perry was celebrated outright for his ability to throw illegal pitches; he tricked his way into the Hall of Fame, everybody laughing right along with him.
But the fact is that it makes no difference in which direction an athlete cheats. Either way, he is distorting fairness, which is the very essence of sport. Ralph Beard's transgressions cost his own team victory. If Roger Clemens -- or any other baseball player named as a user of steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) in the Mitchell Report -- is guilty as charged, then he cost other teams their fair due. What, pray, is the difference?
Now, of course, Clemens has taken a refrain from so many other accused athletes' lyrics by claiming that he didn't know that he was being given a banned substance. Barry Bonds swore he thought it was all just flaxseed oil -- remember? Hasn't C l e m e n s read that Bonds is up for perjury, that Marion Jones may well be sentenced to prison this very Friday for the same sort of lies? But here Clemens is, disputing his trainer, Brian McNamee, who testified -- under threat of jail if he was caught lying -- that he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH. The sad and bizarre phone call with McNamee that Clemens
taped last Friday, and then played in public, seemed only, to me, to confirm the pitcher's guilt. Mc-Namee was distraught for having testified against his old friend and meal ticket. Time and time again, he pleaded: What do you want me to do, Roger?
Wouldn't an innocent man, with the tape secretly running, say: just tell the truth, Brian. Clemens so often
told McNamee that he wanted the truth out, but when McNamee specifically asked Clemens what he should do, Clemens did not flat out ask him to tell the truth. Because, one can only surmise, then McNamee would say that he had already done that. And never did McNamee volunteer that he had lied. He seemed only to regret that the truth had hurt so.
All right, I'm sorry. Perhaps I'm just too cynical and hard-hearted. Perhaps I have just heard it all too often -- even emotionally, to my face -- from athletes claiming, with just as much dramatic insistence as Clemens supplied, that they were innocent only to be convicted later.
Even after he told the truth, Ralph Beard spent more than 50 years of his life in shame. If Roger Clemens is guilty, then he deserves no better. Let's put the right word on it. Any player who took steroids is a fixer. He fixed games.
- Frank Deford is the senior contributing writer at Sports Illustrated and a regular commentator at National Public Radio, where this column originally was aired.
I don't know the full story of Ralph Beard, but most of those guilty of point-shaving admitted to keeping the scores down, not to throwing games completely. (I know this might be a distinction without a difference to some.) That is, if his team was favored by ten points and Beard made sure they won by less than that, he would be a point-shaver, but he did not conspire to make his team lose.
I HOPE he is innocent because , like he said, all his career he has "worked his butt off" to stay in shape.
On local TV replay of the phone call, I thought Roger did say, "Just tell the truth."
What’s not said:
Point-shaving is done as favors for organized crime, so that they can steal money. The crime done isn’t his done to either team... it’s grand theft against people who made wagers. If Beard tangled for the mob for only $700, it doesn’t mean his crime was less; it means only his soul was cheap.
Perry’s antics were part of the equation when people decided who to root for, and were useless in trying to fix games for the mafia. Dirty? Yes. Mafia-related crime? No.
And there’s the difference.
I’d like to give Clemens the benefit of the doubt, but if I were him and I’m innocent... as soon as the allegations came out, I’m screaming from a mountain top that I’m 100% innocent, I didn’t do it, and I’ll sue everyone I can for libel and defamation. However, Clemens didn’t do that. He waited a few days, then through his lawyers (note he didn’t do it directly) refuted the claims. To me that tells me he’s hiding something. I hope I’m wrong.
"Absolutely, 100% not guilty!"
I agree... Clemens’ denial seems sincere to me.
On another topic, I also wonder if much of this steroid “cheating” is way overblown. The thing most obvious to me after that big report came out was how many people were on the list— and how most of them were names that I’d never heard of.
If that many people are doing it, and clearly for most of them there was no obvious advantage accruing to them because of it... is it really cheating if it has no effect? Seems to me it’s the same kind of “cheating” as carrying a lucky rabbit’s foot.
There’s no way to be 100% sure, but after thinking about his 60 minutes interview, I think he’s lying for two reasons. He brought up the possible up the possible harm from all the Vioxx he’s taken. It’s typical for liars to change the subject and try to garner sympathy. Second, he said the reason he didn’t take steroids is because they don’t work and they shorten your career. That’s not a convincing argument to me.
According to Werner Wolf, the B12 shot and lidicane? (sp) that Clemens says McNamee gave him would have been more likely to have been administered by a team physician, not a trainer.
Ask yourself this: why would McNamee tell the truth about Pettitte, but lie about Clemens?
The one who should “just tell the truth” is Roger Clemens. But just like Barry Bonds, it will never happen! We can only hope somewhere, someone nails Clemens for perjury!
Didn’t like Clemen’s and this just reaffirms my feelings
He has one section of his house set up like a museum to his career and has the gall to get on TV and say “I don’t give a rat’s ass about the HOF —Yeah sure Rog
He has made how many gazillions over the last 6-7 years yet he wants some peon to risk perjury and jail time for him
Man up Rog you won’t have to give any of the salary back
Marion Jones’s denials seemed sincere at the time.
“Man up Rog you wont have to give any of the salary back”
He won’t. It’s really all about the celebrity status and ego that goes with the induction into the HOF.
As we have seen, some recent offenders have said "yes I did it" and received accolades for coming clean. It certainly seems to be an inexcusable offense to deny something that "the media" has taken on as fact.
Wasn’t Clemens contacted while the Mitchell Report was still being compiled, and didn’t he have a chance then to refute the charges in the Mitchell Report?
As an official old fart, I feel it's my duty to remind you that $700 bucks was a pretty good haul for a college kid back in the 40s.
Why the dollar had only been devalued once and was still worth $.50, a whole heck of a lot more than it's worth today!
Well, ok... so it means that he’s lying because she did?
I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I can’t say I care all that much who’s taking steroids. Seems like the simplest answer is to just legalize ‘em. Everybody’s using ‘em anyway. The don’t even seem to be making much of a difference.
Yeah, that's the significant part here. Pettitte has games to play, Clemens doesn't. Pettitte has more to lose since he could be facing a long suspension or even an outright ban. Clemens, OTOH, has his money. His professional reputation is the only thing at stake here (so far).
Clemens might be the 'Big Fish' that the Mitchell Report was looking for, but isn't Pettitte a big enough fish? I don't see McNamee having any motivation to lie about Clemens. I would think the motivation would be to shield Clemens if anything. They have a long history.
I don’t know if Clemens is lying or telling the truth. I just know that appearances can be deceiving.
The problem is that its the evidence that points to Clemens' guilt, irrespective of the conclusion drawn by the media.
Clemens' phone call is indicative of guilt, not innocence.
The idea that multi-millionaires would let non-authorized untrained people give them injections of legal medicines, is frankly laughable. However, it makes sense if it's an illicit substance.
Clemens' career, not only the chart of success but also his bizarre psychological breakdowns in high-pressure games, suggests steriod use.
Also, he's just plain dumb enough to do all of it.
If this is the case, well hell, ever wonder how Hillary got that big second wind campaigning in N.H. and carried through to win? Yep, it was me. I gave her a gulp of my private illegal hooch stock.
I agree. Everyone except Bill Clinton. He displayed that kind of anger because he he was caught.
Thanks for making my point. Clemens made the phone call so he is guilty? Would be innocent if he hadn't made the phone call?
My thoughts, as well. McNamee had no incentive to lie to the feds. He was a friend of Clemens, so why would he say Roger took steroids if it wasn't true? McNamee told the ruth because he knew he'd go to prison if he didn't.
Now does anyone still believe him?
All one had to do is look at her physique to know she was lying.
I will not be too hard on players who used steroids. MLB knew they were being used and turned a blind eye to the usage of them.
Like Britney Spears.... ehehehehehehehe....
The most obvious thing to me? None of these guys today....compare to Bob Gibson, Johnny Bench, or Micky Mantle. Their use of various medical achievements...whether legal today or illegal tomorrow...make today’s players (since the mid-90s)...a step down from the great stars of years ago. It puzzles me that we have to pay $150 for a family of four to attend a game...that doesn’t even match up to a game in 1968.
If a professional athlete wants to take steroids or HGH it none of the Government’s business.
If a professional sports league wants to ban these substances or even coffee, vitamins and aspirin, that is their business and not the government’s.
Let me be PERFECTLY clear.
Your answer would be a good one, if we were talking about someone of normal intelligence.
However, Roger Clemens is a retard.
And this retard thinks that his guilty-as-all-hell performance on that call actually exonerates him.
Guilty, AND stupidity on display for the whole world to see besides.
Great job, Roger.
As I phoned into Sound Off here in Mobile, I find it more than coincidental that the author of the Mitchell Report is on the payroll of the BoSox - strange that the majority of those named played for the Yankees, the hated Yankees, and the most pages written about one player was in fact Clemens - a former BoSox - who’s as maligned by BoSox fans as the Yankees are.....just my humble, Yankee-loving opinion!
I don’t know if Clemens used Steroids and neither does this BoZo. This smells of Duke Rape case journalism. Surely the witness there wasn’t lying. Right.
If Clemens lies under oath, he should go to jail(if proved). If he didn’t take Steroids, why can’t he defend himslf?
um, if they were mob-backed wagers wouldn't they be illegal, and the people making them equally guilty of involvement with, and subsidizing, organized crime?
I’m going to have to look up more about Frank Beard and his part in the scandals. While the actual transgressions happened before I was born, I remember when the scandal broke - though I was a tiny tyke.
There was a cover of LOOK or Life magazine with an electric shaver mowing down big red “whiskers.” My hometown in OK was intimately involved with Beard’s b-ball activities, because our locals were the other half of that winning Olympic team and a friend’s dad was the coach.
They were all heroes to us and I don’t remember the taint associated with Beard or any other of the KY players, if there were others involved. Thanks for the article.
I’m still undecided about Clemens - as I’ve posted before, I *want* to believe him, but down deep in my heart, I don’t yet do so “beyond a reasonable doubt” (yeah, I know, I don’t have to - in his civil suit, it just takes a preponderance of evidence). Unless McNamee has some kind of proof of his allegations - and I’m not sure what it would be - it’s still *he said/he said.*
Well, your logic runs like this:
The Duke rape 'victim' was a liar.
The Duke victim was a witness.
Therefore all witnesses are liars.
That’s the most convoluted response that I have ever seen. I love the way you create a pseudo-syllogism out of one statement (mischaracterized at that) and then make up the remainder yourself. I guess there are actually two Bozos out there on this subject, not one.
Let me say it another way — speaking as someone who knows everything about the Duke rape case, the truth is that “This smells NOTHING AT ALL LIKE the Duke Rape case journalism.
Nobody knows everything about the Duke Rape case, except God.
WL law knows everything about the Duke Rape case.
Therefore, WL Law is God.
Let’s be honest. Clemens is ALWAYS angry.
Think if the Babe had steroids instead of beer
Instead of 550 ft homers they would have been 650footers
Who is more scuzzy, Clemens and McNamee? To me it’s a toss-up. They deserve it each other! (Kinda like Hill and Billary!)
Truly, I’m still as “befuzzled” about this as I was when I wrote that a month ago.
LOL at the syringes and bloody gauze “proof” - aaacck! I *almost* agree with Rusty Hardin - who keeps stuff like that for years and years? But far be it from me to just fall in line with *him* on that. It’s just that when he calls it a set-up from the get-go, it *does* look that way.
But then, when McNamee added the wife into the mix and how she was prepping for the SI Swimsuit issue (or something like that), I thought surely that has to be true - that’s too many witnesses to have to overcome.
And *then,* the party thing - with someone (Conseco maybe?) calling up and saying there was no way Clemens was at that party 8 years ago (or however long ago it was) - that didn’t seem believable.
As of now, Clemens is supposed to testify tomorrow - then we’ll have more weird stuff to weigh and ponder, I’m sure, lol. So, yeah, *scuzzy and scuzzier* seems to fit, but I’m not happy about it.
I can only think of two explanations for the needles and gauze
1. It’s fake
2. Future blackmail opportunity
The “I kept it b/c Roger might roll on me later” part does not seem plausible.
Either way, who needs friends like McNamee? Yuck!
Heh heh, *as the worm turns.* Guess you’ve heard the overnight news - Pettitte has rolled on Clemens.
But, it’s just a semi-roll ... he claims Clemens talked to him about having taken HGH, but then several years later, took it back and said AnPet misunderstood and it was Roger’s *wife* who took the HGH, for the SI swimsuit photos.
Today *should* tell the tale - but I bet it doesn’t!
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