Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sorry, Roger! I'm Not Buying It!

It took nearly a week, but Roger Clemens finally responded to his name showing up in the Mitchell Report on steroid abuse in Major League Baseball.

The statement issued by his agent, Randy Hendricks, reads as follows: "I want to state clearly and without qualification: I did not take steroids, human growth hormone or any other banned substances at any time in my baseball career or, in fact, my entire life. Those substances represent a dangerous and destructive shortcut that no athlete should ever take.

"I am disappointed that my 25 years in public life have apparently not earned me the benefit of the doubt, but I understand that Senator Mitchell's report has raised many serious questions. I plan to publicly answer all of those questions at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. I only ask that in the meantime people not rush to judgment."

Let me start by saying that I have long suspected Clemens of using steroids, human growth hormone or some other performance-enhancing drug. But like so many others, I had no tangible proof of such use, nor did I make any attempts to find any evidence. Frankly, I didn't and still don't care. What professional athletes choose to do to their bodies is their choice. They must live with the decision and the potential risks, not me.

However, what I do care about is Clemens seemingly getting a pass through the years when it came to suspicions of performance-enhancers. If skeptics pointed to how a player looked earlier in his career compared to his physical condition in his late 30's or early 40's (ie. Canseco, McGwire, Bonds), then Clemens should have been held to that same skepticism. The guy who struck out 20 batters in 1986 looked vastly different from the guy who did it again more than 10 years later.

Perhaps the thing that irked me the most about Clemens recent statement was him saying, "I plan to publicly answer all of those questions at the appropriate time in the appropriate way."

I'm sorry, Roger but isn't the appropriate time right now? What could he possibly be waiting for?

If your wife or girlfriend accused you of cheating and you hadn't done so, how would you react? Would you tell her to be patient and wait for your appropriate response at the appropriate time? Of course you wouldn't. You would try to squash those lies right then and there.

But let her accuse you of cheating and you had indeed stepped out on her. You would more than likely pull a Dean Smith and break out the "Four Corners" stall. Because anyone who has ever cheated knows the last thing you want to do is speak too fast and say something that might get you into even more trouble down the road.

Instead of "The Rocket", maybe "The Staller" should be his nickname.

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