Did Roger Clemens Use Steroids?
Brian McNamee, a former trainer who worked with baseball great Roger Clemens, claims that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone during Clemens' career. McNamee's accusations are part of George Mitchell's report released in December 2007 on steroid use in Major League Baseball. In addition to Clemens, 88 other players were named in the report. Clemens has denied the allegations and granted an interview with the CBS news show "60 Minutes." The interviewed aired on January 6, 2008 and was hosted by Mike Wallace. Here are some excerpts from the interview,
Wallace: He gave very specific examples of times he says he injected you with steroids. During the '98 season, you were pitching for the Blue Jays, McNamee was the strength and conditioning coach. From the Mitchell Report, quote: "Clemens approached McNamee and, for the first time, brought up the subject of using steroids. Clemens said that he was not able to inject himself, and he asked for McNamee's help. McNamee injected Clemens approximately four times in the buttocks over a several-week period with needles that Clemens provided. Each incident took place in Clemens' apartment."
Clemens: It never happened. Never happened. If I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, where did I get them? Where's the person that gave them to me? Please come forward.
Clemens denies the allegations by stating "It never happened." The word "never" is a negative word and can be used in denials. However, it is a weak denial. The strongest denial is to deny the act itself by stating "Brian McNamee did not inject me with steroids." By saying, "it never happened" we do not know exactly what Roger Clemens is referring to. Clemens repeats the phrase "never happened." This repetition is sometimes found in deceptive statements since the person is trying to convince us he is telling the truth. Lastly, Clemens makes a reference to where did he get his supply of "needles and these steroids and all these drugs." Mike Wallace, in reading from the Mitchell report, only mentioned that Clemens allegedly supplied needles. If McNamee, supplied the steroids and the drugs then we can see how Clemens can make the statement encouraging his supplier to "come forward." Then again, maybe the Mitchell report did mention that Clemens supplied the drugs and steroids but Mike Wallace did not quote that portion of the report.
Wallace: From the Mitchell Report, quote: "According to McNamee, from the time that McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol, a steroid, through the end of the '98 season, Clemens' performance showed remarkable improvement. Clemens told McNamee that the steroids, quote, 'had a pretty good effect' on him. McNamee said that Clemens also was training harder and dieting better during this time."
Clemens: Never. I've trained hard my entire career. It just didn't happen.
Wallace: I imagine he's (Brian McNamee) watching the two of us right now. Wouldn't you?
Clemens: I hope he is.
Wallace: OK. Anything you want to tell him?
Clemens: Yeah. I treated him fairly, I treated him great as anybody else, I helped him out.
Ask yourself what would you say in this situation? I believe most people would ask McNamee "Why did you lie?" Or, they would state, "Brian, you need to tell the truth about injecting me with steroids." All Clemens does is remind McNamee that he was nice to him.
In addition to several more "It didn't happen" denials, Clemens makes the following denials.
Clemens: My body never changed. If he's putting that stuff in my body, if what he's saying, which is totally false, if he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead, I should be pulling tractors with my teeth.
The denial comes when Clemens makes the statement, "which is totally false." He backs up his denial by stating that he should have a third ear coming out of his forehead. Again, this is not a strong denial since he places it in the middle of the sentence as if it suddenly occurred to him these statements are false and he tries to prove it is a falsehood.
Clemens: Why didn't I keep doing it if it was so good for me? Why didn't I break down? Why didn't my tendons turn to dust? That's all it's good for. It's a quick fix. I don't believe in it. I don't do it.
The denial "I don't do it" is in the present tense. We can believe at the time of the interview Roger Clemens was not using steroids.
The other significant portion of this interview came when Mike Wallace asked Roger Clemens about a lie-detector test.
Wallace: How about a lie-detector test?
Clemens: Some say they're good, some say they're not. Do whatever. I mean ...
Wallace: So as far as you're concerned, you'd conceivably ...
Clemens: Yeah, I don't know if they're good or bad.
Wallace: If you were to pass a lie-detector test would that help prove that you're telling the truth and help restore ...
Clemens: Would it?
Wallace: I don't know.
Clemens: I don't know either.
Mike Wallace never asked Clemens if he would take a polygraph. He only alluded to it when has asked, "How about a lie-detector test?" Clemens could have stated that he would take one but he chose not to commit when he said, "Some say they're good, some say they're not." Wallace starts to ask him if he would take a polygraph test and Clemens cuts him off and states, "Yeah, I don't know if they're good or bad." He answered in the affirmative but we do not know exactly what the question was going to be since he cut Mike Wallace off.
After interviewing a subject, an investigator will sometimes ask the person, "If I gave you a polygraph test, what will it tell me?" A truthful person will usually say that the polygraph will show he is telling the truth. Since he knows he is telling the truth, he believes the polygraph will confirm that. A deceptive person will sometimes state that the polygraph is not always accurate or they are not admissible in court. Since they know they are being deceptive, it is hard for them to state the polygraph will affirm their statement. Therefore, they will attack the polygraph and down play its usefulness.
On Friday January 4, 2008, two days before his "60 Minutes" interview aired, Roger Clemens had a telephone conversation with Brian McNamee. Clemens recorded the conversation which was allowable under Texas state law. It appears that McNamee did not know he was being recorded. Clemens played the 17-minute taped conversation at a press conference he held on Monday January 7, 2008. Here are some excerpts
McNamee: It is what it is, and it's not good. And I want it to go away. And I'm with you. I'm in your corner. I don't want this to happen. But I'd also like not to go to jail, too. But it has nothing to do with you. But I would like to sit down with you in person and talk with you.
Clemens: I get home from vacation here and I found out now - I'm just hearing a ton of other things. Just the stuff that I'm reading or hearing. So much of it is untrue that it's just tearing everybody apart.
When McNamee states, "I don't want this to happen" he may be stating he that he did not want to implicate Clemens but he had to so he would not go to jail. McNamee's agreement with investigators was if he told the complete truth he would not see any jail time. The statement, "But it has nothing to do with you" would appear to exonerate Clemens. However, McNamee could be referring to their friendship or something else. The fact he told on Clemens was not personal. It was business. Clemens responds by saying, "I'm just hearing a ton of other things." I believe Clemens had already read the Mitchell report so one has to wonder what the "other things" are. He also states, "Just the stuff that I'm reading or hearing. So much of it is untrue." That means there is some stuff he was reading or hearing that was true.
McNamee: The pain this is causing you and me and everybody is nonsense. You know, Brian (McNamee's child), your kids, my kids, they have nothing to do with this. The truth is the truth. It is what it is.
Clemens: That's why I answered your e-mail when I heard - again, like I said, I just don't know why - I just don't know why you did it? I mean, I just can't - like I said, you know, everybody asks me about you and I tell them I treat you like I treat anybody else in the world. I think you know that. I treated you just like anybody else
McNamee says, "The truth is the truth. It is what it is." Clemens does not confront him and tell him that what he told the investigators was not the truth. Clemens asks McNamee, "I just don't know why you did it?" We do not know what Clemens is talking about. Is he talking about McNamee lying about steroid use or is he talking about McNamee speaking the truth and ratting him out?
McNamee: No, you treated me better. You treated me like family. From day one I was family to you, and you treated me like that. You know, I'm glad to hear your voice. I just - you know, I don't believe that, you know, it is, whatever. I just - the bottom line is I'm glad to hear your voice. I'm sorry that your family is going through this. And I'll do whatever I can do to help.
Clemens: You just need to come out and tell the truth.
McNamee: I don't have any money. I have nothing. I'm not doing a book deal. I got offered seven figures to go on TV. I didn't do it. I didn't take it. I didn't do anything. All I did was what I thought was right - and I never thought it was right, but I thought that I had no other choice, put it that way. And I think when I spoke with your guys, that I laid it out there. And I was sick. I was in the hospital.
McNamee states, "I'll do whatever I can do to help." Clemens responds with, "You just need to come out and tell the truth." It appears that Clemens is confronting McNamee on his truthfulness. We would expect McNamee to state that he did tell the truth but he does not respond directly to Clemens' comment. McNamee states he thought he had no other choice. Apparently he is referring to speaking with investigators and mentioning Clemens' name. Did he mention Clemens name because that was the truth or because that would help keep him out of jail?
McNamee: Roger, what do you want me to do? What do you want me to do? What do you want me to do?
Clemens: Mac, I'm doing a press conference and - on Monday and -
McNamee: You want me to go? You want me to show up?
Clemens: I'm going to just tell the truth, flat out tell the truth.
Clemens denies doing "it" and "all this stuff" but we do not know specifically what he is referring to. McNamee asks him three times "What do you want me to do?" Clemens does not answer the specific question. He does not tell McNamee that he wants him to tell the truth. That he wants him to tell the investigators that he was lying about Clemens' steroid use. Clemens replies that he is going to do a press conference. McNamee asks Clemens if he should attend the press conference. Clemens does not answer him. Why doesn't Roger Clemens tell McNamee to be at the press conference and tell the whole world the truth? Is it because McNamee has already spoken the truth? Clemens' attorneys claim that because there is an ongoing investigation, Roger was hesitant to respond to some of McNamee's questions for fear he could be coercing a witness.
The shortest sentence is the best sentence; "I'm going to tell the truth." The word "just" is not needed. The word "just" is usually used to minimize one's actions.
Clemens: I need somebody to come tell the truth. And I got this press conference on Monday that I've got to deal with next.
Clemens does not state that McNamee needs to tell the truth. Instead, he states that "somebody" needs to tell the truth. Why not mention McNamee by name? It appears that this "somebody" needs to speak the truth at the press conference. Earlier in the conversation McNamee volunteered to be at the press conference and Clemens did not ask him to attend.
Clemens: I'm just, like I said, Mac, I'm just - I can't, you know, for the life of me, I'm trying to find out why you would tell guys that I used steroids from -
McNamee: I understand that. I understand that. And like I told the guys that tape-recorded me -
Clemens: Who's the guys that tape-recorded you?
Clemens: You're talking about the two investigators that came down and talked to you.
McNamee: Right. If I was lawyered up. If I had any idea what the (expletive deleted) was going on, why would I do that?
Clemens: I just don't know why, and I like I said, I got the press conference Monday and I need to, you know, somebody's got to come tell the truth.
McNamee: Roger, Roger, tell me what the (expletive deleted) you want me to do? What do you want me to do? My son is dying. He's 10.
Clemens confronts McNamee when he states, "I'm trying to find out why you would tell guys that I used steroids." We do not know if Clemens is upset because McNamee lied or because McNamee told the truth and let the cat out of the bag. In McNamee's responses, it is difficult to tell if the two of them are talking about a lie that McNamee told or if they are talking about McNamee squealing on Clemens. Again Clemens says he needs "somebody" to tell the truth at the press conference but does not ask McNamee to be there and tell the truth. McNamee asks, "What do you want me to do?" but Clemens does not answer the specific question.
McNamee: Tell me what you want me to do. I'm firing my lawyers. I'm getting rid of everybody. I have nothing. What do you want me to do? My wife is gone. My kids are gone. What do you want me to do?
Clemens: I didn't do this Mac. Let me, let me just - I didn't do it and, and, and just, just - I need, I need some - you know, like I said, I'm trying to get a direction and, and, and trying to comfort everybody and like I said, you know, you know what I think about your wife and your boys. You know that. I don't think I've left that uncovered one bit. Like I said, I do anything for them. And, and that's just, that's what's just, just eating at my gut in this whole thing. And, so, I mean, let me, just give me a little time here tonight and, just give me a little time. I'm glad at least you told me that. And, you know, about your boys, because, I don't want - they can't - I know over the years the up and downs that the little man's had. And all of our boys. And it's killing them. Right now, Kacy's just like, they're all, they're all in just a state, and it's, it's just, it's, it's, you know, like I said. They're coming. I mean, it's, it's unbelievable so - I just need somebody to tell the truth. And, and let me, let me just - I got to visit with some people and - because, you know, like I said, I'm just, I'm just devastated by this. And, and, I mean that's just where I'm at it. I'm just, I'm just so, I mean, I'm hurt, I'm upset, I'm shocked by some of the other, the other things that have been said. And I just know that I didn't do it and we need to, you know, move on from there.
Clemens states he didn't do it but we do not know exactly what he is denying. He says he is "shocked by some of the other, the other things that have been said." Perhaps this is what he is denying not doing but we do not know what these other things are. Again, he wants "somebody" to tell the truth.
It is important to listen to what people are saying and it is just as important to listen to what people are not saying. Throughout his "60 Minutes" interview Roger Clemens never calls Brian McNamee a liar. He never tells us that McNamee is lying. The closest he comes to that is when he refers to some of McNamee's statements as being "totally false." Roger Clemens looked very upset during his interview. McNamee has fingered Clemens as a steroid user. We have to wonder why Clemens would not finger McNamee as being a liar.
In talking about the polygraph test, Clemens never tells us he is willing to take the test to help prove his innocence. The closest he comes to saying he would take a test is when he responded "yeah" to a question Mike Wallace did not get a chance to finish.
During his telephone conversation with Brian McNamee only one time did Roger Clemens tell Brian McNamee "You just need to come out and tell the truth." Several other times Clemens mentions that "somebody" needs to tell the truth but he does not mention McNamee by name. 17-times McNamee asks Clemens "What do you want me to do?" Clemens never answers that specific question. Telling someone they need to tell the truth is not interfering with an investigation. I see no reason why Clemens should not have answered McNamee's questions for guidance unless McNamee has been telling the truth.
McNamee volunteered to attend Clemens' press conference. This would be the perfect forum for McNamee to tell the press the truth. However, Clemens does not take him up on his offer.
There are some statements and lack of statements in the telephone conversation that appear to exonerate Roger Clemens. These include Brian McNamee stating "It had nothing to do with you" and McNamee not replying to Clemens' statement "You just need to come out and tell the truth." However, Clemens' statement show some vagueness and deception. Things may not have happened exactly as McNamee has stated but it appears that something did occur that Clemens does not want the public to know about. Clemens is scheduled to testify under oath before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sometime in February 2008. We will have to wait and see how Clemens responds to their questions.