Yesterday Roger Clemens Tweeted the following with regard to his indictment:
"rogerClemens I never took HGH or Steroids. And I did not lie to Congress. I look forward to challenging the Governments accusations, and hope people will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court. Rocket."
So here we are with baseball's all-time leader with seven Cy Young Awards, William Roger Clemens being charged by a federal grand jury with one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements, and two counts of perjury stemming from his sworn testimony in 2008 before a House committee investigating baseball's steroid era.
More specifically, the man who affectionately became known as Rocket, during his HOF caliber 24-year career, is charged with making 14 other false statements, including denying he illegally ingested human growth hormone in 2001. He effectively was charged with lying throughout his congressional testimony and a sworn deposition eight days earlier. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Clemens, could face 15 to 21 months in prison if convicted. The maximum sentence would be 30 years and a $1.5 million fine.
Clemens joins home run king Barry Bonds and former American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Tejada as the only major leaguers charged with crimes connected to the steroid crisis. He is being held accountable for actually taking steroids, his legal troubles stem from the fact that he's accused of lying when he denied illegally injecting anabolic steroids while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998 and New York Yankees in 2000 and 2001.
The funny thing is that Clemens was not subpoenaed to testify. If it is true that he lied under oath, he apparently did so voluntarily! As the committee's former Republican leader, Representative Tom Davis of Virginia, described the indictment, "it's a self-inflicted wound.'' Davis said Clemens appeared voluntarily before the committee, stating that he wanted to clear his name after the Mitchell report. Davis said he specifically warned Clemens, "Whatever you do, don't lie.''
In addition to allegedly lying about his involvement with steroids and HGH, Clemens is charged with falsely testifying that he was injected with vitamin B-12 and lidocaine rather than the illegal performance enhancers. The indictment alleges that he also lied when he said his former Yankee teammate Andy Pettitte "misremembered'' when testifying that Clemens confided to Pettitte that he had used HGH. Clemens allegedly lied, too, when he said he was unaware McNamee injected his wife, Debbie, with HGH in 2003.
One wonders if Clemens will go down with the ship or simply claim that he "misremembered" the entire course of events.
Clemens now must weigh his legal options, which include fighting the charges before a jury and reaching a plea agreement, as Tejada did last year with the same prosecutor. Miguel pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2005 when investigators were examining former Baltimore slugger Rafael Palmeiro's alleged steroid use and was sentenced to one year of probation.
Remembering after you misremember seems to work well with the courts as Tejada is now in the heat of a pennant race with the San Diego Padres.
Most pundits feel that Clemens would face a stiffer sentence if he were convicted, considering how many charges are against him. If precedence has anything to do with it, prosecutors rarely seek lenience for defendants who decline plea offers and go to trial.
ESPN's Bonnie Bernstein's tweet this morning hit the nail right on the head.
"BonnieB_ESPN Roger Clemens: Innocent until proven guilty. Understood. But ultimately, his worst sentence may b getting shut out of Cooperstown. #MLB"
As for the other big fish, a federal judge has set a trial date of March 21 for Barry Bonds, who is charged with perjury for telling a federal grand jury he had never knowingly used steroids on his way to setting baseball's home run record.
Bonds, faces 11 felony charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for his 2003 testimony to the grand jury that was investigating BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative of Burlingame. He has pleaded not guilty.
Could it be that perhaps the two biggest MLB stars of the past generation are so vain and so concerned about protecting their legacy that they are actually willing to challenge society to a showdown as if society was an opponent on the field? I understand that if you are going to be a successful athlete, you have to feel that you are better than the next guy and have confidence in yourself. Someone should tell these two fellows that their baseball careers are over..... - Adam Foster
Adam is a freelance sports writer contributing to various online and print publications for over 12 years.
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