Allegations that you were once a steroid-using cheat must be very painful, especially if you are innocent. But to challenge the veracity of a Congressional report of which you were not the intended target is plain foolish. It is even more idiotic to ask Congress and the Feds to narrow their bullseye onto just you.
As Chris Rock once said, “You want to look innocent in jail? I’d rather look guilty at the mall.”
But Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, apparently doesn’t agree. In 2008, he chose to voluntarily testify before a Congressional committee, under oath, that his former trainer lied in a Congressional report.
“And, like I have stated in the press conferences and when I first came out to make my statements when I heard about these allegations, basically it pertains to what Brian McNamee is saying about me. It is false. I have not used steroids or growth hormone.”
The Congressional committee, however, didn’t believe Mr. Clemens; so, the Department of Justice intervened and performed its own investigation. As a result, he was charged with six federal crimes: three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress.
Some believe that Mr. Clemens’ indictment is a waste of time and that the Feds should spend taxpayers’ money on more serious issues.
Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) said, “Why is Congress spending time on baseball? We have a deficit that is now heading back up over $400 billion. We have unsustainable programs in Social Security and Medicare. We have no control over our immigration policies and radical terrorists around the world who want to kill us.”
Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) agreed.
“The FBI should focus on the real threats facing our communities, such as terrorism and violent crime. Whether or not Roger Clemens may have committed perjury should not compete with real national security threats for the FBI’s time, attention and resources.”
This argument is flawed. Just because the Feds should have something better to do, like spend taxpayers’ money on a manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, that doesn’t excuse one’s lies, under oath, to Congress.
There is also the flawed argument that since the use of performance-enhancing drugs was not banned until 2004, previous players, like Clemens, should not be investigated and Congress had no place to intervene. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig made a similar argument after players were subpoenaed by Congress in 2005. He said the subpoenas were “an absolutely excessive and unprecedented misuse of Congressional power,” even though he previously agreed to have Congress investigate the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.
That investigation resulted in the “Mitchell Report,” which was released on December 13, 2005, by Senator George Mitchell. The report stated, among other things, that Brian McNamee injected Roger Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs approximately 20 times.
According to Chairman Henry Waxman, a hearing was scheduled with Senator Mitchell, Commissioner Selig, and Don Fehr the day the report was released and, “We intended for that hearing to close the chapter on looking at baseball’s past.”