Cle­mens: Case far from set­tled

The Covington News - - Sports -

there’s a video on YouTube show­ing McNamee in­ject­ing him with hu­man growth hor­mone.

Kind of hard to ask tough ques­tions if you’re ask­ing for au­to­graphs first.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers likely breathed eas­ier when the wit­ness list was pared Mon­day night and Andy Pet­titte, Chuck Knoblauch and steroids dealer Kirk Radom­ski were spared from giv­ing pub­lic tes­ti­mony. In Pet­titte’s case it was re­port­edly be­cause he didn’t want to say bad things about his good friend in the glare of the television lights, and who can blame him.

If true, that’s bad news for Cle­mens, be­cause Pet­titte has al­ready an­swered ques­tions — lots of them — un­der oath to con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tors and those an­swers could be read aloud at the hear­ing. If Pet­titte con­firms he had con­ver­sa­tions with Cle­mens about HGH and gives some of the de­tails of those con­ver­sa­tions, it could be a long day for the soon-to-bere­tired pitcher, even with starstruck con­gress­men ask­ing the ques­tions.

Don’t be sur­prised if McNamee’s char­ac­ter be­comes the cen­tral is­sue in­stead of Cle­mens’ al­leged steroid use. No one likes a drug pusher, even if the only drugs McNamee was push­ing were to help his clients gain a few ex­tra miles on their fast­ball or find the gap more of­ten with their line drives.

It’s not only easy but po­lit­i­cally cor­rect to go af­ter McNamee, de­spite var­i­ous on­line sur­veys that show the pub­lic by a 2-1 mar­gin be­lieves Cle­mens is the one do­ing the ly­ing. No one is go­ing to lose votes grilling the per­sonal trainer on why he gave play­ers il­le­gal steroids, or why he has got­ten im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion for telling his story.

As­sum­ing that both McNamee and Cle­mens stick to their scripts, it then be­comes a ques- tion of how hard the politi­cians want to push and for how long. Are they re­ally in­ter­ested in find­ing out the truth, or is this just a good ex­cuse to get on television and do some pon­tif­i­cat­ing and preach­ing for the folks back home?

Will they ask enough tough ques­tions so that Cle­mens and McNamee are forced squarely on the record, know­ing that they can be pros­e­cuted for per­jury if enough other ev­i­dence ex­ists to show they are ly­ing? Again, my guess is no. Ex­pect some drama when Cle­mens and his ac­cuser are in the same room to­gether. Ex­pect emo­tions to run high and some raw feel­ings on both sides.

But don’t ex­pect this to settle any­thing. It’s not a court of law, not even a court of pub­lic opin­ion.

Those who be­lieve Cle­mens will come away still be­liev­ing him. Those who be­lieve McNamee will do the same.

One hear­ing isn’t likely to change that.

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