With taped phone call, Clemens throws up and in at McNamee
Roger Clemens tried to paint his ex-trainer, Brian McNamee, as a lying weasel in his news conference on Monday. But what really emerged was a picture of two men who are from completely different worlds, each trying to salvage what he can from a partnership that -- if you believe McNamee -- has always been built on lies and deceit.At the news conference, Clemens had only one job: to destroy the credibility of the man who told the Mitchell Commission that he injected Clemens 16 times with testosterone and HGH between 1998 and 2001. The Rocket had a great warm-up act in lawyer Rusty Hardin, who treated the press like a jury, begging reporters to hear the evidence he'd come to show. The smoking gun was to be the tape that Clemens had made the prior Friday, after McNamee e-mailed him begging to arrange a face-to-face meeting. Clemens knew he was being taped; McNamee didn't. On the tape, Clemens drew his old trainer out like a rookie hitter. The only reason Clemens was calling back, he insisted, was because McNamee had mentioned his son, Brian Jr., a diabetic who is also apparently suffering from celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder. Solemnly dipping his head as he put a sick child into a media op, Clemens joined the press in listening to McNamee say, "He's not doing good. It's real, man. Everything else is a joke." McNamee described his life like a Martin Scorsese movie, saying he had to leave his home in the Breezy Point section of Brooklyn because more than two dozen reporters were camped out. He had to pay for security. His wife didn't know what to do. His son was taking a turn for the worse. This is what the steroid era of baseball has come to. It is not pretty. Clemens also invoked his own kids, Koby, Kory, Kacy and Kody.
"It's not good," he kept saying, referring to the effect of the publicity on them.
But Clemens had just come back from a hunting trip. McNamee was calling from a one-room apartment on Long Island with his broken-down car in the parking lot.
"I don't have any money. I have nothing," he said, " all I have is because of you."
He added, "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, let's put it that way."Whatever you might think of McNamee, there was something gut-wrenching about hearing him say he'd ended up vomiting in a hospital.
"My wife is gone, the kids are gone. What do you want me to do?"
Unlike Greg Anderson -- his West Coast doppelganger, who was willing to go to prison to help defend Barry Bonds -- McNamee sounded cornered, not courageous.Clemens kept saying, "I treated you just like everybody else." But if he meant it as a term of endearment, it fell flat. McNamee kept insisting, "No, you treated me better. You treated me like family I ate with your family. I helped your kids with school projects. I tried to be like you."
He said he learned to be a father by watching Clemens: "I used how you were as a dad to your kids. I tried to be like you."As a piece of baseball theater, the tape was vintage Clemens -- a late-inning intimidation tactic. But in the real world, it smacked of something else -- a millionaire employer humiliating an uppity employee by putting his intimate personal life on public display. Whatever transpired between the men, whatever quiet war they are waging, this was a step the Rocket didn't have to take. The whole thing fell flat as evidence, anyway. McNamee never recanted what he told IRS special agent Jeff Novitzky.
"I'm with you. I'm in your corner," he told Clemens. "I don't want this to happen. But I'd also like not to go to jail."In the end, McNamee might have unwittingly written the epitaph of baseball's steroid era when he told his father figure, Clemens: "I tried to help you as much as I could, as late as I could, and it was too late, I guess, to help. What it comes down to is the way it affects our kids. They had nothing to do with this." No, but they appear to be paying the price.
Shaun Assael, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, writes extensively about doping in baseball and other sports in his new book, "Steroid Nation," available here.
THE MITCHELL REPORT
The Mitchell report• Mitchell delivers his report | Read it (pdf)
• Players: Who's named in the report
• Recommendations from the report
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• Drugs listed in report | The Dope On Steroids
• Evidence may limit Selig's punishment choices
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Clemens news• Reports: New name surfaces in Clemens saga
• Date set for Clemens, McNamee depositions
• McNamee unlikely to get congressional immunity
• Mitchell reportedly tried to contact Clemens twice
• McNamee's attorney defends immunity request
• Source: Clemens hedges on giving deposition
• Report of Clemens abscess raises more questions
• Astros unsure if Clemens to help at camp
• Clemens' accuser meets with federal prosecutors
• Rocket reps: McNamee 'avoiding' being served
• Source: No immunity expected for Clemens
• Laywer: McNamee 'avoiding' being served papers
• Clemens denies steroid use in taped conversation
• Trainer's lawyers alert Congress to second tape
Pettitte news• Pettitte undecided if he'll testify before Congress
• Pettitte gets new lawyer for congressional hearing
• Pettitte admits using HGH in 2002
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• Hearst wants goverment. to explain conduct
Other News• Players, owners try to modify drug agreement
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• Report: Congressional hearing postponed
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• Report: Players may still testify at hearing
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• Rose says users 'making a mockery' of game
• Selig defends baseball's drug-testing program
• Post-'03 cases face most MLB scrutiny
• Congress calling new hearings on steroids, HGH
• Report: Deal with feds led to McNamee testimony
• Report: Roberts admits one-time steroid use
• Nats prez: Team had no advance copy of report
• Indians' Byrd discusses HGH use with MLB
• Vina admits HGH use, but disputes steroid claims
• MLB's man: Progress in urine test to detect HGH
• O's respond to Mitchell findings
• A-Rod's reply to Canseco: I never doped
• Bush: MLB must take report seriously
• Pujols sets record straight on inaccurate report
• Reliever Donnelly 'sick' over inclusion in report
• Former D-back Cabrera denies using steroids
• Lowell calls for stronger steroid testing
Analysis• Munson: Delay means Congress serious
• Wojciechowski: Rocket's logic fizzles
• Assael: Clemens throws up and in at McNamee
• Munson: Clemens' lawsuit is part propaganda
• Olney: There's one thing Clemens can't change
• Crasnick: A tale of two Rockets on "60 Minutes"
• Neyer: Time to stop behaving like a child
• Bryant: Odds are against Clemens in interview
• Munson Q&A: Clemens, McNamee on the hot seat
• Neyer: Investigate all players
• Wojciechowski: Time for Clemens to speak up
• Neyer: Does HGH enhance performance?
• Hill: Pettitte's apology was a joke
• Stark: Pettitte no different than Pats' Harrison
• Stark: Clemens, Bonds tales similar, yet different
• Bryant: Selig must address steroids era records
• Santangelo admits HGH use; will 'face the music'
• Helyar: Not good for short-term business
• Fish: Baseball's steroids crisis management
• Crasnick: Clemens' Hall of Fame chances?
• Gammons: Drug culture quite slimy
• Hall of Fame voters speak out on Clemens
• Stark: Indelible impact on the game
• Wojciechowski: Thaw needed in cold war
• Bryant: Mitchell report flat without feds
• Fainaru-Wada: Report sheds light on Bonds
• Crasnick: Recently acquired players named
• The man behind Clemens, Pettitte bombshells
• Munson: Legal challenges troublesome
• Fish: Congress reacts quickly to report
• Helyar: Anti-doping experts don't agree on report
• Nelson: Fehr, MLBPA kept in dark on report
• Neyer: Non-surprising names
• Neyer: Scout's telling take on Gagne
Video• Complete coverage
Audio• David Justice on The Herd
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SportsNation• SportsNation reacts to Mitchell report
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More• Mitchell investigation timeline
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