Clemens 'swears' in interview he's never used banned substances

Updated: January 4, 2008, 1:04 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Roger Clemens says he was injected with "lidocaine and B-12" and not steroids or human growth hormone by former trainer Brian McNamee, according to a portion of an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" released Thursday.

"Lidocaine and [vitamin] B-12. It's for my joints, and B-12 I still take today," Clemens told Mike Wallace in the interview, which is scheduled to be shown Sunday night. It is Clemens' first interview since the release of the Mitchell report in December.

Lidocaine and B-12. It's for my joints, and B-12 I still take today.

-- Roger Clemens in "60 Minutes" interview

In the Mitchell report, McNamee claims to have injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001. He said he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with HGH in 2000, according to the report.

According to CBS, Clemens calls the accusation that he used steroids and HGH "ridiculous" and says he "never" used any banned substances. The interview was conducted last Friday at Clemens' home in Katy, Texas, a suburb west of Houston.

Wallace asked Clemens if he swears he didn't use banned substances. "Swear," Clemens responds.

The common use of lidocaine is as a local anesthetic used by dentists and in minor surgery. It also is available as part of ointments used to treat skin inflammation. It can also be given intravenously to stop heart arrhythmias in some cases.

Clemens is scheduled to hold a news conference on Monday, the day after the interview is broadcast.

Earl Ward, an attorney for McNamee, said his client stands by "everything he said to Senator Mitchell and federal investigators."

"Brian has a master's degree in sports medicine," Ward told ESPN The Magazine's Shaun Assael. "He knows the difference between lidocaine, B-12 and testosterone. What he injected into Roger Clemens wasn't lidocaine or B-12. It was testosterone."

Another lawyer for McNamee, Richard Emery, has threatened to sue Clemens for defamation.

"I think that this is a lawyers' game, which allows him to try and attempt to say that McNamee didn't know what he was injecting or that at least Clemens didn't know what he was injecting,'' Emery said.

"It really depends now on how the whole interview goes, and whether he goes after Brian. Look, I don't care whether Clemens used Sodium Pentothal. I don't care if he used strontium 90. My only concern is for Brian's well-being and his future.''

Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said Thursday that waiting for the 60 Minutes interview to answer questions publicly was a decision recommended by Clemens' legal team.

"Roger took bunches of his shots over his career, much the way racehorses do, unfortunately,'' Hardin said. "The reason he hasn't stepped out personally before now was really our decision, not his, and that was to more deliberately look into how in the world the Mitchell report could have reached what we believe was this totally wrong conclusion before we started talking out.

"Now we're more comfortable with all of that, and he's going to answer whatever questions they have.''

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Emery said a decision whether to sue won't be made until after the 60 Minutes interview is broadcast.

"It really depends on what a reasonable person would take away from the entire interview as to whether he's going to damage Brian. And we can't tell until what we see happens on Sunday,'' Emery said. "But it is fascinating. I think that Hardin and Clemens are responding to the fact that McNamee is going to defend himself aggressively by them trying to parse this closely and issue this statement through CBS. So it's fascinating, and I'm glad to see that they are responding to Brian's notice to them that he is not going to be trashed by them.''

Also on Thursday, the New York Daily News reported that Hank Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees' senior vice president, said Clemens will not be back in pinstripes.

"I'm not signing Clemens," Steinbrenner told the Daily News in a telephone interview.

Steinbrenner said the team has Andy Pettitte, who is also mentioned in the Mitchell report and who has admitted using performance enhancing drugs, signed for one season.

"Andy is [signed] for one year and he's only 35 and he knows how to pitch in the big games," Steinbrenner said, according to the Daily News. "Roger does, too, but let's face it, he's going to be 46 [in August].

"Pettitte is just as good with the young pitchers, though Clemens was great with the young kids last year. I don't think Roger is going to come back anyway."

When Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids in 2005 and was suspended for 10 days, he said a tainted vial of B-12 given to him by a teammate -- later identified as Miguel Tejada -- might have caused the positive test.

Shortly after the Mitchell report's release, Clemens issued denials both through Hardin and in a video posted on his Web site.

"Let me be clear, the answer is no. I did not use steroids or human growth hormone, and I've never done so," Clemens said in the video, released on Dec. 23. "I did not provide Brian McNamee with any drugs to inject into my body. Brian McNamee did not inject steroids or human growth hormones into my body."

Baseball players and owners did not have an agreement to ban steroids until September 2002, and they didn't ban HGH until January 2005.

Emery wouldn't say whether McNamee did inject Clemens with lidocaine and B-12.

"That's much too specific. That evidence has yet to be developed,'' he said. "There is a ton of evidence that the Mitchell report failed to explore that will corroborate Brian, and so it would be foolhardy for Clemens or Hardin to allow Clemens to trash Brian.''

Emery said it was unlikely McNamee would sue CBS. He also hasn't decided whether a suit would be filed in New York or federal court.

"Either court in New York would be perfectly acceptable,'' he said. "No New York jury is going to be hoodwinked by this claim if he ends up defaming Brian."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report