Steinbrenner withholds judgment on Clemens and steroids

Updated: January 8, 2008, 2:58 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Hank Steinbrenner isn't sure whether Roger Clemens used steroids and human growth hormone. The New York Yankees senior vice president thinks others are rushing to judgment, though.

Clemens held a news conference Monday in Houston, again denying allegations in last month's Mitchell report that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

"I thought that the press conference spoke for itself," Steinbrenner said Monday night outside Legends Field at the Yankees' spring training complex. "I thought the media commentary after the press conference was over was a little harsh. Too much rush to judgment in this country. As far as whether he's telling the truth or not, I have no clue. But I'm not going to say, well, he's lying, like everybody on TV did after he was done."

Clemens filed a defamation suit late Sunday night against his former trainer, Brian McNamee, who told George Mitchell's investigators that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids and HGH in 1998, 2000 and 2001 -- before baseball players and owners agreed to ban those substances.

"Everybody, the media, all said, 'Oh, he's got to sue,'" Steinbrenner said. "[Barry] Bonds never sued. Everybody said, 'Why not?' Well, this guy is suing and now they still don't believe him. You've got to start to wonder at some point. I don't rush to judgment. That's the big thing with me. I don't do that, and that's the exact term for it, rush to judgment."

Steinbrenner also agreed with comments made earlier this month by Joe Torre, who managed the Yankees from 1996-2007.

A total of 20 current and former Yankees were identified in Mitchell's report. Torre said the high total likely was due to two of Mitchell's primary sources being from the New York area: McNamee and former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, which "made it look like a lopsided report," Torre said.

Torre also suspects drug use might have been more widespread.

"The biggest thing is, I agree with what Torre said about the Mitchell report, which I thought was great he said it. Of course, that was his team, too," Steinbrenner said. "That is, it was extremely lopsided towards the Yankees. You can't tell me all those teams weren't doing it. Of course they were."

Torre won the World Series four times in his first five years with New York before leaving at the end of last season and becoming manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press