Clemens apologizes for 'mistakes,' continues to deny steroid use

Updated: May 5, 2008, 7:31 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Saying he had made "mistakes" in his personal life, Roger Clemens apologized to his family and the public on Sunday.

In his first public comments since he was linked to an extramarital affair, the former New York Yankees pitcher issued a statement that did not detail what those mistakes were.

Clemens did take the opportunity to deny that he had an affair with country singer Mindy McCready, as was reported by the New York Daily News. He also said that he had not taken performance-enhancing drugs.

"I know that many people want to know what I have to say about the recent articles in the media," Clemens said in the statement. "Even though these articles contain many false accusations and mistakes, I need to say that I have made mistakes in my personal life for which I am sorry. I have apologized to my family and apologize to my fans. Like everyone, I have flaws. I have sometimes made choices which have not been right."

Clemens' statement was first reported by the Houston Chronicle.

The pitcher filed a defamation suit against Brian McNamee, his formal personal trainer, who testified to Mitchell report investigators and Congress that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids and human growth hormone.

Reached Monday by 1050 ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand, Richard Emery, one of Brian McNamee's lawyers, said Clemens should now "run and hide" and make a deal with federal authorities for as "short of a prison sentence as possible."

Dropping the defamation suit "would have been the smart thing to do," Emery said. "They instead put him on bended knee in front of the American public on the issues of his apparent cheating on his wife and his family and are preserving the case, which seems to me completely silly because what they are doing is they are essentially conceding that he had a terrible reputation.

"The only issue now is whether he … cheated with steroids."

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Emery added, "I think what it says without saying it is that he apparently admits he cheated on his wife and family. And if he cheated on them, I think it's reasonable to assume that he cheated his fans and baseball.

"I think this is all very probative of his behavior and his penchant for denying the truth, and it certainly will come into play in the defamation lawsuit. He certainly doesn't deserve to be compensated for loss of reputation when his reputation, to the extent he ever had it, of being a family man was totally false and built on a house a cards, a tissue of lies, if you will."

Citing anonymous sources, the Daily News reported that Clemens "carried on a decade-long affair with country star Mindy McCready, a romance that began when McCready was a 15-year-old aspiring singer performing in a karaoke bar and Clemens was a 28-year-old Red Sox ace and married father of two."

In the statement, Clemens said: "Now, I have been accused of having an improper relationship with a fifteen-year-old girl. Nothing could be further from the truth. This relationship has been twisted and distorted far beyond reality. It is just one of many, many accusations that are utterly false."

Clemens refused to reveal the reason for public declaration but concluded: "I realize that many people want me to simply confess and apologize for the conduct that I have been accused of, but I cannot confess to, nor apologize for, things I did not do. I have apologized to my family for my mistakes. And having offered this apology to the public, I would ask that you let me and my family deal with these matters in private."

Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said Friday he will talk with his client about whether to proceed with the defamation suit against McNamee following a wave of unpleasant publicity.

"He's getting pummeled," Hardin said then. "I've never seen somebody get beat up like this. In some ways, I think we're on uncharted ground."

The decision on whether to drop the suit rests with Clemens.

"That's always a decision the client has to make," Hardin said. "That's not the lawyer's decision."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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