It was revealed yesterday that Brian McNamee does in fact have evidence that links Roger Clemens DNA to needles and cotton balls (along with evidence of steroids). While this revelation may surprise some, the general consensus of people appear to have expected to hear this news, as most people generally agree that the odds of Clemens being completely clean of steroids while he played is almost zero.
With the prosecution having this invaluable empirical evidence (DNA is not circumstantial evidence but instead a very valid evidence marker), the Clemens defense team led by Rusty Hardin has decided to exercise the “no credibility” witness excuse. Knowing that DNA evidence is incredibly powerful in court these days, Hardin has chosen to both discredit McNamee as well as pump up Clemens and his integrity by citing numerous observations about his character.
A few of Hardin’s doozies yesterday include the following:
· McNamee “mixed up the evidence.” Of course, this could be possible, but with McNamee facing his own potential jail sentence if found to be lying it’s highly unlikely he would take this chance. After all, what does he have to gain by Clemens being found guilty?
· Clemens has maintained that McNamee only injected him with B12 and lidocaine. Neither element was found in the evidence McNamee provided.
· Hardin has argued that the only connection of steroids to Clemens is Brian McNamee, making the point that if Clemens really were a steroid user more people would have known about it. While this defense on the surface may make people think, it’s important to note that when people cheat, they usually do keep their wrong/illegal actions to themselves, or at the very most 1 or 2 people. It should also be noted that no other players have stepped forward to defend Clemens from these charges.
· Perhaps the most damning defense Hardin used yesterday was his bold questioning of “why would Clemens ever use steroid, to get in the Hall of Fame?” The short answer to this question is yes. While it is true that Clemens probably was on his way to the Hall well before choosing to use steroids, it is also true that many great athletes have gotten caught up in the excitement of trying to be the best ever and have turned to discrete ways to improve performance (like using steroids and HGH). Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are two examples that immediately come to mind, and there are countless great athletes in other sports who have been caught using illegal substances. Unfortunately, ego can and often does cloud rational thinking, allowing athletes to make in-the-moment decisions that are sometimes not in their best interest.
Some people have argued that the government is wasting their time investigating the Roger Clemens for his alleged steroid use, but I would disagree. Regardless of the player in question, it is important that officials (including the government) proactively address the issue of performance enhancing supplements in sports, even if it appears to be overkill in the methods in which they address the problem.
Young athletes across the country and throughout the world are seeing firsthand that cheating is a big deal, and even big-name athletes can be penalized for using. Major League Baseball has done a tremendous job exposing the “elephant in the room” by addressing steroid usage, even if they waited too long to get involved.
There is no witch-hunt for Roger Clemens, and Clemens wouldn’t have to answer questions about steroid-soaked cotton balls if he never used in the first place. Since it very unlikely there is video of Clemens injecting himself with steroids, the hope is the jury will not throw out their reasonable doubt as a result of “only” having DNA evidence. Clemens is one of the few players in sports history to significantly improve athletically as he got older, and there appears to be significant empirical evidence linking him to steroid usage. His attorney is also using a true stretch of an excuse as to why Clemens would never use, when in fact it’s even more likely he did when you think about how athletes often allow their egos to interfere with their rational, critical thinking.
The evidence is there, and the only defense the Clemens team is going to use is that all roads connecting steroids to Clemens are through McNamee. While McNamee may be the conduit to this information, there are millions of more reasons (in dollars alone) as to why Clemens did use.
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