Much like in his interview with Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes”, Roger Clemens did not do much in the way of enlightening the general public with anything that would prove his innocence during his press conference on January 7, 2008.
It certainly is an unfortunate position to be in; having to prove your innocence when such a task is practically impossible. However, that is the situation Roger Clemens has found himself in, and that’s due to the increased scrutiny of the steroids era and all of those who were complicit in it, including MLB management, franchises and the players themselves.
In his press conference, Clemens’ attorney, Rusty Hardin, led the conference trying to cover some of the legal questions the press might want to ask Roger. From defending Clemens’ water drinking during the “60 Minutes”, to accounting for Roger’s on-the-fence stance where he is apparently leaning towards not taking a polygraph test, Hardin tried to cover all of the bases.
However, it was Roger who would have to face the “use of steroids” questions. But not before a 17-minute tape of a conversation between Clemens and his accuser, former Clemens’ trainer Brian McNamee, was played for the press and the sports watchers of the world to hear. The whole tape was somewhat confusing. Especially when Clemens said, “I’m telling the truth and I want it out there,” and McNamee responded with, “Tell me what you want me to do. I’ll go to jail. I’ll do whatever you want.”
In addition, the fact that Clemens was taping it without the consent of McNamee definitely had a level of underhandedness that you wouldn’t like to see, but nonetheless, the conversation itself was awkward. Roger Clemens kept referring to wanting the truth to be told, but he never actually told McNamee to come up with the truth, nor did he call McNamee a liar. In the end, the tape left many people with many more questions. The tape may be a slight bit of evidence in favor of Clemens, because McNamee never contested Clemens on his claims that the truth has not been told, but considering the awkwardness of the entire conversation, one can only be suspicious of why McNamee never confronted Clemens on those claims.
After the tape was played, Clemens addressed the media for the first time. He took on questions, and definitely seemed quite perturbed. His attitude was very livid, and he even dropped a couple of curse words out there. Obviously, he denied having done anything wrong, especially taking steroids. He explained that he only reached out to McNamee to return a request for a phone call while being aware of the fact that McNamee’s son was in critical health conditions.
Clemens really did nothing to say anything new. However, he did address the Congressional Hearings on January 16th when he said, “I’m going to Congress and I’m going to tell the truth.” And for the people in the public and in the media who had been asking for a venomous rant of utter denial of the steroid use allegations, you got what you wished for. Before practically storming off the stage, Clemens told hall of fame voters with issues with him to keep their votes and he said that he couldn’t wait to go into the private sector and out of the public light so that he won’t have to deal with these issues anymore.