Roger lied. Or at least the chances are better than 50/50 that Clemens fibbed when he told a congressional committee that he never used steroids, HGH, or any other performance enhancing drugs.
Most baseball insiders estimate that 60% to 75% of Major League Baseball (MLB) players used banned drugs in some form at the height of their popularity several years ago. Even if Clemens never partook (though he sure looks guilty), the percentages indicate thousands of other MLB players cheated.
Steroid use by our society at large is obviously a big problem. To its credit, MLB has finally tightened down the rules and testing for drug use. Most of the players seem to have cleaned up their acts.
So, why is Congress hammering Roger Clemens until he tells us he is a lying drug abuser? Our representatives know it is impractical to nail hundreds of MLB players for past improprieties, so it continues to drag a few legends such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens through the mud. Congress wants us to think they are looking out for us.
Remember, the 109th Congress is the same outraged group that guaranteed they would begin to bring home our troops from Iraq, among other empty promises. Of course, the level of U.S. military there increased by about 25% after the 2006 elections. Congress continues to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (closing in on $1 trillion to date) with no end in sight.
Look, I am no fan of Clemens. His arrogant behavior on the field in the past is well documented. Besides, as possibly the greatest pitcher of all time, he overpowered my Detroit Tigers more times than I care to remember.
Yet, I am beginning to feel sorry for the guy. Roger Clemens has become the whipping boy for everything wrong in sports. When former MLB pitcher John Rocker accused his former team officials of showing players how to use steroids without being caught, he came the closest to identifying the real culprits of the drug scandal.
Remember how baseball was shaken to its foundations after the strike of 1994? MLB sat out August, September and the entire postseason of that year. The last time the World Series had been cancelled was 1904.
In 1995, avid fans were boycotting the game in droves and team owners were teetering on bankruptcy. Enter the drug era. Since then, in part because of the prodigious feats of Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens (allegedly under the influence of steroids), baseball won back it fans and began to earn record profits. No wonder MLB officials were happy to look the other way while players used drugs like candy.
As national columnist Jason Whitlock stated, Weve mastered the art of incarcerating, belittling and disgracing drug users. Weve shown little ability and even less desire to do anything to drug kingpins, the men who double their wealth by cultivating the drug market.
It is too easy for our toothless Congress to beat up on celebrity players who broke the rules in order to perform at a high level and keep their jobs. Before you join the lynch mob, crucifying players for their horrible decisions, dont forget to spread the blame.
It was the baseball owners who indirectly promoted and financed the illegal drug traffic in baseball. Maybe Congress should put them on the stand.