To tell the truth: The Clemens, McNamee edition

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) just gaveled closed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s hearing on steroids and baseball. It came a few seconds after he pounded his gavel onto his podium and told Roger Clemens to shut up.

That little moment were just the sprinkles atop of the sundae during the four-plus hours that Roger Clemens and his ex-trainer Brian McNamee met with the Congressional Committee to discuss the Mitchell Report’s investigation in illicit performance-enhancing substance abuse in baseball. Most of the testimony and questions were quite testy and went so far as for several U.S. Representatives to call McNamee a “liar” and a “drug dealer.”

Aside from the final gavel down from Waxman, Clemens was treated much more respectfully than McNamee than members of Congress, though the questions were hardly deferential and the responses were greeted with loads of skepticism.

So after four hours of accusations, anger and the threat of further hearings, here’s what I learned from watching Clemens, McNamee and Congress joust for the better part of the afternoon:

• Andy Pettitte is a problem for Clemens. Actually, it seems almost Shakespearean in that Clemens’ best friend in baseball could be the one guy to bring him down.

• Whether he is telling the truth or not, Brian McNamee did not come out of the hearings looking very good.

• Whether he is telling the truth or not, Roger Clemens does not look good for hiring a trainer/body man like Brian McNamee.

• Athletes like Roger Clemens continue to perpetuate the notion that they do not know what they are taking or have taken. Just the thought of such a thing is such a load of bull—-. Every elite-level athlete knows very well what they take and they sweat over the details. Those who don’t pay attention to such things don’t last very long. So for someone like Roger Clemens to say he was not aware or was duped by a trainer, nutritionist or doctor… well, perhaps they aren’t exercising the best candor.

• Most importantly, Roger Clemens is not a vegetarian. When asked if he was a vegan, Clemens looked confused and said: “I don’t know what that is. I’m sorry.”

So if Clemens is neither a vegetarian nor a vegan, we should assume that he has ingested steroids… sorry, there I go again.

Anyway, the question remains – what was accomplished with having Clemens and McNamee in front of the committee.

“Not as much as we would have liked,” Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) told ESPN, who also chastised Major League Baseball and its players for its “code of silence” in regards to its drug problems.

“I found Clemens almost as believable as Rafael Palmeiro,” Rep. Souder told ESPN.

The problem is that McNamee came off just as believable in a circus of events in which it seems as if the man who was not present came out with his reputation intact. That’s the curious part, especially considering that several Congressman wondered aloud about why Andy Pettitte was not taking questions, too.

Where was he?

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