Misremembering: The Newest Word in the Dictionary
If one would open the latest edition of Miriam Webster’s unabridged dictionary to the word “misremembering”, he or she would find a picture of Roger Clemens and the definition– “I think I just got caught in a big, fat lie.”
At least that’s the way this Korner feels about sports biggest soap opera pertaining to the use of steroids by major league baseball players.
When Clemens’ teammate and good friend Andy Pettitte stood before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last week and testified under oath that Clemens told him he used human growth hormone, the Rocket became the world’s best liar in the eyes of this Korner.
Now instead of being a lead-pipe cinch of being inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., Roger Clemens may be making our license plates in the Federal pen at Leavenworth for lying under oath about using performance-enhancing drugs during his long and brilliant career.
Clemens has left himself wide open to a criminal investigation by repeating his denials under oath. He swears his friend and teammate Andy Pettitte was merely misremembering when he testified that Clemens admitted to him as long as 10 years ago that he had used HGH. Affidavits by Pettitte and Pettitte’s wife, Laura, supported the accusations.
“Andy Pettitte is my friend, was my friend before this and will be my friend after this. I think Andy has misheard,” Clemens said after the hearing last Wednesday. “I think he misremembers.”
Brian McNameee, Clemens former personal trainer, testified in the Mitchell Report that was revealed two months ago that he had injected both Clemens and Pettitte with HGH and Clemens with steroids on several occasions dating back to 1998, 2000 and 2003.
Immediately, something seemed to be wrong with this scenario because Pettitte readily admitted McNamee injected him on two occasions with human growth hormone while Clemens vehemently denied ever using any form of performance-enhancing drugs.
Perhaps Clemens knew that several statements McNamee gave in the Mitchell Report were untrue and decided to use his squeaky-clean image over his 25-year career to convince the House Committee that he was the good guy and McNamee was the liar.
Last Wednesday Rep. Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican, repeatedly read remarks McNamee had made, and each time the former police officer was forced to admit they were untrue. “You’re here under oath and yet we have lie after lie after lie,” a disgruntled Burton said.
Last week Clemens filed a defamation suit against McNamee that he might also lose because of Pettitte’s testimony.
This Korner wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Roger Clemens will be viewed by the world of sports in the same manner as Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and even Mark McGwire.
“My sense from just listening and reading is that the public basically doesn’t believe Clemens at all,” former commissioner Fay Vincent told the Associated Press last weekend. “I thin k he’s running the same risk of Rose, which means disgraced, or Bonds, who’s indicted. And either one is a pretty sad choice.”
John Dowd, the investigator who took down Rose, thinks Clemens made a mighty mistake, one stemming from the self-confidence and even arrogance that made him spectacularly successful on the field.
“Clemens is just a mess, Dowd said. “ He’s in jeopardy, there’s no question. I don’t know why he opened his mouth in the first place. He’s just like Rose. They think they’re so great, they’re such celebrities, they can just blow their way through any subject.”
But anyone who has been a teammate of The Rocket believes him and will stick with him until the bitter end. New York Yankee catcher Jorge Posada said, “He sounded real truthful the other day. That’s all I wanted to hear. I’ll believe Rocket.”
Houston Astros’ catcher Brad Ausmus, who was Clemens’ teammate from 2004-06 told the Houston Chronicle last week that if Rocket did use drugs it didn’t hurt anyone and he hopes he’s eventually vindicated.
“I think it’s upsetting because Roger is a friend of mine, and certainly you don’t want to see friends suffer,” Ausmus told the Chronicle. “But because I didn’t see (the hearing), I wasn’t watching the television and feeling the angst and tension that was occurring.
“Whether this is a complete fabrication or 100 per cent true, he’s a friend of mine,” Ausmus continued. “Even if it is 100 per cent true, he wasn’t hurting anybody. We’re not talking about a violent crime. He was a good person, a good teammate and he’s a good friend. I’m pulling for him 100 per cent to be completely vindicated.”
However the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J. removed Clemens’ jersey last week from a display honoring the New York Yankee teams of the late 1990’s that won four World Series championships in five years.
Museum director David Kaplan said the decision to remove the jersey was not made to generate publicity, but was done in response to allegations of steroid use by Clemens.
“It was the fact there are a lot of unresolved issues involving Roger and it was difficult for us to give answers to kids coming through the museum,” Kaplan said. Clemens’ jersey had been displayed alongside former teammates Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, whose jerseys will remain on display.
They notified Berra of their decision and the former Yankee great “was okay with it.” Clemens and Berra are friends and Rocket has played in a celebrity golf event that raises money for the museum.