Clemens denies HGH use before Congress; McNamee repeats accusations
Roger Clemens and his ex-trainer stick to different stories, amid withering questioning on Hill.
(Page 2 of 2)
"I didn't take a lot of steps, Mr. Congressman," said Clemens, under harsh questioning by Rep. John Tierney (D) of Massachusetts.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
McNamee had some uncomfortable moments as well. He was forced to admit that he has consistently revised the number of times he allegedly injected Clemens with steroids. He admitted as well that he had withheld physical evidence from investigators for former Sen. George Mitchell, who produced a recent report on drugs in baseball for commissioner Bud Selig.
The evidence includes syringes and pads allegedly used in injecting Clemens.
"I was afraid of hurting Roger Clemens," said McNamee.
McNamee indicated that he was trying to say as little as possible about Clemens's alleged actions – until Clemens played a tape of a phone call between them on national TV.
The inconclusive conversation, which occurred after McNamee's initial allegations became public, led among other things to public revelations of health problems of McNamee's son.
"That was despicable," said McNamee.
The level of detail discussed at the hearing was such that a considerable time was spent on the question of whether Clemens attended a party at the house of then-teammate Jose Canseco in June 1998.
According to McNamee, Clemens first raised the subject of steroids not long after McNamee saw Mr. Canseco and Clemens meeting during the party.
Clemens has said he wasn’t there, and that he had a time-stamped receipt from a golf course to prove that he was on the links instead. His account has been supported by Canseco, who filed an affidavit saying that the famous pitcher wasn’t there.
For lawmakers, McNamee recounted in vivid fashion his recollection of the party, including of a girl he later learned was the Clemens family nanny retrieving a toddler who was scooting toward the swimming pool.
Chairman Waxman revealed that panel investigators had spoken to the nanny, and that she said she had been at the party – and that Roger Clemens had indeed been there.
Whether any legislative action will result from the hearing remained unclear. Any prosecution of perjury on the part of either McNamee or Clemens would be carried out not by Congress itself, but by the Department of Justice.
Congress could at some point take further action in regards to laws governing regulation of performance-enhancing substances. In particular, committee members billed the day as a means of raising consciousness among both lawmakers and the public in the name of preventing abuse by young athletes imitating their heroes. "We are trying to disrupt and discredit the crass messages being aimed at our children," said Rep. Tom Davis (R) of Virginia.
As the hearing progressed, the questioning seemed to divide along partisan lines, with Democrats generally attacking Clemens’s credibility, and Republicans doing the same to McNamee.
By the end, tempers seemed to be fraying. When Waxman attempted to ask a question out of turn, there were cries from GOP members of “Mr. Chairman, regular order!”
In his closing remarks, Waxman then defended McNamee against some of the Republicans’ lines of questioning. “Mr. McNamee, you took some hits today,” said Waxman. “In my view some were fair and some were really unwarranted.”
Material from the Associated Press contributed to this report.