Clemens Mistrial: When Will It Stop?

The Government could have said, "Here is the Mitchell Report. Here is the Canseco book. Here are the dirty trainers. Here are the players that have admitted to using PED's. Now, draw your own conclusions." But instead, they went on a (failed) witch hunt to bring down the two biggest names linked to steroids/PED's in baseball.  Bonds and Clemens were the two guys that stood up to the allegations, despite the overwhelming evidence on the table against them, and now, three and a half years after the release of the Mitchell Report, we are stuck in neutral wonedering when this will all just go away.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial on day two of the Federal perjury trial against Roger Clemens. The mistrial occurred because Prosecutors allowed the twelve member jury to be exposed to written
testimony by Laura Pettitte (wife of Andy Pettitte) detailing a conversation that she claims to have had with Clemens about the use of HGH and steroids. Walton, appalled by the FUBAR had this to say, "We'll never know what impact that will have on how this jury decides this case... The government should have been more cautious."


Within the past three months, Barry Bonds was acquitted of his perjury charges and today, Roger Clemens had his day in court. Clemens has vehemently denied the allegations while Bonds has displayed a "catch me if you can" attitude. The fact that the Federal prosecutors were unable to convict either on perjury charges is a huge blow to the Prosecutors who were hoping to have their poster child. Frankly, the manner with which the Federal prosecutors have pursued someone (anyone) to make an example of has not sat well with me. I would bet that many would agree with me in saying that my patience is worn razor thin. These are our tax dollars at work and from the start I've wondered what good could come of this. If Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds spends six months in jail, is that any worse than the shame that he carries with him on a day to day basis?

In the end, we have been left with more questions than answers. At some point, we need to turn the page on this tired issue. It happened and there is plenty of blame to go around. Now, what are we doing to make sure that it doesn't happen again?  I'm not sure if the prosecutors will pursue a second trial but I'm ready to move on.  How about you?


  1. I think a player has to pay for lying to grand juries. If they keep getting off for lying, what's that say for our justice system? This isn't about taking steroids anymore, this about lying in court and under oath. What does this tell our children if they keep getting away with it?

  2. You're right it's about the lying, and that can't be tolerated. i just don't understand how they could have bungled in so bad. On day 2 no less. It makes me dislike all parties involved, including Clemens for wasting tax payer time and money.

  3. Think about the bigger picture... Try to forget the fact that these guys are professional athletes. The prosecutors have to prove that they did, in fact, take steroids 10-15 years ago without using he said, she said second accounts. What so they have to prove his guilt? Like I said, we have all drawn our own conclusions but we don't have to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof is what the defense has on their side; they can sit there and say, 'yeah but here's why that might not be the true...' without hard evidence and without a credible eye witness, I don't know what you've got. Anyone who has said anything- Even Andy Pettitte, Jose Canseco and Brian McNamee (who is as incredible as they come) have something to gain from seeing Clemens go down. There's a good chance you'll never nail these guys in federal court- that doesn't change anything but the more you pry without success, the less credibility you have to say, 'These guys had such a negative impact on the game that they don't belong in the HOF.'

  4. I totally agree with you on the negative impact. It angers me so much how that era will be looked upon in history. It's a shame for all the other great players we saw play then. I would just like to see one player pay for what they did to the game. So far, nobody has. Selig should have to pay somehow, but that's something else that will never happen.

  5. The figure of Roger Clemens I saw in the pictures from today looked big and strong, not diminished from having been off the "juice" he supposedly consumed when playing baseball. Am I wrong? If not, perhaps some whose minds have long been made up ought to re-examine their own jumped-to conclusions. Beyond that, the argument for severe consequences for lying to a grand jury does not hold the same weight in the case of that bunch of opportunist pols on the Congressional committee. First, they went out of their league, trying to play like justices. Second, the Mitchell Report would never be admissible in Court and it set up a trap and a Hobson's choice for a guy like Clemens. He could have dodged involvement with the hacks in Congress, but at a pre-determined cost to his reputation, present and future. It's not the kind of thing we do to people in this country. There never should have been a Congressional hearing involving Clemens. If they thought they had evidence of a crime, they should have turned it over to the Dept. of Justice to act on. If they thought there was systemic resistance to drug testing in the game that had to be rooted out and eliminated and prohibited, why didn't they play hardball with the MLB Player's Union and its cadre of lawyers, who obstructed all efforts to set up testing all those years? That's where the rub was, actually, all along. But no, they wanted to play "hardball" with a real ballplayer--it fit their overblown self-images better. And they wanted to try and recoup some of the face they lost when Magwire and Sosa and Palmeiro embarrassed them all. And, its hard not to conclude that they (and George Mitchell) wanted to balance out the appearance of racial bias by taking down a big name white ballplayer along with the black ballplayer, Barry Bonds. Make no mistake, politicians make such calculations. As the writer concluded, it is time to turn the page on this and move on.

  6. Well thought out post, Anonymous.

    Interesting that you place substantial blame on the Players Union... I have always blamed the owners and the front office for the sheer fact that they had to have known that this was going on and the only reason that they didn't act on it is because home runs and lab grown barbarians sell tickets/merchandise. You think that the Union put up a fight to thwart testing... interesting. It was definitely a cowardly move to attack players individually. I don't know about the legality of the maneuvers they made but none of it smells good.

  7. Replying to The OCP . . . yes, I do believe the record is clear that the main obstruction to testing was the Players Union. But I grant you your point that the owners and front office people did not suffer as a result. They had a golden goose in a cage and they weren't about to ruin it by pushing the obvious questions too hard.

    But if we must prioritize the blame, let's put the media up there at no. 2. For years, we heard jokes about "juiced bats, juiced balls and juiced players" didn't we? Yet the media made no effort to get to the bottom of the issue and were always the ones to remind us about the supreme authority of the Players Union and how so many questions just couldn't be pursued because of privacy or collective bargaining issues.

    The media are neck-deep in responsibility over all of these drug-enhancement of performance issues--even still--just listen to the stuff that gets advertised constantly on game broadcasts and talk shows. Oh, they will bristle and try and draw a line between what is "legal" and what is not--but it's a fuzzy line at best and it does not insulate them from their major share of responsibility. Once you promote the idea that healthy people can live better using drugs, I suggest that you own the issue, all facets of it.

    And who is no. 3 in terms of responsibility? I suggest still not the owners, but we the public. We bought the tickets, indulged ourselves in the thrills, and made it all possible. What a bunch of ingrates we are, those of us who seek to punish a few ballplayers.


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