Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Rocket Running On Fumes

Frankly, I’m insulted. You should be, too.

Roger Clemens thinks I’m an idiot. And he thinks you’re an idiot. And he thinks that the American public and our elected officials are idiots. In fact, he thinks that you and I and everyone else following his charade are so dumb that we might actually begin to believe that he’s not a liar if he just tells us enough times that he isn’t.

It’s a fascinatingly arrogant assumption – one that his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, shares, as evidenced by his comments about Clemens’ recent indictment on perjury charges: “Some time, I want somebody, though, to maybe ask the question, `Isn’t his continued insistence, at the risk of going to the penitentiary, evidence that he didn’t do it? Isn’t that evidence, maybe, that he didn’t?'”

Actually, Rusty, just to clear up any lingering confusion, it’s not. Clemens’ continued statements that he never used human growth hormone (HGH) or steroids aren’t evidence of anything. I’m no lawyer, but last time I checked, the bad guy doesn’t get off scot-free by pointing out to the jury that he’s always denied any wrongdoing. The so-called Rocket’s denials are as much evidence of his innocence as the government’s charges against him are evidence of his guilt. So in short, you’re not fooling this guy.

What Roger Clemens is accused of doing is a lot worse than taking HGH or steroids, and it’s a lot worse than cheating the game of baseball and the people who love it. And if he did do it – if he willingly appeared before Congress and lied under oath – then that should upset Americans a lot more than the fact that he doped.

As members of the Georgetown and Washington, D.C. communities, we should be particularly perturbed by Clemens’ antics. This city is the heart of a nation built on laws, justice, truth and integrity, and if the government is right, Roger Clemens thinks that he and his seven Cy Young Awards are above it all.

It should be made clear that Clemens was not required to speak to Congress at all. Rather, he asked for a hearing to be held, and according to the government, proceeded to tell lie after lie at that hearing. In other words, he tried to use the power of a congressional hearing as a public relations tool in a grander attempt to mislead the American public into believing that he never used HGH or steroids, and he spewed falsehoods to U.S. government officials time and time again along the way.

If that’s really what happened, then it doesn’t take an IQ test to figure out who the idiot is.

Earth to Roger Clemens: The U.S. Congress is not a toy to be played with or a tool to be used for your own personal gains. You can tweet and call into radio stations and post videos on your website detailing your innocence all you want, but you don’t mess with the Feds. You can lie to us from your computer, from your Blackberry, from your cell phone or with your video camera, but you don’t raise your right hand on Capitol Hill and swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth and then lie through your teeth. That’s just not how we do things here in the United States of America.

The Rocket took this at least one step – probably several steps – too far. If he did use HGH or steroids, he should have admitted it, apologized and moved on like Miguel Tejada, Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez, to name a few, have. Instead he took the tried-and-failed, Pete Rose-esque route of deny, deny, deny. But at least Rose didn’t think it was OK to squeeze every drop of good publicity he could out of Congress in the process. At least he drew the line somewhere.

Roger Clemens clearly isn’t aware of that line, but he’s about to find out what happens when you cross it. I don’t feel sorry for him now, and I won’t feel sorry for him if he’s convicted of perjury. If he did it, he waltzed right into the District and did it willingly, and that kind of stupidity ought to be punishable by law apart from the actual crime itself.

Is it a shame for baseball to watch as one of its greatest pitchers of all time self-destructs for the whole world to see? Absolutely. But it’s nowhere near the most significant shame in this Roger Clemens saga. The man thinks he can get away with lying to Congress in order to restore his damaged reputation, and we can’t have that.

The best thing the Rocket can do now is come clean, take a plea bargain and tell Peter Gammons how foolish he realizes he was to think that this hair-brained idea ever had a chance of ending in anything but jail time. For some reason, though, I don’t see that happening.

And so I wonder: Will inmate No. 21 be willing to give up his number?

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