You might want to think twice the next time you ask your favorite celebrity to take a photo with you. The keepsake could land you smack dab in the middle of a federal trial.
Wrapping its sixth week of testimony, the Roger Clemens perjury trial remains slow (two jurors were dismissed for falling asleep), complex (scientific experts used the number “quintillion” during testimony) and filled with endless faces, stories and contradictions.
When looking at the evidence, I think it’s safe to assume most of us think that yes, the Rocket juiced at some point, and yes, he straight up lied about it to Congress, under oath. That said, there is enough reasonable doubt surrounding Clemens’ former trainer Brian McNamee’s shoddy preservation of a needle and cotton balls (containing Clemens’ DNA) in a beer can for six years to keep this case from being a slam dunk for the prosecution.
For our purposes here, who cares about the science? Instead, let’s talk about the smut…errr, circumstantial evidence, which is much more entertaining and easy to comprehend for those of us who didn’t take the Bar or spend four years of college in a labratory.
As one should expect, things went awry for the seven-time Cy Young winner, starting with former major-leaguer and infamous dope (multiple meanings intended) Jose Canseco.
Note to anyone involved in sports: DO NOT GO NEAR JOSE CANSECO.
It’s too late for Rog, but others can learn from his mistakes.
Here’s the deal: Canseco (Clemens’ then-Blue Jays teammate) hosted a pool party at his pad in South Florida back on June 9, 1998, where McNamee testified to seeing Clemens, Canseco and another man chatting about steroids. This anecdote was one of many that helped finger Clemens as a cheater back in 2007 when facts were being researched for the infamous Mitchell Report.
Here’s the problem: The following is part of Clemens’ 2008 testimony, UNDER OATH, about his presence at said party:
“I never was at the party. I wasn’t here at this — at a party that he had. I could have gone by there after a golf outing. So — but I was not at this party.”
Au contraire, according to Alexander Lowrey. As an 11-year-old kid back in 1998, Lowrey had the rare opportunity to party poolside with several of his favorite athletes, and you’d better bet he wasn’t leaving without a picture or two.
Lowrey was invited to the party by a handyman who worked for both his family’s business and Canseco.
Now 25 years old, Lowrey testified before the jury that aside from taking a tour of Canseco’s MTV Cribs-style estate, he played Wiffleball with some of the other kids (including Clemens’ son Koby) and even mustered up the courage to approach the eventual 11-time All-Star.
Lowrey asked Clemens for a picture, and the pitching great kindly obliged. The prosecution showed the jury a photo of Clemens swimming in the pool and another (below) of Clemens standing in the pool with his arm around a young Lowrey sitting at the pool’s edge.
There are so many things wrong with this picture, Clemens’ receding, bleach-job being the most obvious dysfunction. But from a legal standpoint, the more upsetting fact is the inherent proof in the photo’s existence that Clemens blatantly BS’d the House Committee back in 2008.
Lowrey’s photo and testimony lends credibility to McNamee (who spent 26 hours over a span of five days on the witness stand) while simultaneously dealing a big blow to Clemens’ believability.
The big picture became clearer as one little photo suggested that not only has Clemens wasted the last several years of his life denying steroid use, but we the taxpayers will have spent lord knows how much money on another cheating athlete by the end of this silly trial. As if we don’t spend enough money on jerseys, tickets, parking, and TV packages! It’s offensive.
Note to self: DO NOT LIE TO THE GOVERNMENT.
Didn’t Rog pay any attention to what happened to our 42nd President? You don’t question the meaning of “is.” You don’t “misremember” things.
Both Bill Clinton and Clemens got caught cheating and lied about it in Washington. The difference is, the only person owed an explanation from Bill was Hillary, whereas Clemens is accountable to his teammates, competitors and the fans for his crimes.
Jackie Pepper is a sports journalist with nearly a decade of experience. As an anchor and reporter for Comcast SportsNet in Boston she covered the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins for the network's flagship show SportsNet Central and sister station New England Cable News.
In addition to her work with Comcast Boston, Pepper also anchored and reported for CBS affiliate KIDK, covering the Utah Jazz and various sports teams throughout the United States.
Pepper began her sports journalism career as a college radio reporter and talk show host at the University of Arizona. She went on to work for ABC Sports, ESPN and NFL Network. Recently she started her own sports website, www.pepperonsports.com, featuring daily interviews, commentary and articles on the latest sports news.
Pepper also frequently contributes to LIVE radio broadcasts as a guest sports and cultural analyst.
VIDEO RESUME: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E22wrK2EX_I