Putting his reputation and legacy on the line, Roger Clemens denied claims by former trainer Brian McNamee and Andy Pettitte that he used steroids, as the multiple Cy Young Award winner testified Wednesday during a congressional hearing in Washington.
Clemens and McNamee gave conflicting testimony under oath to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Capitol Hill.
"I have never used steroids, human growth hormone or any other type of illegal performance-enhancing drugs," Clemens said.
"No matter what we discuss here today, I am never going to have my name restored. I know that a lot of people want me to say that I have taken steroids and be done with it. But I cannot in good conscience admit to doing something that I did not do, even if it would be easier to do so."
However, Pettitte, a friend and former teammate of Clemens, supports McNamee's claim.
During a sworn affidavit on Tuesday to Congress, Pettitte said Clemens admitted to him in a conversation in 1999 or 2000 that he used HGH.
Pettitte, who admitted to using HGH in 2002 and again in 2004, said he then told his wife of the discussion he had with Clemens.
When asked about Pettitte's testimony, Clemens said he believes Pettitte misunderstood their chat.
"Andy Pettitte is my friend," he said. "He will be my friend before this, he will be my friend after this and again I think Andy has misheard on his comments about myself using HGH, which never happen."
McNamee ups the Clemens claims
McNamee said in the Mitchell Report that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 to 21 times, in 1998 with the Toronto Blue Jays, and 2000 and 2001 while the two were with the New York Yankees. McNamee also said Yankees Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch used HGH.
"I have that opportunity to think about these events and consider the specific drug regimens we used," McNamee said Wednesday. "As a result, I now believe that the number of times I injected Roger Clemens and Chuck Knoblauch was greater than I initially stated."
McNamee said he "helped taint our national pastime" during his opening statement.
"Make no mistake: When I told Sen. Mitchell that I injected Roger Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs, I told the truth," McNamee said.
By denying the accusations under oath, Clemens may face possible criminal charges if it is determined he made false statements or obstructed Congress.
"I haven't reached any conclusions at this point," said California Democrat and committee chairman Henry Waxman.
"Coming into today's hearing, we have before us some very different stories. They're in many ways incompatible," said ranking Republican Tom Davis, of Virginia, who presided over the committee's 2005 session with Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. "Someone is lying in spectacular fashion about the ultimate question."
Waxman questioned the credibility of McNamee, a former New York City police officer, saying he lied to police seven years ago during an investigation of a possible rape.
And he challenged the credibility of Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young winner honouring the best pitcher in baseball.
"We have found conflicts and inconsistencies in Mr. Clemens's account. During his deposition, he made statements that we know are untrue," Waxman said, adding that some of the pitcher's statements "are simply implausible."
Waxman also accused him of possibly attempting to influence statements to the committee by the pitcher's former nanny. Clemens spoke with the nanny for the first time in several years this past Sunday after the committee asked him to give them her name last week.
"There's always going to be a question whether you tried to influence her testimony," Waxman said.
One of Clemens' lawyers, Rusty Hardin, stood up and while pointing his finger at Waxman tried to interrupt, but the committee chair quickly cut him off.
"I was doing y'all a favour," Clemens said in response to Waxman's statement. "I'm hurt by those statements that I would get in the way of finding anything you guys were looking for."
Rep. Dan Burton repeatedly read remarks made by McNamee, and each time the former trainer was forced to admit they were false.
"This is really disgusting. You're here as a sworn witness. You're here to tell the truth," the Indiana Republican said. "You're here under oath, and yet we have lie after lie after lie after lie, of where you've told this committee and the people of this country that Roger Clemens did things — I don't know what to believe. I know one thing I don't believe and that's you."
Wednesday's hearings wrapped up shorty before 3:00 p.m. ET.
Clemens later spoke briefly to reporters, saying: "I'm very thankful and very grateful for this day to come. I'm glad for the opportunity finally. And, you know, I hope I get — and I know I will have — the opportunity to come here to Washington again under different terms."