Furious Clemens swears he never used steroids
An angry and frustrated Roger Clemens told Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes that the steroids and human growth hormone accusations he's enduring are "ridiculous," and swore that he never used any banned substances.
In an interview aired Sunday night at Clemens's home outside Houston, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner disputed a claim made by his former trainer, Brian McNamee, that he was injected with steroids during his pitching career.
After Clemens denied ever taking HGH, testosterone or anabolic steroids, Wallace retorted: "Swear?" Clemens affirmed: "Swear."
McNamee told former U.S. Senate majority leader George Mitchell that along with steroids, he injected Clemens with human growth hormone approximately 16 to 21 times during 1998, 2000 and 2001 — a time when baseball owners and players had no steroid policy in place.
"If he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead," shot back Clemens, who was clearly agitated every time Wallace read a McNamee claim in the Mitchell report. "I should be pulling tractors with my teeth."
Clemens called McNamee's claim "totally false," but said he doesn't know if anything can be done to clear his name in the public eye.
"I don't know if I can defend myself," said Clemens, speaking for the first time since Mitchell released his report on steroid use in baseball on Dec. 13, linking more than 80 major league players to its use.
"I think people — a lot of people have already made their decisions. And that's our country, isn't it? Guilty before innocence — that's the way our country works now. And then everybody's talking about sue, sue, sue. Should I sue? Well, yeah, let me exhaust — let me, let me just spend. Let me keep spending. But I'm going to explore what I can do, and then I want to see if it's going to be worth it, worth all the headache."
According to published reports, Clemens and McNamee had an emotional hour-long phone call Friday night.
Clemens, 45, is scheduled to hold a news conference on Monday in Houston.
The one-time Toronto Blue Jays hurler was defiant during his 14-minute interview with Wallace and said he might be willing to take a lie-detector test to help clear his name.
"Yeah," he answered. "I don't know if they're good or bad."
The winner of 354 games in his illustrious career, Clemens said he is amazed that so many people have been quick to believe he took steroids.
"I'm angry that what I've done for the game of baseball that I don't get the benefit of the doubt," he said. "It's hogwash for people to even assume this. Twenty-four, 25 years, Mike. You'd think I'd get an inch of respect. An inch."
He added, "How can you prove you're innocent?"
Clemens, who told Wallace that he'll probably retire, also chose not to speak with Mitchell on the advice of his lawyer, but said he would've changed his mind had he been aware of McNamee's allegations.
"If I would've known what this man, what Brian McNamee [had] said in this report, I would have been down there in a heartbeat to take care of it," Clemens said.
Clemens, along with Barry Bonds and Canadian Eric Gagne, were the predominant names mentioned in the Mitchell report. Clemens claims McNamee only injected him with vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine.
Clemens also said he used Vioxx, an arthritis medication taken off the market in 2004 because a clinical trial showed an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
"I was eating Vioxx like it was Skittles," he said. "And now — now these people who are supposedly regulating it, tell me it's bad for my heart."
Clemens won the AL Cy Young in each of his two seasons in Toronto — 1997 and 1998 — before being traded to the Yankees.
Clemens also expressed "shock" when he learned that close friend and New York Yankee teammate Andy Pettitte admitted using HGH.
Clemens, McNamee and Pettitte have been asked to testify before a U.S. congressional committee on Jan. 16.
Clemens refutes the allegation by McNamee that Clemens requested injections in the buttocks because he didn't like the belly-button shots.
"If I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, where did I get 'em?" he said. "Where is the person out there [who] gave 'em to me? Please, please come forward."
McNamee said he either received the drugs from former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski or Clemens supplied them.
"Why didn't I keep doing it if it was so good for me? Why didn't I break down? Why didn't my tendons turn to dust?" Clemens said.
McNamee's lawyer, Earl Ward, said he still hasn't decided whether to sue Clemens for defamation.
"He didn't come right out and call Brian a liar," Ward said. "We're waiting to hear what he says tomorrow. We hope there will be more probing questions asked tomorrow, and we're also waiting to hear what he says before Congress."
McNamee's other lawyer, Richard Emery, has also threatened to sue Clemens for defamation.
With files from the Associated Press