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Hero and zero don’t add up in testimony



Published: Thu, February 14, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

Wednesday’s hearings revealed some inconsistencies on both sides, including Roger Clemens’.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Roger Clemens stuck out his famous right arm, the one that earned 354 major league wins, seven Cy Young Awards, $160 million, and pointed in the direction of his accuser.

Without looking at Brian McNamee, Clemens told Congress, “I have strong disagreements with what this man says about me.”

Separated by only a few feet at a wooden witness table Wednesday, Clemens and McNamee were never further apart.

There they sat, the pitcher and his former personal trainer, under oath and facing blistering questions. For 4 1/2 hours, both men held to their versions of the he-said, he-said disagreement over whether McNamee injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone.

Clemens insisted it never happened. McNamee insisted it did.

His reputation and Hall of Fame candidacy potentially at stake — not to mention the possibility of criminal charges, should he lie — Clemens said: “I have never taken steroids or HGH. No matter what we discuss here today, I am never going to have my name restored.”

For some members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Clemens’ denials rang hollow, particularly in light of a new account of his discussion of HGH use, revealed by his friend and former teammate Andy Pettitte in a sworn affidavit.

“It’s hard to believe you, sir,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told Clemens. “I hate to say that. You’re one of my heroes. But it’s hard to believe.”

Clemens and McNamee, by all accounts once good friends, rarely glanced at one another. When Clemens did turn to his right, it was with the Rocket’s mound glare. Seated between them was the day’s third witness, Charles Scheeler, a lawyer who helped compile the report on drug use in baseball headed by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell.

“Someone is lying in spectacular fashion,” said Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the committee’s ranking Republican.

Just like their stories, Clemens’ Texas drawl was in strong contrast to the clipped cadences of McNamee, a former New York police officer.

“I told the investigators I injected three people — two of whom I know confirmed my account,” McNamee said. “The third is sitting at this table.”

Ultimately, the matter could wind up with the Justice Department if prosecutors believe either man made false statements. The Justice Department is also reviewing used needles and bloody gauze pads McNamee turned over. His side says the items contained performance-enhancing drugs and Clemens’ DNA.

“We found conflicts and inconsistencies in Mr. Clemens’ accounts,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the committee’s chairman. “During his deposition, he made statements we know are untrue.”


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