The trial regarding Roger Clemens and performance enhancing drugs began this week, and all I can say is here’s another unlikable, unrepentant, defiant character, just like than that other unlikable, unrepentant, defiant character – Barry Bonds.
Clemens faces charges of perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress by testifying at a House hearing in 2008 that he never used PED’s. Trouble is, former teammate Andy Pettitte and former trainer Brian McNamee say he did.
Experts are saying Clemens is in more trouble than Bonds, because in Bonds’ case there was no trainer or teammate who would testify against him.
Both cases include aggressive, contentious superstars who expect the public to believe they are innocent as lambs, just because they say they are.
It’s ironic that Pettitte admitted in 2008 to using human growth hormones, but did so with shame and regret. His image has been almost completely rehabilitated. That’s the thing about the public: It wants to forgive people for mistakes. But it can’t stand those they consider liars and blusterers, who indignantly deny any accusation. It’s always a misunderstanding. Or as Clemens claims, a misremembering.
My guess is even if Clemens avoids conviction, his reputation is permanently damaged, same as Bonds. They might beat the charges, but convincing the public they’re deserving of respect is another matter.
Convincing the Hall of Fame voters is another issue entirely.
Athletes reach great success, in large part due to their aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach. But when it comes to public opinion, that approach doesn’t work especially well. The average fan really doesn’t appreciate being brushed back by a high, hard pitch.