I was surfing the internets today when I came across aninteresting little item
. Seth Mnookin, a reporter/writer, wonders on his blog about why people don’t question Roger Clemens like they question Barry Bonds.
Mnookin makes a few comparisons: Both are having their greatest years after turning 35. Both of their bodies have bulked up. Both have been mentioned/targeted in various steroid investigations.
This, too, is something that has bothered me. Bonds is linked to the BALCO investigation, and most people are sure that not only did he take steroids, but that he knowingly took steroids. Grand jury testimony has been leaked regarding this. Bonds’ personal trainer is doing jail time because he refuses to testify. There have also been books written on this topic. And Gary Sheffield, who has admitted to taking steroids, claims that he got them from Bonds’ trainer. And because Barry refuses to seek legal remedies regarding the charges, then the thinking is that he must be guilty – if you want to learn about the fallacy of this argument, just click here.
But what about Roger?
The Bible of the steroids-in-baseball movement is Jose Canseco’s Juiced. Here, Canseco details not only his steroid use, but the usage of his teammates. Canseco’s book was ridiculed upon its release, primarily because he named his Texas Ranger teammate Rafael Palmeiro as a user. Palmeiro didn’t have the steroid-used body, so Canseco was dismissed as a flake trying to settle scores. Until Palmeiro flunked a drug test. Then Canseco’s work became gospel.
What many people have forgotten is that Canseco also named Roger Clemens as a steroid user. So, it stands to reason, if Canseco was right about Palmeiro, then he’s right about Clemens.
But Canseco’s not the only source we have regarding Clemens’ steroid usage.
Last season, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley got caught in a federal steroid usage sting. Grimsley had cooperated with prosecutors, but got in trouble when he could not deliver Barry Bonds. Grimsley did generate an affidavit which named players who took steroids. One of those players was Roger Clemens.
Unlike the San Francisco media, which were actively investigation Bonds before word of BALCO got out, the Houston media yawned, then circled the wagons around Clemens. Richard Justice even called the evidence about Clemens circumstantial, and he says that since Clemens hasn’t failed a drug test, more evidence is needed – which is quite a change from what he says about Bonds.
Here’s where I’m in agreement with Mnookin. Why is Roger Clemens treated so differently?
Justice wrote, when accused of hypocrisy toward Bonds, that Bonds gets different treatment because there’s a mountain of evidence against Bonds. But there’s a mountain of evidence against Bonds because there were reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle sought to find the evidence. They went out and dug through files. They did what the reporters were supposed to do. They reported.
But with Clemens, the media has been content to wait for the evidence to come to them. I thought that it was a reporter’s job to discover the truth. To dig for evidence. There’s no good reason that the Houston Chronicle hasn’t had its reporters doing what the San Francisco guys did.
Justice wrote that it’s a shame that there’s this cloud hanging over Clemens. But what cloud? He’s never questioned about this, and the initial report was treated as the words of a desperate man trying to stay out of jail. But if Justice thinks that there’s a cloud over Clemens, why doesn’t he do something about it? He used to be a reporter. So why doesn’t he report? Why doesn’t he do like those San Francisco guys did and find the truth?
Or is that the problem? Are Justice and his pals afraid of finding out the truth about Roger Clemens? But we’ll never know the answer to that, because nobody’s out there trying to find the answers.
Clemens probably never used steroids. But that doesn’t make up for the treatment that he gets. Roger Clemens is still treated as a hero. Barry Bonds is treated as a pariah. Every team wants to Roger Clemens. But Bonds had trouble resigning with the Giants. And Sammy Sosa, of whom there’s even less evidence of steroid use than with Clemens, had to sit out a season, then sign a minor league contract with the Rangers.
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I don’t have an answer as to why Clemens gets the different treatment. Sure, Bonds is an arrogant prick, but Sosa was great with the media, and still he’s been crucified. Clemens is named in an affidavit, but he’s left alone.
I don’t get it. I don’t understand. Sure, Roger’s the hometown boy, but so is Bonds, and that didn’t stop the San Francisco Chronicle. All that I can say is that Clemens deserves the same treatment as Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, etc. But he’s not going to get it.
Then again, maybe the media remembers what Clemens did to Mike Piazza, and they don’t want to be on the receiving end of a fastball to the head. That’s understandable, but, at some point, the media has to start doing its job. They’ve got to report the truth. And it’s a truth that won’t be known until they leave the press box and start digging.
After all, if the San Francisco Chronicle can do it, then so can the Houston Chronicle. -- John Royal