Roger Clemens speaks

May 12, 2009 - 5:14 am
Roger Clemens spoke publicly for the first time since his Congressional testimony in 2008. The former Red Sox, Yankees and Astros pitcher talked on ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" show on the day when "American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime" was released. Clemens reiterated his prior stance that he never took steroids or other performance-enhancing substances. He did say that he had supplied prosecutors with DNA to test against the drug paraphernalia that trainer Brian McNamee says that he used to inject Clemens. "It'€™s been a game of piling on," said Clemens. "It'€™s completely false." Here are some of Clemens' answers in the roughly 15-minute interview: (What do you say to claims that prosecutors have drug paraphernalia from McNamee that includes your DNA?) Impossible because he'€™s never given me any. He'€™s never given me HGH or any kind of performance-enhancing drug. It'€™s impossible. (Have you been summoned to testify in a perjury trial?) I have not. ... I'€™m trying to stay positive about it. I know I'€™m a public figure. ... I'€™m doing things I love to do. I'€™m getting out there and throwing BP to the kids, doing things I normally do, trying to live my life...I hear people saying, '€˜You'€™re not doing this or doing that.'€™ ... I'€™m doing everything really. (What are your thoughts about your defamation suit against McNamee being thrown out?) We'€™re still dealing with that right now. (Do you still maintain that McNamee never injected you with PEDs?) That'€™s exactly right. He never injected me with HGH or steroids. Let me add to it. Common sense. Our family has a history of heart conditions. My brother had a heart attack in his late-40s. My step-dad died of a heart attack. It would be suicidal for me to even think about taking any of these dangerous drugs. It goes against what I talk about to kids when I have a chance to talk to kids of all ages about it. Like I said, it'€™s really disheartening. I don'€™t want to say I have to put my guard up more around people, because I'€™m not that kidn of person. I'€™m an outgoing person. Obviously you don'€™t see that when I'€™m out on the field. ... I think I'€™ve taken some criticism by not coming out sometimes. I'€™ve always wanted to talk about it, and tell people my feelings and my stance on it. (What do you think about Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch both having said that McNamee's claims are true, and about the fact that Pettitte claims to have discussed PEDs with you?) Andy misremembers. There'€™s been only a couple times I'€™ve been in touch with Andy since then because of the legal issues. We'€™ll let it play out...I still consider him a friend. (What are your thoughts on Alex Rodriguez' admission of steroid use and Manny Ramirez' suspension for PEDs?) Manny'€™s situation, I don'€™t know the exact details...What I can tell you is we have great testing. The testing program we have set up in Major League Baseball is great. ... During the testing period, when imy oldest was embarking on his professional career, I got a call that I was going to be tested that day. I asked the testing people to come to my house, to my own gym, here in Houston to administer the test here, so that my own son could see how evasive it was. We have great things in place in Major League Baseball. I think they'€™re working. Obviously they'€™re working. The program works. (What are your thoughts on A-Rod's admission?) I was sad. I saw a portion of the interview he did wth Peter Gammons...I just wish him the best. I'€™m glad he did...I knew Alex. I tried to root for him. Obviously, I came into it a little bit later with the half a season I played for the Yankees when I became teammates there. I wish him the best. I'€™d tell him to move forward, continue to do what he'€™s doing. But I hope none of the things that he took hurt his body to the point where it would hurt his career. This, again, is what I tell the young guys. Everywhere I'€™ve gone, I get the opportunity to speak to young kids or college kids, I take a lot of pride in telling those boys to get after it, do things the right way, take care of your body. I know how I did it. I know how hard I worked. For some of that to come into question, of course it'€™s hurtful. But it'€™s not going to break my spirit, and I'€™m going to continue to root these guys on. I text a lot of my former teammates and we talk about mainly baseball and their performance, how they'€™re feeling, keep their confidence up. The testing is solid. I'€™ve been tested many times. I got tested in the world games. I think someone had an article that said I refused to test there. These are the things that continue to come out that you just shake your head at, that are so false...How do you defend a negative? (Polls show that most members of the public don't believe you.) All I can do is speak the truth and speak my heart to them...All'€™s I can do is be me and give them the message I just told you about. Steroids are bad for these kids. You don'€™t want anything to do with them, the way they tear your body down and things they'€™ll do to you. But, again, I can'€™t defend a negative. When you'€™ve got somebody that'€™s out there that'€™s really crawling up your back to make a buck, which is what this is, other than speaking out, what else can you do? I was basically listening to the advice of everyone to stay somewhat quiet, I wanted to speak out, so it'€™s great that I had the opportunity with this book that'€™s coming out and the garbage that'€™s in this book, I get the opportunity to do it a little bit today. (Do you expect to be elected to the Hall of Fame?) That'€™s a good question. A while back, I was upset about the whole situation and it was hurtful. Of course. The Hall of Fame is your final resting place for a player that has put the time in in the major-league career that I have. I have a wonderful teammate who'€™s finally getting to go in, which I'€™m so happy for, Jim Rice this year. ... Obviously I would love to get in, but I don'€™t have any control over that. You were talking about stats or something earlier. I think they speak for themselves of what I'€™ve been able to accomplish on the field. (How should Hall of Fame voters handle players who tested positive for PEDs?) I can'€™t speak to that. All I can speak to is the number of writers who have gotten to know me over the years, not only as a person on the field, the competitor that I am on the field, but the person I am off the field. I know nothing else. I know how I was raised, how I was brought up to treat people, and I'€™ll continue to do that. I think at one point, a while back, your spirit was a little bit broken. But I don'€™t think anyone cares about that. (Are you done playing?) (Laughs) People ask me, '€˜Are you officially retired.'€™ I say, '€˜I'€™ve done it three times. Do I have to announce it again?'€™ Now that I hear, I'€™m hearing rumblings, I think it'€™s a competition between myself and Brett Favre. If he comes back again, then I'€™m going to get out on the streets and start hitting the pavement, and we'€™ll see what happens.