Oh, now they’re talking. Faced with stain that might never disappear, many of the major-leaguers named in the Mitchell Report are doing something they should have done a long time ago – they’re ‘fessing up.
Well, at least some of them are. Roger Clemens (the new face of the Steroids Era) has thus far allowed his lawyer/puppet to speak for him, issuing the requisite denial that’s now worth about as much as a used rosin bag. Until Roger speaks for himself – and under oath – he deserves to be treated just as Barry Bonds has been: Guilty until proven innocent.
As for those who are finally talking:
David Justice made a convincing argument that he never used steroids (he was in the report as having bought them) by admitting that he and needles have never seen, well, eye to butt. Confessing that he just might have ingested the substance had it been a pill, he said that once he learned he needed a needle to take the stuff it was end of experiment. “Anyone who knows me knows that,” he said.
So why didn’t he say that to George Mitchell?
And then there’s Andy Pettitte – the “little brother” in all this mess whom many feel was caught up in the stuff due as much to his friendship with Clemens as anything. Pettitte (that’s his autograph above), by all accounts, is a sensitive “stand-up guy,” and I have no reason to dispute that. In fact, I would bet most of the guys on the infamous list are pretty stand-up guys. They just happen to be pros in baseball’s win-at-all costs era when some people made choices that have finally come to bite them in the butt.
Here’s what the MR says: “From April 21 to June 14, 2002, Pettitte was on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis. [Informant Brian] McNamee said that Pettitte called him while he was rehabilitating his elbow in, where the Yankees have a facility, and asked again about human growth hormone. Pettitte stated that he wanted to speed his recovery and help his team. McNamee traveled to Tampa at Pettitte’s request and spent about 10 days assisting Pettitte with his rehabilitation.
“McNamee recalled that he injected Pettitte with human growth hormone that McNamee obtained from [former Mets clubhouse guy Kirk] Radomski on two to four occasions. Pettitte paid McNamee for the trip and his expenses; there was no separate payment for the human growth hormone.”
Pettitte tried to throw himself at the mercy of public opinion on Saturday, admitting he took Human Growth Hormone for two days prior to the 2002 season in order to speed the healing of his injured elbow. He said he felt obliged to get back to his team as soon as not-so-humanly possible. He said he felt guilty about it as soon as he did it, which is why he only took the hormone for two days.
“This is it,” Pettitte says, “two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list.”
But he also made this curious remark: “If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize.”
If what he did was an effort in judgment? What that supposed to mean? Pettitte added that he accepts responsibility for taking the drugs but does he really when he hedges his confession with an “if?”
Is there any question that taking HGH was, at minimum, an error in judgment?
This is as silly as the proverbial statement folks make after they’ve made some insensitive (okay, I’ll say it: racists or sexist or simply stupid ) remark: “If I offended someone…” If you offended someone? Knucklehead, if you hadn’t offended someone – most likely millions of someones – you wouldn’t be making the statement in the first place.
Beginning your mea culpa with “if” tells me you’re really not sorry you said it, only sorry you said it in front of a microphone. It says you’re not really accepting responsibility.
Pettitte only gets a slight pass because the statement was actually issued by an attorney/agent – perhaps the same attorney/agent who advised Pettitte not to talk to Mitchell.
If so, Pettitte not only needs to issue a new statement. He needs to hire a new lawyer.