Roger Clemens Steroids Controversy: Physical Evidence of Perjury?

The New York Daily News reports that Brian McNamee has physical evidence corroborating McNamee’s allegations that Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs. The Daily News quotes Earl Ward as saying that “This is evidence the government has that we believe will corroborate Brian in every significant way.”

Apparently, McNamee gave vials with traces of steroids and human growth hormone, as well as syringes and gauze pads ostensibly containing Clemens’ blood and DNA to Justice Department investigators.

Clemens admitted to getting B-12 shots from McNamee, so I’m not a big enough CSI fan to know whether this sort of thing will be meaningful evidence. Obviously, his lawyers think so. “We will provide Congress with corroborative physical evidence that takes this case out of the he-said, she-said purview,” another McNamee attorney, Richard Emery, told the Daily News (how many lawyers does this guy need?). “From our point of view, this corroborates that Brian told the truth from Day One and Clemens has not.”

It is certainly a bizarre development. But what is creepy is that McNamee kept the vials, gauze pads and syringes from eight years ago because his lawyers say he feared Roger Clemens would deny using performance-enhancing drugs. But that makes no sense. At that time, he was committing a crime and presumably hoping that Roger Clemens would not be exposed. The more logical answer is that McNamee knew he had some powerful evidence on his rich and famous friend and decided some incriminating evidence against Clemens might be a good thing to keep around. In other words, he pulled a Monica Lewinsky on his friend. (These syringes, Monica’s stained blue dress, Linda Tripp’s audiotapes, all of these things should be in the Judas Iscariot museum).

This might all end up being powerful enough evidence to show what most of us have suspected from listening to Clemens over the last few months: that Clemens had used some “help” after he left Boston to revitalize his career. But it also speaks poorly to the character of Brian McNamee. Not only did he keep a chip to use against a friend, but he also waited for him to commit perjury before revealing the chip. Why? I can’t figure out a motive other than malice.

If you assume Clemens is guilty, he pushed all of his chips to the center of the table with Congress, hoping that regardless of what history records, it would always come down to a he (or “hes” depending on Andy Pettitte’s testimony) said/she said and there would never be conclusive, beyond reasonable doubt evidence against him. If – and it is a big if – the evidence conclusively shows that Clemens took performance-enhancing drugs and lied to Congress, the current problems he has with his reputation will pale in comparison to the criminal charges he will be facing. Again, we are moving five steps ahead, but maybe the best batter and best pitcher of the last 50 years (I would argue this for both) could face perjury charges.