I don't care if Roger Clemens goes to jail. The court of public opinion can be worse than any federal prison cell.
But maybe it will take an investigation by the FBI and a jail sentence to rein in an ego that hasn't stopped growing.
Other than the "nanny-gate" story (more on that later), nothing of note happened during yesterday's 41/2-hour congressional hearing, which pit Clemens against former trainer Brian McNamee.
Clemens denied everything. He went off on wild rants and tangents. And, true to form, he fumbled on his words. (On a side note, for a person with so much experience in speaking, I believe he is among the worst public speakers I have ever heard.)
As for McNamee, he said everything he promised he'd say and, to his credit, he was firm and polite.
We found out that Texas pal Andy Pettitte said Clemens told him he had taken HGH. We found out that, according to McNamee, Clemens carried Band-Aids around to cover up his bleeding butt after steroids or HGH shots. We also found out that former Red Sox reliever Mike Stanton may have been shot up with steroids by McNamee.
Most importantly, we realized that Clemens' team of lawyers has decided that smearing McNamee is their best chance at winning some semblance of Clemens' reputation.
That's a risky proposition. My guess is there is more to the Debbie Clemens HGH story, as in more Roger accusations will surface.
What the heck was Mrs. Clemens thinking? She wanted to look "great" for a Sports Illustrated bathing suit photo shoot with athletes and their wives. I guess being No. 1 is not just an obsession with the husband.
The nanny story was a tad troubling, too. The committee wanted to get in touch with her for an interview, requesting her whereabouts from Clemens' legal team, trying to corroborate McNamee's story about a party at Jose Canseco's home.
But Clemens did the congressional committee one better: He interviewed the nanny in his own home.
Clemens the interviewer? That's comedy at its best.
Here's my take on McNamee: He lied, probably on several occasions. But why did he lie?
He said he did it to save his "guys," baseball stars like Clemens, Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch. These guys, specifically Clemens, were his employers.
He didn't divulge everything from Day 1, like a few congressmen openly mocked and questioned, because he didn't have to.
When Clemens threw McNamee under the bus with the whacky phone call, playing it during a press conference last month, McNamee decided he was finished protecting his guy.
That phone call was a telling one. McNamee was a pathetic pawn that day.
"What do you want me to do Roger? ... I'll do anything you want."
It sounded like his life was officially a mess. His wife had left him. His son was deathly ill. And he had no money to speak of, working part-time as a college strength and conditioning coach.
But Clemens woke up the sleeping dog that day with his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, mocking McNamee.
McNamee has his problems. Like an ex-con taking the stand, the mud is going to be slung his way. He has lied to federal investigators before. In 2001, he was seen having sex with an incoherent woman at a Tampa hotel, according to police reports. GHB, the date rape drug, was found in her system. Police said they believed McNamee lied to them, but he was never charged.
Some won't ever give him a second chance after that. But McNamee has the goods.
He not only has first-hand knowledge, but, as sick as it is, he has the needles and gauze pads.
While Clemens' lawyers will attempt to have them tossed out, because of potential tampering by a "liar," the FBI wouldn't mind a few tests.
I lost five hours of my life yesterday, five hours I will never get back.
For the record, I believe McNamee. I also believe Clemens' worst days are coming.
E-mail Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his blog, "Burt Talks Sports," at www.eagletribune.com.
"I have strong disagreements with what this man (Brian McNamee) says about me."
"I have never taken steroids or HGH. No matter what we discuss here today, I am never going to have my name restored."
"It's hard to believe you (Clemens), sir. I hate to say that. You're one of my heroes. But it's hard to believe."
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
"Someone is lying in spectacular fashion."
Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va.
"I told the investigators I injected three people — two of whom I know confirmed my account. The third is sitting at this table."
"During his deposition, he made statements we know are untrue."
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
"If Mr. McNamee is lying, he has acted inexcusably and he has made Mr. Clemens an innocent victim. If Mr. Clemens isn't telling the truth, then he is acting shamefully and has smeared Mr. McNamee. I don't think there is anything in between."
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
"You're here (McNamee) under oath, and yet we have lie after lie after lie after lie."
Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind.
"(You're a) drug dealer."
Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., to McNamee
"I think Andy (Pettitte) has misheard. I think he misremembers."