There’s a two-way pull that the athlete has over the fan that I suppose is equatable to our love of many celebrities. Whether they be a politician or a musician or a movie star, we simultaneously tend to be drawn to celebrities for two reasons:

  1. They seem so far above us. Filthy rich, (hopefully) talented, and wildly successful.
  2. They seem like someone we could hang out with on an off-night at the bar. Grateful, humble, and easy-going.

We love our celebrities and our athletes because they represent more than what we have or are, but at the same time because they seem down-to-earth and genuine. Not only are they flattered and doted upon to the nth degree, but they will do anything they can to maintain that status, that tricky dual draw of magnanimity and humbleness. I suppose it’s why try as I might, I just can’t seem to follow athlete logic very far without getting drowned in contradiction and downright mystifying behavior. It’s exactly the way I feel when I look at what’s happening to Roger Clemens, who is one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history. If you’d like to see what I think of Roger, despite his talents, just click here. If you don’t feel like taking the time to read that post, I’ll sum up: he’s an ego-maniacal jock gone berserk.

I wrote my previous post on Clemens about two years ago when allegations emerged in the Mitchell Report that Clemens did both steroids and human growth hormone while a pitcher for various ball clubs during the latter part of his career. That post outlined his testimony to Congress, which he’s recently been indicted by a federal grand jury for. He denied the doping allegations vehemently and volunteered to appear before Congress to protest his innocence, which they didn’t exactly believe.

The findings of the Mitchell Report led to a whole lot of MLB players, including some of it’s superstars, being called out for cheating. They used performance enhancing drugs to get a leg up on the competition, including (allegedly) Clemens. One of Clemens’ closest friends and teammates, his training partner Andy Pettitte, told Congress that he himself used and Roger did too. Along with Pettitte, Clemens’ personal trainer Brian McNamee told Congress Roger was guilty as well. McNamee said he injected the Rocket with HGH and had the old needles to prove it, which though infinitely creepy, is equally damning. Now, Clemens didn’t have to take the 5th, dodge questions or even respond at all if he didn’t feel like it, but he decided to show up in front of Congress anyway and act like a belligerent child caught with his hand in the anabolic cookie jar.

Watch this little clip of Roger in action and decide for yourself if he’s telling the truth. I personally trust him about as much as I do Jeff Dahmer alone with my immediate family and a walk-in cooler.

So, even though anybody with a pulse can “knowingly know” Rog ain’t shooting straight dice, he thought that the United States Congress would be cool with having their chambers made to smell of cat piss. He thought wrong. They’re now after him on three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury, and one count of obstruction of Congress and he’s facing almost three years in jail if things shake out unfavorably. It just blows my mind. The guy was so caught up with his baseball legacy and the way people view him that he volunteered to lie to the US government about things that one of his best friends and personal trainer said were absolute certainties.

I can say with unmitigated schadenfreude that I’m glad Roger’s going to get what’s coming to him. Even if he cops to it, pleas out, and doesn’t do the jail time (something fellow baseball star and liar-to-congress Miguel Tejada could tell him all about) he will have finally and at long last admitted that he used PED’s. His trial in the court of public opinion, already finished and stamped with a guilty verdict in a major way, will now officially be over. We will all soon know that Roger Clemens is a cheat, the only thing left will be to see if he’s a cheat behind bars.

Clemens is going to the legacy gallows, and we shall soon see how painful that trip will be. We like to build our celebrities up just to tear them down in many cases, but the truth is we like to help them rebuild their image just as much. You won’t catch me in my work boots when the Roger Clemens remodel comes along though. I can’t say that I’ve always told the truth or that I haven’t let my ego make decisions that the rest of me did not agree with, but I like to think that I’ve been man enough to own those bad decisions and lies. I like to think that unlike Roger Clemens, I can admit my own weaknesses and let those wronged do what they want with my contrition.

Clemens has consistently tried to bully his way through the allegations of his PED use and thus proven once again that his supporters and his detractors, along with members of the media (some of whom have a Hall of Fame vote...) don’t deserve his honesty. He has proven to be rich and successful and talented, but not the guy you want to spend that off-night at the bar with. In fact, he’s more like the guy that wants to punch you in the face, steal your girlfriend and put his drinks on your tab--and then ask you to love him for it. He’s so completely out of touch with a moral reality that he may actually believe his own bullshit, something I personally cannot look upon with disdain or disappointment or even empathy. I am only confounded by his madness and once again fascinated by the aura and the ego of the athlete.


So now that I've taken things a little too seriously spouting off about Roger Clemens, I'd also like to share a link to my favorite sports story of the week. It involves an Oregon State University football player really going for that whole "college experience" thing. You know, getting wasted, breaking and entering, then charging cops like they're offensive linemen, all before getting tased. I think my favorite part of the story is the "unspecified damage" done to the poor lady's rug and computer (not the rug, man!). Dood didn't even get to play a down of college football yet and he's already shipping out of Corvallis. Gotta watch that keg beer bro, it's a doozy.

No comments:

Post a Comment