7 – The Number of Cy Young Awards Roger Clemens has won
3 – The Number of times I have interviewed Roger Clemens
All this business with Roger Clemens and steroids got me to thinking. Depending on what side of the fence you are on, he’s either telling the truth or not. Many reporters make the case he’s guilty. Few defend or buy into his innocence. The Mitchell Report brought to light the seriousness of steroid use in the sport I love.
The First Amendment gives us free speech. We can say whatever we want. The truth is protected even when its expression damages the person to whom it applies. This freedom of speech also includes freedom of the press. But, there are some forms of speech that are “conditionally protected.” If a written statement is made in “reckless disregard for the truth” and is considered damaging to the victim, it can be punished as libel. If the statement is oral, it can be punished as slander.
The first Amendment gives us the right to say anything, and while I support free speech, the burden is often on the accused to prove their innocence.
Will the steroids scandal keep Roger out of the Hall of Fame? That’s something we don’t have to worry about for at least five-years. Right now it’s one man’s word against another. There are a lot of legal questions that haven’t been answered so we have to give him the benefit of doubt and not rush to judgment. The upcoming Congressional hearings should be very interesting.
I also hope this unpleasant experience will make others think twice about the risks, not only to their health, but to their careers, their integrity, the game, and the examples they set for others. Former track star Marion Jones is the perfect example. For lying about her use of steriods, she recently received a stiff sentence and jail time. The judge made her an example as a warning to other athletes.
(I was 13 when this picture was take of Roger and myself- it was my second interview)