Clemens sticks to the script, but is he fighting the wrong battle?
Offering a preview of his defense in a possible criminal trial,
Whether he is telling the truth or lying, Clemens -- the target of a grand jury proceeding in Washington, D.C., and a plaintiff in a slander lawsuit in Texas -- has remained consistent in both the style and substance of his denials. Just like in his Jan. 6, 2008, appearance on
Substantively, Clemens attempted to deflect accusatory questions by charging his former trainer and chief accuser,
Clemens also addressed harmful statements made by his former teammate and close friend,
Clemens also supplied a rationale for why he would never take steroids or any drugs: his fear that it would increase the likelihood of suffering heart problems, of which he has a family history. Clemens specifically cited the fatal heart attack of his step-father, who of course was not biologically related to Clemens but who, in Clemens' defense, may have been close to the legendary pitcher. Even if Clemens is to be believed, the record still indicates that he subjected his body to a variety of other (albeit legal) substances, including Vitamin B12, to enhance his performance.
Clemens' decision to appear on Tuesday's radio program probably did not please his attorneys. Persons who are facing possible indictments and criminal trials are typically discouraged by their counsel from answering questions in the absence of legal protections. In addition, by reminding a national audience of the gravity of his alleged crimes and by unequivocally insisting that he is a victim of others' wrongdoing, Clemens makes it harder for the Justice Department to even consider dropping or moderating its case against him. In that same vein, Clemens' decision to appear on a national radio show suggests that his focus is on the "public trial of his reputation," which, if true, may ultimately harm his prospects in a criminal trial of his legal rights. Put another way, Clemens needs to put aside concerns about the public's disbelief in him and focus on the specific goals of defending himself from criminal conviction.