Tuesday, April 29, 2008

American Hero

Just when you thought the Roger Clemens saga was going away it hits you in the face with a steroid-laced 95 mph fastball in the form of one-time country music sensation Mindy McCready.

McCready had a hit single on the redneck charts back in 1996 and proceeded to self-destruct. Since then it’s been a made-for-TV story about drugs, alcohol, domestic violence and the subsequent stints in rehab and jail. Mindy is a train wreck and, as is the case with all train wrecks, people often wonder why…why do people who seem to have it made fall apart so completely?

Usually we don’t have a good answer. Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Tom Sizemore…they all defy explanation. Mindy McCready’s success was confined to a pretty small niche but surely people in that niche wondered why she would implode after she achieved success.

Now we have an answer: sexual abuse. Mindy McCready was involved in a sexual relationship with a 28 year-old man when she was only 15. That man? None other than Mr. Roger “I’m a good guy” Clemens. According to people close to the situation, Clemens hooked up with the teen karaoke singer back in the early 1990s. Clemens doesn’t dispute this but he insists that the relationship wasn’t sexual. McCready commented that she couldn’t refute the sexual allegations. She didn’t go into detail but that admission puts Clemens in a tight spot. He’s the one who has been clamoring about the quality of his character in the wake of the steroid scandal.

Clemens is involved in a courtroom suit/countersuit battle royale with Brian McNamee, the former trainer who implicated Clemens in the Mitchell Report. Clemens has been calling McNamee a liar ever since and he hopes to prove it in court. Now, he’s on public record denying a sexual relationship with a woman who has confirmed the story. That’s going to come back to haunt him in court. McCready will be called as a witness and Clemen’s will have his precious character called into question.

Of course Clemen’s could face even more trouble. The news of the affair will most certainly have an impact on his marriage. Clemens was married with two children when he first met McCready and if Roger’s wife has reason to believe that he betrayed her she will have a golden opportunity to put the screws to him. She could unravel every lie that he’s told and produce testimony, perhaps even evidence, that Roger has been using steroids for years.

Lost in all of this is a very serious issue: statutory rape. Clemens was a multi-millionaire professional athlete. At 28 he was the best pitcher in major league baseball. Mindy McCready was a 15 year-old girl trying to find a break in the music industry. Now it’s possible that McCready was little more than a groupie who was enamored with the superstar pitcher and Clemens, like so many other famous men, probably took advantage of more than his fair share of groupies but 15? Come on, Roger, that’s going too far. Cheating on your wife is one thing, but cheating on your wife with a teenaged girl—well, that’s something right out of Roman Polanski’s playbook…and he’s still in exile.

Not too long ago Roger and Brian sat before a Congressional Committee so elected officials could parlay the steroid scandal into some good pre-election battle face time. Roger wined and dined a number of lawmakers and it paid off during the hearing when Republicans took turns bashing Brian McNamee. Of course McNamee’s response to being called a liar by Representative DanTom Burton was to point out that he had implicated three players and two had already admitted to the committee that they did indeed use performance enhancing substances. Roger’s long time BFF, Andy Pettitte, substantiated McNamee’s story by informing the committee in a closed hearing that Roger Clemens told him he used HGH. Still, Clemens was likened to Jesus.

Clemens didn’t handle himself well. He lost his composure several times and seemed to be covering his tracks, still his Republican buddies applauded him for being a baseball hero and suffering through the humiliation of being implicated in the steroid scandal. How do they feel about Rocket now? Roger’s mantra has been that he is a man of great character, but now this character is a borderline pedophile. People go to jail for having sex with 15 year-olds. Just ask Genarlow Wilson who, at the age of 17, found himself locked up for allowing a 15 year-old to perform oral sex on him. Roger wasn’t 17.

Roger likely won’t go to jail for his relationship with McCready but the fact that she has corroborated the story pretty much proves that Roger Clemens is a dirt bag. He could face perjury charges for lying to Congress and he’s going to see a significant portion of his wealth signed away to his wife after she divorces him. He’s going to get what’s coming to him.

Before the McCready story broke there are plenty of people lined up on his side. These apologists had a litany of excuses for their hero. What do they have to say now?

Clemens is a liar, a cheater and a statutory rapist…sounds like he’s primed for a run at the Senate. He might as well... Roger’s got a better shot at getting into Congress than he does the Hall of Fame.

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