We all want this to be over after today. We all know that Bud Selig screwed this one up. We all know that this sideshow circus down in DC is no longer about rooting out performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
But for the next day, we’re stuck with it. We’re stuck with two grown men engaged in a public shouting match with legal ramifications and the reputations of distinguished baseball players and former Senators on the line. We’re stuck with grandstanding politicians and clueless baseball officials. And as the day gets started, we’re stuck with conflicting reports about Andy Pettitte’s testimony.
What we do know is that Andy Pettitte — along with Chuck Knoblauch and Kurt Radomski — will not be at today’s hearing. What the media hasn’t yet pegged down is why and what Pettitte said in his deposition sessions. An ESPN report from late Tuesday noted that members of Congress excused the Yanks’ lefty because he may not be a good witness:
Sources told [ESPN.com’s TJ] Quinn that Pettitte was not a good witness when he appeared before congressional lawyers during a sworn deposition on Monday. Pettitte often contradicted himself, the sources said, so the committee agreed to his request not to appear Wednesday.
But as the rest of that article relates and as pieces on CBS Sportsline and The New York Times detail, Pettitte’s testimony may be the nail in Roger Clemens’ coffin. While The Times report notes the existence of a signed affidavit given by Pettitte to the House Oversight Committee in lieu of testifying, CBS’ story has the details from the affidavit:
Roger Clemens told Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte nearly 10 years ago that he used human growth hormone, Pettitte said in a sworn affidavit to Congress, the Associated Press learned Tuesday.
Pettitte disclosed the conversation to the congressional committee holding Wednesday’s hearings on drug use in baseball, a person familiar with the affidavit said. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the document had not been made public.
According to the person familiar with the affidavit, who said it was signed Friday night, Pettitte also said Clemens backtracked when the subject of HGH came up again in conversation in 2005, before the same House committee held the first hearing on steroids in baseball.
Pettitte said in the affidavit that he asked Clemens in 2005 what he would do if asked by the media about HGH, given his admission years earlier. According to the account told to the AP, the affidavit said Clemens responded by saying Pettitte misunderstood the previous exchange in 1999 or 2000 and that, in fact, Clemens had been talking about HGH use by his wife in the original conversation.
Furthermore, as ESPN reports, McNamee once told Pettitte that the “stuff [McNamee] gave Roger” was illegal.
Now, right now, all the information we know for sure is that this affidavit exists. The AP story on Sportsline relies on anonymous sources who could be wrong. In less than 12 hours, we’ll know sure, but things do not look good for Roger Clemens.
Someone tell me again though what this has to do about changing the culture of PED use in Major League Baseball? I’m dying to hear the answer to that question.