Who keeps used syringes around for eight years anyway?

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Let me start this one off with my typical Roger Clemens-Steroids disclaimer. I don’t know what Roger Clemens did or when. I don’t know if he’s telling the truth; I don’t know if Brian McNamee is telling the truth. But I do believe in the legal right that places the burden of proof on the prosecution. In other words, Clemens is innocent until proven guilty.

And this latest round of news — seven- or eight-year-old gauze or used syringes — hardly strikes me as a smoking gun.

The story according to Duff Wilson and Michael S. Schmidt of The Times:

Brian McNamee has given federal investigators bloody gauze pads, vials and syringes he said he used to inject Roger Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in 2000 and 2001, a lawyer with knowledge of the case said Wednesday.

McNamee, Clemens’s former personal trainer, hopes that DNA and chemical tests on the materials will support his contention that he injected Clemens with those drugs, the lawyer said. The disclosure came a day after Clemens gave a sworn deposition to Congressional investigators Tuesday.

Clemens’s lawyer, Lanny A. Breuer, responded that McNamee “apparently has manufactured evidence” and was “a troubled man who is obsessed with doing everything possible to destroy Roger Clemens.”

It’s pretty hard to take this one too seriously, and I’ll turn to Breuer for a concise summary. Breuer said this “defies all credibility. It is just not credible — who in their right mind does such a thing?”

Supposedly, the story goes, McNamee had these syringes at home but had not yet opted to share them with federal investigators out of what one source termed “lingering loyalty” toward Clemens. When Clemens basically threw him under the bus at that bizarre press conference a few weeks ago, McNamee decided to wage his own war against the Rocket.

It doesn’t take a legal expert to know that this evidence would hardly be too convincing. As Schmidt details in a sidebar piece, this revelation brings up more questions than it answers. Why did McNamee withhold evidence for so long? Why and how was he storing the syringes?

Meanwhile, it’s nearly impossible to date leftover injections in syringes or crusted blood. As one law professor said to Schmidt, Clemens’ defense team will have a field day with this. “Clemens’s defense lawyers will attack McNamee on cross-examination, claiming that the evidence was manufactured by McNamee in response to the revelation that Clemens had taped him,” Mathew Rosengart said.

This story — already bizarre — just gets stranger by the day. I wonder if Bud Selig is still pleased that his half-hearted efforts at rooting out steroids in baseball has led to this debacle.

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  • mike

    the guy is lying blackmailer with definite mental problems and an obsession with all things roger.

    i wonder though, does he also have a stash of andy’s dirty needles…how about knobby’s? i hope they are all clearly marked…

    i want this guy to go to prison for this BS

  • Rich

    Has McNamee threatened Clemens seeking money or any other benefit in exchange for not revealing this information?

    Not according to anything I have read.

    Consequently, he is not a blackmailer.

    Perhaps McNamee saved this stuff to protect himself in case Clemens ever tried to scapegoat him if any allegations of PED usage were ever made against him.

    I want the liar to be exposed, be that McNamee or Clemens.

    As of now, none of us know who the liar is.

  • Ricochet

    McNamee is crazier than a shit house rat. It makes no sense unless that he would hold onto this stuff especially for the reason he claims. Why would he expect that he would need proof against a guy that he called a friend? Plus a syringe would hardly have trace amounts in the first place let alone from 7 or 8 years ago but what about the bloody gauze pads, honestly who would keep that? However if there was anything to this then shouldn’t he have all this type of stuff on other people and players that he named or did business with and why didn’t he turn them in. The point is that this whole situation is BS.

  • http://www.thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

    agreed. honestly, any credibility this guy had (which is already a pretty small amount) is basically out the window. this isn’t CSI, i don’t know what he was thinking. even if they find Clemens’ blood (a reach), somehow, in these syrniges, Clemens can just say they were from older B12 or lidocaine injections, etc. It just makes no sense at all.

  • bostonsucks@life

    Did he keep them in the fridge next to the snack packs ? But seriously this guy thinks that this will hold up in court comeone.
    Clemens defense team is gonna eat mcnammee up. Its all pretty laughable

  • E-ROC

    McNamee is a joke. Nobody in their right mind saves syringes from 8 years ago. That stuff better be legit. Even so, Clemens’ attorneys are going to pick him apart. Again, wasting tax payers’ money. Good job Congress! God and JC are probably laughing at these fools.

  • http://mvn.com/milb-yankees EJ

    To play Devil’s advocate,

    Who keeps them around for 8 years? How many times have you seen a movie where a mobster keeps some information in a safe somewhere just in case they are caught? You don’t get much more high profile than Roger Clemens.

  • http://www.myspace.com/playball playballny

    Who does this? Someone who left the option of blackmailing someone else wide open. He was ready for the rainy day when Clemens said, “nope not going to keep you as my trainer anymore” or “nope, not gonna pay for your kid’s medical expenses”…. My take is that at some point Clemens said no and stopped giving McNamee whatever he wanted (whatever that might have been) and so he talked. As close as they were, he opened his mouth and ratted a little too easily…I think Clemens wasn’t making him happy at some point. How long was that guy sitting in jail for Bonds for?

  • Mike N (Stamford, CT)

    From what I have heard, McNamee is a former cop. If he was buying illegal drugs (steroidds) for Clemens he might have thought to keep these materials as a get out of jail free card. He probably knows that prosecutors always want a bigger fish – in this case Clemens.

    Just a thought…

  • Bo

    I dont buy this at all. No one keeps used syringes. Especially not a personal trainer. And no one buying steroids is thinking about get out of jail free cards.

    They dont prosecute users. They prosecute suppliers and dealers. Just because he has a syringe of another user doesnt mean anything. The cops and DA’s would laugh him out of the room.

  • Bo

    To play lawyer here. You can’t take something like this from 8 yrs ago and prove someone was a user with. There is no chain of evidence here. It’s ridiculous.

    • http://yanksfansoxfan.typepad.com/ysfs/ Nick-YF

      Bo, you’re completely right. But the problem with this “revelation” is that it damages Roger in the court of public opinion most likely. I don’t think there is going to be anything conclusively decided legally. Roger is trying to clear his name among the public. Is that fair? Well, no, if he’s indeed innocent.

  • http://yankeefansunite.freeforums.org/portal.php Old Goat

    What would the motivation be in this case? Lets take it from McNamee…

    1. He threw his old buddy under the bus by telling Mitchell about the injections. Yet withholds that he has syringes and gauze and vials. Same with the federal investigators. Clemens is already thrown under the bus, why not flatten the tires?
    2. Shortly after testifying about Clemens, he calls up Clemens and borrows the fishing equipment. Why? Doesn’t it strike you as a bit funny that after ruining Clemens reputation, which McNamee very well knew he did, and he knew, as we did, that Mitchell was going to name names, that McNamee would decide to go fishing and need Clemens’ gear to do so?
    3. If he did in fact hold on to these items for so long, what possible reasons would he have for doing so? Future paydays? I just don’t see him thinking he was going to get caught. I see this as a means of blackmail, regardless of Clemens being guilty or not. All he would need to do is tell Clemens (if he is innocent) that he mixed steroids in, so Clemens could either pay up or he was releasing this stuff.

    I rely on trying to put myself into a framework of what the people involved would do. When I run through it, I keep coming up far short when dealing with McNamee.

    Clemens on the other hand only needed to “come clean” if he did inject these drugs. Had he done as Pettitte did, admitted to use, was sorry, it would have been a hit on his reputation, but not a massive one. He could have mitigated the issue and it wouldn’t have had as big a backlash as he is getting now. All he needed to do was look at Bonds and all his woes to know if he was going to try and BS, it could come back and bite him in a large way. Instead he brings forth a law suit, has made multiple public statements, had given sworn testimony to congress, continues to meet with members of Congress.

    If Clemens did do the drugs, then he is out of his mind. Insane. I’m sorry but he doesn’t appear that way to me.

    If Clemens is innocent of these charges, he certainly seems to be acting in accord with what I would think an innocent man would do. Working as hard as possible to clear his name. He has stuck his neck out from just taking a hit on his rep, to facing jail time.

    Meanwhile, McNamee was facing jail time. Mitchell’s report sited the LA newspaper report linking Clemens in the Grimsley affidavit. We now know that Clemens was not named in it, but at the time of Mitchell’s investigation we did not. Mitchell could have asked specifically about Clemens because of this. Weighing going to jail or giving up the names of people asked for by Mitchell… what would a character like McNamee do.

    I’m sorry but my BS meter is moving heavily against McNamee.

  • TomG

    This is the only place I go to for this type of story; you guys keep it short, state the facts in a non-sensational way and provide logical analysis. Keep up the good work.

    In my opinion, a justice system that needs to make an example out of high profile individuals as a deterrent is not a very effective justice system. If our society decides steroids are illegal, there should have been ongoing, behind the scenes investigations of steroid users and dealers for the past twenty years; that’s the burden a society takes on when it outlaws something. For law enforcement to sit back and watch steroids become this ubiquitous, and then to only go after the big fish is bullshit. Martha Stewart, Marion Jones and Clemens are just the highest profile representatives of a culture of abuse; they’re not particularly outrageous examples of the abuse. This doesn’t seem very just to me.

  • tom

    He has syringes from Pettitte as well.

    Crazy like a fox.

    An ex cop knows what can happen, he knew the type of people he was dealing with (defimation lawsuit), and that he would be the patsy.

  • Realist

    Did Mcnamee learn anything from Monica’s sperm stained , non dry cleaned dress…….she supposedly wore while performing oral sex on Bill Clinton???

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

    Seems like he was either trying to protect himself later down the road or use it as “blackmail”??? Not sure which one but definately could care less….

  • LiveFromNewYork

    Criminals never think they’re going to get caught. Monica kept the dress because she was in love. I don’t think that McSnakee was in love.

    I doubt he kept anything and if he did he certainly didn’t do it to turn state’s evidence. The guy is a psycho.

    I had my doubts about Clemens but then, in August no one thought McCain could be the Republican nominee.

    I have to think McNamee’s got nothing.

  • Karen

    To answer your question posed in the blog title for this topic — “Who keeps used syringes around for eight years anyway?” — I’d say right offhand it’d be someone who has followed some of the big lies Clemens has told his entire career, and who became increasingly wary about whether or not he’d be the fall guy if Clemens decided to tell another big lie about the illegal activities BOTH OF THEM were participating in between 1998 and some yet-to-be-determined date in the new millennium (I don’t think those activities stopped in 2001, the most recent date in the Mitchell Report).

    Clemens lied about the blister (86 WS(, about leaving Boston (1995, house for sale), about pitching for a winner (to the NYY, 1996), about where “home” was (1996, not in Toronto), about what constitutes “competitive” (1998 demand to be traded), about illegal handshake clause in his contract (to MLB, 1998), about the bat shard (2000), about “self defense” in Bayou Mama’s (arrest in 2001), about retiring (2003, 2007), about the HOF (2008 press conference).

    I wouldn’t trust Clemens to tell the truth about anything, and I couldn’t blame McNamee for eventually getting the same idea about Clemens.

  • Karen

    TomG, this “culture of abuse” you mention is promulgated by the very denizens of many of the blogs and message boards that are discussing this issue of steroids in baseball.

    It amazes me how many people are shrugging the issue off, saying “Congress has more important things to do” (like they can’t do more than one thing at a time?), or “I’m bored with this, I want my baseball”, or “why do they keep picking on Clemens/the Yankees?”, or “he-said, he-said” (the issue is between Clemens and MLB/George Mitchell, not Clemens and McNamee — but Hardin/Clemens have chosen to go after the minnow, not the shark — but they don’t have any compunction, apparently, about getting cozy with the whale (Congress) like some kind of Jonah. No minnow would dare do that…