As The PEDs Turn continued yesterday when Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and his House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform asked the Justice Department to investigate inconsistencies in Roger Clemens’ testimony. While, by now, I’ve long since given up any expectation of finding out the Truth (with a capital T) in the Clemens/McNamee shouting contest, this latest development will impact the Yankees because Andy Pettitte figures to be a key component of any investigation and potential perjury trial.
While the FBI has since opend a probe into Clemens, Andy Pettitte has reluctantly noted that he will be a part of the investigation. These developments could very well impact Pettittes’ mental preparation this season. He’s a fighter on the mound, and there’s no reason to think he carries his personal baggage onto the field with him. But this is heavy.
So far, the media has given Pettitte a pass, but in a rather scathing piece in the Village Voice, Allan Barra wonders if that should change. Barra also thinks Pettitte should be suspended.
Why hasn’t Andy Pettitte heard from MLB, and why hasn’t there been talk of a suspension? In his deposition to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Pettitte admitted that his father injected him with HGH in 2004…In admitting this, Pettitte was in effect also admitting that he had lied to the Mitchell Commission—and thus to Major League Baseball—about the extent of his drug use…
That Pettitte would not appear as a witness at the February 13 public hearing wasn’t known until just before midnight on Monday, February 11…It was speculated that the reason that Pettitte would not be appearing in person was that he didn’t want to hurt and embarrass his close friend and former teammate—an explanation highly favorable to Mitchell and Waxman, as well as to Pettitte’s reputation.
Another version of Pettitte’s reasons to skip the hearing appeared in numerous stories that also appeared on February 12: As ESPN’s T.J. Quinn reported, sources had told him that “Pettitte was not a good witness when he appeared before Congressional lawyers during sworn deposition…Pettitte often contradicted himself, so the committee agreed to his request not to appear before the committee.” If that’s true, one must wonder if Waxman wasn’t relieved that Pettitte wouldn’t be grilled in person about the vague and often contradictory statements in his deposition. If so, Roger Clemens, whether innocent or guilty, was denied the fundamental right of facing his accuser.
Barra is the first New York sportswriter to really go after Pettitte; he’s also a noted crank. He supported Rush Limbaugh’s racist criticisms of Donovan McNabb, for one.
But Barra broke the Andy Pettitte barrier, and I have to wonder if others will soon follow suit. Whether he wants to be or not, Pettitte will occupy the FBI spotlight during this investigation. It may be a waste of time; it may be a waste of government resources; but it’s happening. Hopefully, it won’t impact the games.