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Hearing had everything but Clemens, McNamee
Question of the Day
George Mitchell walked into the Rayburn Building for yesterday’s congressional hearing on baseball and steroids and was greeted with smiles and handshakes from friends and admirers — the same friends and admirers who would be questioning him on his controversial report on performance-enhancing substances in the game.
Mitchell played to a friendly crowd. Nearly every member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform who questioned Mitchell opened by expressing how much they respected and admired his work over the years in the U.S. Senate and as a peace negotiator.
It’s too bad the next witness wasn’t Roger Clemens. That would have made for great theater, watching Clemens discredit the report by charging one of the main sources of the investigation — his former trainer, Brian McNamee — with lying.
Talk about anticlimatic. Fehr defused some of the harsh criticism he received in the past when he appeared before Congress by, as he did in his public comments about the Mitchell Report when it was released last month, taking a share of the blame for steroids in baseball.
Almost. Selig’s confession to sharing in the blame had to be dragged out of him. Cummings made of point of saying, “This scandal happened under your watch. I want that to sink in. … Do you accept responsibility for this scandal, or do you think there was nothing you could do to prevent it?”
Fehr answered, “Did we or did I appreciate the depth of the problem? … The answer is no. It’s a failure that we didn’t, and it’s a failure that I didn’t.”
Selig replied, “Do I wish we had reacted quicker? Should we have? Yes, one can make a compelling case. And I do a lot of introspective thinking, and I’ll second-guess myself. As far as responsibility, all of us have to take responsibility. Do I wish we could have reacted quicker? Should we have? One could make the case. All of us have to take responsibility, starting with me.”
Yes, one could make the compelling case. Some members of Congress tried to do so yesterday, but few could work up enough outrage to make anyone squirm — except, perhaps, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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