- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
If Clemens is smart, he’ll cut losses starting now
Question of the Day
Turns out some members of Congress didn't believe Roger Clemens any more than the rest of us.
But what makes it a teachable moment is they did something about it. The lesson is that if you lie to enough people, eventually someone will take it personally. The drawback is that even if he winds up behind bars, it won't change a thing.
Clemens is like plenty of other larger-than-life athletes and celebrities. So accustomed to knocking people down, those lawmakers sitting elbow to elbow in a committee hearing room some 30 months ago looked like just another slap-hitting lineup to Clemens. And he was at least half-right.
Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by current ranking member Darrell Issa of California, spent much of their energy and most of their allotted time that day mocking Clemens' accuser and former personal trainer, Brian McNamee.
"Shame on you," Issa said at the end of one contentious exchange _ and that was soon after his colleague, Chris Shays of Connecticut, called McNamee a cheat, a liar and just for good measure "a drug dealer."
So although Clemens isn't the only one who said something regrettable that day, he's the one who's going to pay.
He faces up to five years in prison on each of six charges and a $1.5 million fine. His reputation is already shot, he rarely turns up in public, and he's already transferred enough personal wealth to his country lawyer, Rusty Hardin, to have a set of chairs named after him at a law school.
Speaking of which: Whether Hardin was truly advising his client or just rubber-stamping Clemens' hare-brained schemes, his legal strategy should become a case study.
In short order, Clemens broadcast a secretly recorded phone conversation with McNamee that made him sound like a mob enforcer, dared Congress to make a federal case out of it, and doubled down by insisting everybody else either "misheard" or "misremembered" what he said and did. Then they filed a defamation lawsuit, only to jog McNamee's memory about a few syringes and bandages he'd stashed away with _ he claims _ Clemens' DNA all over them.
Since things can only get worse for Clemens, and keeping in mind that Barry Bonds' latest prosecution still looms, it's worth asking how much more good money the feds should be throwing after the bad. If the goal is to rid sports of cheaters, it's just not going to happen.
Clemens certainly took it to another level by lying to Congress. But as Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, another Republican member of the committee pointed out that day, "If we called everyone in sports accused of using steroids before this committee, we'd have to shut this place down. That's not our role in this process, and I hope this show trial teaches us that very important lesson."
Unless Clemens gets smart and decides to cut his losses, there's going to be another, even more expensive show trial, this time in federal court. Even if the government wins on every count, the public interest is hardly served by providing three squares and a scratchy new home uniform to a millionaire ballplayer.
What prosecutors should do instead is offer Clemens a plea deal he can't resist, but make it prohibitively expensive. We came up with a proposal two weeks after his appearance before Congress, right around the time committee members called in the FBI to sort out the "he-said, he-said" testimony.
Let some government accountant come up with a spreadsheet breaking out how much of Clemens' earnings can be tied to his use of performance-enhancers. Then double it, plow the money back into testing, research and a smart ad campaign against PED use, and include a few hundred hours of community service.
Clemens isn't the first ballplayer to lie, nor will he be the last. But the most efficient way to get the truth out is turning him into a cautionary tale about how much cheaper it turns out to be sooner rather than later.
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- OBAMASCARE: Huge premium hikes rock employer-insured workers
- UHLER and FERRARA: Obamacare, the end of the progressive era
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Paul Rondeau exposes the propaganda, media tricks, and government policies that undermine our families, faith, freedom…and even life itself
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow