- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2008

Either Roger Clemens or Brian McNamee is lying, one of the charges against Marion Jones that resulted in a six-month prison sentence.

Federal investigators have not questioned Clemens on his purported steroid use yet. That is merely one of the unknown elements hanging over the tarnished pitcher.

Clemens is in full denial mode, not unlike Jones at one time, right down to filing a lawsuit against his former trainer.

The lawsuit is mostly decorative, intended to sway public opinion, just as Jones attempted to do in her lawsuit against Victor Conte.

We now know how it turned out with Jones.

She will be reporting to prison in March, a fate that McNamee wanted to avoid.

That is why he gave up Clemens to federal investigators.

He certainly seemed distraught by this act of self-preservation during his 17-minute taped conversation with Clemens.

But he saw no other way. As long as he was truthful with federal investigators and the Mitchell Report commission, he would remain a free man.

Clemens, of course, wants everyone to believe McNamee is the liar, which demands a good dose of gullibility.

If McNamee did lie to federal investigators and the Mitchell Report commission, then he has put his freedom at considerable risk.

Why would anyone with a couple of brain cells do that?

Why would anyone make up a story about a celebrated pitcher while undoubtedly knowing the pitcher would come after him with conviction?

McNamee had nothing to gain by lying to authorities. And he has nothing to gain in his highly public war of words with Clemens.

Clemens has celebrity, money and power on his side. As McNamee said in his conversation with Clemens, he has nothing but a sick child in his midst.

If Clemens and McNamee agree to testify under oath before Congress next month, one of them will be a lawbreaker.

McNamee’s attorney made it perfectly clear how he sees it in an interview with ESPN’s Bob Ley yesterday.

Earl Ward, McNamee’s attorney, said if Clemens sticks to his denials under oath before Congress, he will have bigger concerns than whether he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“I think we’ll be talking about Roger Clemens being indicted,” Ward said on “Outside the Lines.”

That is strong stuff.

But as we learned with Jones, it was not her usage of steroids that contributed to a prison term. It was the cover-up. It was the repeated denials to federal investigators.

She broke the rules of her sport and was stripped of her five medals from the Sydney Games.

The loss of those medals were the least of her worries as she hid behind her two children and pleaded with the judge to be lenient last week.

That is the game Clemens is playing now.

He is trying to salvage a reputation that is destined to be tainted, no matter how many times he huffs and puffs and claims to be a victim.

The victim card does not reflect well on a pitcher who used intimidation as part of his weaponry to dominate hitters.

If Clemens used steroids to extend a career well past its prime and felt compelled to come clean, he would face nothing more serious than the future condemnation of Hall of Fame voters.

By mounting a vigorous defense, he is inviting a thorough inspection from federal investigators and the gasbags on Capitol Hill.

Now if McNamee has besmirched the previously good name of Clemens, McNamee will go down as one of the dumbest stool pigeons ever.

He will be facing the prison stint he so desperately sought to avoid.

No, the latter does not make much sense.

You do not lie to federal investigators if you have been granted immunity.

Yet that remains the contention of Clemens.

McNamee made it all up because of all the benefits associated with going to prison.

That is a good one.

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