- - Thursday, December 29, 2016

I vividly recall a snarling Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, taking baseball pitching great Roger “Rocket” Clemens to task in a congressional hearing for refusing to admit to having used prohibited substances, as alleged by Brian McNamee, a former trainer. In the manner of shysters, Mr. Cummings darkly reminded the witness that he was under oath.

Indeed, federal prosecutors subsequently brought a criminal case against Mr. Clemens for “lying” to Mr. Cummings and, after a mistrial and a second trial, Mr. Clemens was acquitted. This might lead a fair-minded sports writer to conclude that Mr. Clemens was at least as believable as Mr. McNamee on the issue of prohibited substance use.

However, Thom Loverro reached the opposite conclusion (“The shame of adding Bonds, Clemens to the Hall of Fame,” Web, Dec. 27). Mr. Loverro pronounced Mr. Clemens unfit for top honors because when he “had a chance to take the stand and clear his name in a defamation suit filed by his accuser and former friend and trainer from the Mitchell Report, Brian McNamee, [Mr. Clemens] instead opted to settle.” So, strategically settling a harassing lawsuit is deemed proof of guilt, but acquittal in a parallel criminal prosecution doesn’t count as proof of innocence? No wonder the press nowadays has so little credibility.



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