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Courtesy of former trainer Brian McNamee, the evidence that legendary pitcher Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs is mounting, but that does not necessarily mean the case against him is getting stronger. There is an ongoing investigation into whether Clemens lied under oath when he testified before Congress that he had not used performance-enhancing drugs (namely, steroids and human growth hormone, or ”HGH”) in 2008. Trainer Brian McNamee’s testimony contradicted Clemens’s denials, and the investigation stems from the inevitable conclusion that one of them lied to Congress under oath.
According to a recent report, blood from used syringes, which McNamee claims were used by Clemens to take performance-enhancing drugs, was tested and found to match Roger Clemens’ DNA. This means that either Clemens used the syringes or, as Clemens’s attorney asserts, the evidence was fabricated. Other than McNamee’s claims, there is nothing to confirm that the syringes ever held steroids or HGH. Investigators are not disclosing to what extent their evidence may implicate Clemens, but McNamee’s lawyers assert that the evidence backs his allegations of Clemens’s drug use. Nevertheless, more is needed to conclusively show that Clemens lied to Congress. Indeed, Clemens must have knowingly used steroids or HGH, which can be very difficult to prove.
Just look at the case of Barry Bonds, who will soon go to trial on perjury charges in March of this year. Bonds has admitted to using steroids in 2003 federal grand jury testimony), but maintains that he was not aware they were illegal performance-enhancing substances. Furthermore, a recent New York Times article revealed that urine samples submitted by Bonds tested positive for anabolic steroids. Despite prosecutors’ ability to easily link Bonds to performance-enhancing drug use, perjury requires them to establish that Bonds knowingly lied under oath. Such a task can seem daunting when one considers Bonds’s claim that he merely used whatever supplement his trainer gave him.
The jury will have to determine to what degree, if any, Bonds had knowledge of his drug use. Will ignorance, even if it might have been willful, translate into innocence for Barry Bonds? In the end, Bonds’s trial and the investigation into Roger Clemens’s testimony seem to come down to the competing stories: the athlete versus the opposing witnesses. The use of performance-enhancing drugs by prominent MLB players just does not seem to be going away. While there may be several compelling reasons for believing that Bonds and Clemens are being less than truthful, proving it is a different story.
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