Did you watch Roger Clemens on “60 Minutes” Sunday night? I was at a meeting, but I caught the highlights on various news channels later on. What did you think: guilty or not guilty?
I want to believe Roger. He is a Houstonian. He is a Longhorn. He was an Astro. Like that little boy 87 y ears ago who cried out: “Say it ain’t so Joe” when Shoeless Joe Jackson was accused of throwing the World Series, I wanted to find a reason Sunday night to believe that Roger didn’t do it.
He looked beleaguered and bewildered, as if he had gone 18 innings. He looked desperate to have some word or acknowledgement that all was OK. The question remains: What does the court of public opinion think?
I was on a blog site the other day. Beside each contributor’s response there was a credibility rating. It honestly affected the way I viewed each blog entry, the same way a movie review skews my ability to see a movie. What if we all walked around with a “credibility score” hanging about our necks so people knew how to weigh our words? Would it change the way people look at us or hear us?
Roger Clemens’ credibility is up for debate. And with his credibility, his career is also up for debate. Others have been stripped of their yellow jersey [Floyd Landis], their gold medals [Ben Johnson and Marion Jones], and their Hall of Fame nominations [Pete Rose]. Should steroid era players pay a price if proven guilty?
Mike Wallace asked the questions. There was a day when “60 Minutes” was the essence of hard-hitting journalism. Did “60 Minutes” diminish their credibility Sunday night? Did they throw Roger hard balls “high and tight” or did they toss one over the plate? Mike Wallace is a Yankees fan and a Roger Clemens fan. He tossed a couple of softballs and gave Roger a chance to clear his name.
Question #1: Would you take a lie detector test?
Answer #1: Well, uh people look at those in different ways. What would that prove?
Didn’t you want Roger to look Wallace in the eye and with his best Texas Twang say: “Hook me up Mike. Let’s end this right here and right now. Let’s get ‘er done?”
But that did not happen.
Question # 2: What should happen to people who are guilty of taking steroids?
Answer # 2: What they have done to their bodies is punishment enough.
Didn’t you want to hear him say: “They should be banned. They should give their awards back. They should not be in the Hall.” Isn’t that what an innocent man would say?
What is a diehard baseball fan, Longhorn fan, and “till I die or maybe longer Texan” supposed to do?
We wait and listen and look. This is still a country where one is innocent until proven guilty. I have had friends falsely accused. It is painful to watch as they try to defend themselves. People say things like, “where there is smoke there is fire,” even though they are the ones blowing the smoke. They are stirring the ashes and trying to turn it into a fire.
I hope that Roger will come out clean on this deal and my Roger Clemens rookie card will actually be worth something some day. But for now, we wait and see.
When Wallace asked Clemens what the punishment should be, did it remind you of a biblical story? Wallace is playing the role of the prophet Nathan and Clemens is King David. In the Bible story King David pronounced his own punishment. “He will pay four fold!”
Did Roger take the pitch because he was worried that he was pronouncing his own fate or was it in sympathy for others wrongly accused?
I really do hope that Roger is clean on all of this. Only time will tell.
I feel for Roger’s family. I feel for his friends.
I really feel for the season-ticket holder who had to tell his 8-year-old boy why people are saying all of this about Roger. I can see the boy looking at his dad and saying: “Say it ain’t so.”
Innocence lost is always painful.
Ed Hogan is senior pastor of Jersey Village Baptist Church in Houston.