Sunday, January 13, 2008

Roger Clemens should get more respect

The NY Times writes this about MLB pitcher Roger Clemens:
Accused by his former personal trainer of taking steroids for several years, Clemens has found his reputation as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history splintering by the day. He has embarked on a furious and, some say, debatable public relations effort with the spin of his tightest slider. ...

If Clemens is telling the truth about never having taken steroids, Langberg and other experts said, he is failing to leave that impression — and instead leaving himself open to public and legal consequences. His contentions that injections he received were merely of the painkiller lidocaine and the vitamin B12 have not rung plausibly with the public, they said, despite his emotion. ...

Langberg and Marina Ein, a crisis-management consultant based in Washington, said they would have strongly advised against Clemens’s appearing on “60 Minutes” last Sunday and holding a long news conference the next day. They tell their clients to assert their innocence, outrage and commitment to fight the charges under oath only in a brief written statement, rather than in the more uncontrollable forums in which Clemens lost his cool.
In other words, Clemens is being found guilty in the court of public opinion because he did not hire the right PR firm.

Three of the greatest baseball players that I have ever seen are Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens. All had long and illustrious careers that should have made them heroes. They share the most impressive records.

And yet they have all been disgraced by innuendo from colleages and associates who have double-crossed them. I am not convinced that any of them are guilty of anything. Considering their many years of outstanding service to baseball, I think that they should be given the benefit of the doubt. They haven't been. Too many people regard them as guilty until proven innocent. MLB is a disgrace for how they have treated their very best and most loyal stars.

In Clemens's case, the accusation just comes from one guy who used it to get more favorable treatment from federal prosecutors. The case looks weak to me. I think that it is unamerican to treat him like a guilty man, even if his PR strategy is not the best.

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