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Clemens posts video denying use of steroids

Mitchell Report claims about him are 'simply not true,' he says. He'll talk on '60 Minutes.'

December 24, 2007|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

Roger Clemens used the Internet to issue his latest denial that he ever used steroids, saying in a video that was posted Sunday on his foundation's website and YouTube.com that the parts of the Mitchell Report that pertained to him are "simply not true."

Looking directly into the camera, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner said, "Let me be clear: The answer is no, I did not use steroids, human growth hormone, and I've never done so."

Clemens also said in the video, which lasts one minute and 48 seconds, that he will grant his first interview on the matter to Mike Wallace of CBS' "60 Minutes."

Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Clemens would speak on camera with Wallace in the next week or two and that the interview would air Jan. 6. The plans were confirmed by a CBS spokesman.

Hardin said that when the episode is done airing in the Central time zone, Clemens will hold a news conference in the Houston area, probably at his residence.

Until Sunday, Clemens hadn't spoken publicly about the accusations made about him in former Sen. George Mitchell's report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. He denied using drugs in a written statement he issued last week through his agent, Randy Hendricks.

According to Mitchell's report, former trainer Brian McNamee said he injected Clemens with steroids or human growth hormone on numerous occasions while Clemens was pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998 and the New York Yankees in 2000 and 2001. McNamee spoke to Mitchell as part of an agreement with federal prosecutors.

"I did not provide Brian McNamee with any drugs to inject into my body," Clemens said in the video. "Brian McNamee did not inject steroids or human growth hormones into my body, either when I played in Toronto for the Blue Jays or the New York Yankees."

In the video, Clemens mentioned a report in The Times that ran last year. Citing anonymous sources, The Times reported that Clemens was among the players accused of using performance-enhancing drugs by former major league pitcher Jason Grimsley in a federal affidavit. The affidavit was unsealed Thursday, and Clemens' name wasn't in it. The Times ran a correction.

"I faced this last year when the L.A. Times reported that I used steroids," he said in the video. "I said it was not true then, and now the whole world knows it's not true, now that that's come out."

McNamee's lawyer, Earl Ward, told the New York Times that McNamee stood by his claims about Clemens' drug use.

"I spoke to Brian, he mentioned it to me, he had seen it," Ward said, referring to the video. "It doesn't change what Brian has said all along. He has nothing different to add. He had no desire to implicate one of the greatest pitchers ever in the steroid scandal, but he couldn't lie to federal investigators. What Brian told everyone is accurate; it will be interesting to see what Roger has to say going forward."

Hardin said he was responsible for Clemens' silence, contending that his client "would've been willing to come out on the first day."

Hardin represented the Arthur Andersen company when it was found guilty of obstructing justice in 2002 for destroying documents that belonged to energy giant Enron. Hardin said he thought the accounting firm was hurt by speaking about its case before knowing how much evidence had been gathered against it.

Hardin said he thought he should look into the accusations made against Clemens and see whether Mitchell had any evidence other than McNamee's testimony. Hardin said that his investigation isn't complete but that he has no reason to believe Mitchell has further proof of Clemens' using banned substances. Hardin said he has also uncovered instances in which Mitchell's investigators failed to pursue "obvious leads."

Hardin said that he didn't want Clemens to speak until he had completed his inquiry but that he advised him to post the video in response to what he perceived to be an incredulous tone in news reports regarding Clemens' denials.

"The reason we did this spot was to feed the demanding beast," Hardin said, referring to the media.

Clemens acknowledged in his video that the accusations made him "angry."

"Over the last 15 days or so, it's been extremely difficult for my family, my children, my extended family," Clemens said. "I'm holding up better than they are. I'm almost numb to some of these suggestions that I would even use steroids."

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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