Wednesday, January 09, 2008

On Roger Clemens

Sorry for the lack of blog posting. Work is crazy all over again, and I've been recovering over the holidays, which went very well, by the way.

I wanted to take some time to discuss this whole Roger Clemens scandal. While I'm not the sports enthusiast I used to be (I still watch and follow sports casually, but in college my TV was on Sports Center 24/7 and I played at least some sort of sport almost every day. I can't really say that now).

Anyway, this whole scandal has been getting plenty of national media, but it's been getting special attention here in Houston since Clemens lives in Houston and helped lead us to the World Series a few years back.

Let me start by saying that I'm not a fan of Roger Clemens. I was excited when the Astros got him, but I quickly came to the conclusion that the whole "team player" persona he put off wasn't who he really was. To me, he seemed to be coming to the Astros for his own personal goals, not to help a team go to the next level or even finally accomplish his dream of playing in Houston. It came down to him getting more money from the Astros, which is fine, I just feel like he was disingenious about it. This became really apparent to me when he negotiated a contract that sucked a huge portion of the Astros budget only to end up not playing the whole season (he started late because he's that good, you see...) and a leave a year later after stringing us along well into the pre-season.

Ok, on to the scandal. In his 60 Minutes interview, Roger basically said that he deserves more respect than he's been given because he's been in the league for 24 or 25 years and done so many great things. He also declared his innocence--a claim I don't believe.

In Houston (I don't know about the more national scene, but I've been hearing this at least some there too), a good number of people seem to feel sorry for Roger. A lot of people have been calling in to the local talk shows saying that even if he is guilty, they feel sorry for what he is going through. Several of the show hosts have shared similar sentiments.

That's all well and good. I can somewhat see there point--Roger Clemens has been a really good pitcher, and he's at least had the persona of being a good person. The problem I have with this sentiment is that Barry Bonds, who's been accused of the same stuff, simply isn't getting the pity Roger's being handed out. I don't want to call this a race issue, but I can't help but wonder if race is playing a role. The black baseball star (a definite hall of famer if not for this candidate) gets the flack and the white baseball star is getting somewhat of a pass, at least in the eye of some.

Sure, Barry has been an overall jerk throughout his career, and he's just not that likeable of a guy, so I know that plays some sort of role, but he's still one of the best players in baseball (certainly one of the best hitters--homeruns and average) . Short of that, he and Roger are in very similar circumstances and are getting very different reactions from fans and analysts alike.

Roger Clemens still has a battle in front of him, and maybe the tides will change (and I'll admit that not everyone is going so easy on Clemens so far--see Curt Schilling), but for now I for one am disappointed to see Barry Bonds take this kind of flack when Roger Clemens (and really dozens of other players listed in the Mitchell report) just aren't getting the same reactions. If we're against steriods and performance enhancement drugs, let's be against them, but let's not come down hard on some players and let others get a pass.


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