Thursday, August 19, 2010

Because all the other big problems have been solved ...

Obama's Justice Department today indicted Texas baseball legend "Rocket" Roger Clemens for perjury related to alleged steroid use, reports USA Today. See the indictment (pdf). The allegations rest primarily on the word of a snitch who turned on Clemens to avoid prosecution himself.

This seems to me like a massive waste of time and resources and an extremely poor exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Making the situation appear even more hypocritical, as I pointed out before Clemens' ill-advised testimony to Congress, "We couldn't get Condi Rice to testify under oath about 9/11, and myriad Bush administration officials under the GOP Congress were allowed to appear before Congress without risk of perjury charges if they lied," but the feds are using Clemens' Congressional testimony as a perjury trap to go after baseball's all-time strikeout leader Clemens for no good reason I can identify. Hell, even Henry Waxman who chaired the hearing where Clemens allegedly committed perjury later said he regretted staging the event. The whole fiasco was a bad idea from the get-go and this indictment just makes matters worse.

Perjury is a crime that's prosecuted very selectively, with many obvious instances routinely overlooked by prosecutors. Federal prosecutors are going after Clemens because of his star power, not because he poses some terrific threat to the public, or for that matter to anyone but a batter on the receiving end of a beanball.

UPDATE: Tom Kirkendall rightly delcares that "These witch hunts, investigations, criminal indictments, morality plays and public shaming episodes are not advancing a dispassionate and reasoned debate regarding the complex issues that are at the heart of the use of PED's [Performance Enhancing Drugs] in baseball and other sports. On a very basic level, it is not even clear that the controlled use of PED's to enhance athletic performance is as dangerous to health as many of the sports in which the users compete."

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perjury for lying to Congress is like giving speeding tickets at NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

Isn't lying to congress like an oxymoron?

Matt said...

They should have left Barry Bonds alone as well...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Matt, I'm totally with you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but if anyone ever deserved to be indicted because of his douchebaggery alone, it's Clemens.

Rage

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked douchebaggery was not an indictable offense.
Rev. Charles

Robert Langham said...

But the prosecutor will be FAMOUS!

Michael said...

Clemens is not the all-time strikeouts leader! Nolan Ryan is.

Anonymous said...

Silliness.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Michael, I struck the offending, erroneous reference to Clemens as strikeout king. Doublechecking, I see he's third behind Ryan and Randy Johnson. I guess there's a reason I don't write a sports blog!

Still, seven Cy Young's ain't nothing to sneeze at. Not to mention he was a beast in college. The year he and UT won the college world series (82 or 83-ish, while I was in high school) my Dad and I came down to see him pitch a game, and long before anybody thought the guy was on steroids, he was the best pitcher I've personally ever seen in person, Ryan included.

That said, it's not about fandom. I also criticized the Barry Bonds' indictments and I have no fan attachment to him. I just think these are political prosecutions, pursued for their PR value and not in the interests of justice.

As for douchebaggery, try having all your closest, most trusted friends go on national television to stab you in the back or sell you out over stuff for which they (like McNamee and Pettite) are equally culpable, then see if you don't find yourself in a foul mood.

J.W. said...

Although I do think that pro athletes need to be held accountable against the performance-enhancing drug ban, it still seems strange that Congress is the one dealing with it. It's not like they have other, more pressing matters to deal with that, such as unemployment, war, immigration, etc.

But I suppose that is besides the point, about the issue at hand. Clemens lied, he should be punished. As my mom used to always remind me with "oh what wicked webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive".

Anonymous said...

Can he blame Rusty Hardin for saying anything in the first place?

Sorry 'bout that said...

"But the prosecutor will be FAMOUS!

"NAILED IT,NAILED IT, NAILED IT and that is all it is about.

BTW, did anone notice that in all of the ballyhoo around Blago and the Rocket, Tom Delay got a pass? Guess the feds just couldn't get him to roll over to the threats and intimidation. Oh, well. Guess that's one AUSA that doesn't get his halo.