Roger Clemens and the state of the modern denial

Roger Clemens isn’t stupid enough to go in front of Congress determined not to talk about the past. Clemens just posted a video on his website denying that he ever used illegal substances to defy modern time like nearly no other pitcher in the history of baseball.

It’s an odd thing to look at. The site is supposedly there to publicize the Roger Clemens Foundation, a charity started by Roger and his wife Debbie to help children. The video isn’t on the main page of the web site. There isn’t a big banner to click on saying, “See the Roger Clemens steroid denial!” The video actually comes up on top of the web site. If you were someone rabid to give Roger money to help some children, you would literally need to close the video pop up beforehand, like some annoying ad for illegal Valium or Viagra.

Like Roger, Mark McGwire’s favorite charity was children too, and after all, who doesn’t love children now that W.C. Fields is dead and gone? I wonder if I’m the only one who finds this ironic, since if you read the news or watch television, it’s pretty clear that steroid use in baseball harms three main groups:

1.) Ex-baseball players, many of them dead, who used to hold precious records like Roger Maris or Hank Aaron.
2.) Really dorky guys, who find the Baseball Encyclopedia to be more exciting than most people would find a combination of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the stolen Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee home video.
3.) Children.

Like with most controversial issues, the future of our children is really the only one that carries with it any traction. Without the children to fear for, does anybody that doesn’t play fantasy baseball really care how big Barry Bonds’ head has gotten?

That’s one reason Roger has that video pop right up on his web site, because when you break it all down, he’s basically being accused of abusing children, and that can’t make either him or Mark McGwire feel very comfortable.

I find something else more interesting, though, and it’s the state of the modern denial. In the old days, you would maybe have to have a press conference or give a “very special” interview to a trusted sportswriter. Now, you merely hide out in your Bat Cave and have someone film your private response. Oddly, Osama Bin Laden, makes his special announcements much the same way.

This is essentially the state of modern journalism. In court, you have the right to face your accusers. In the modern world, whether you are a politician or a celebrity, you have the right to hide from them. There is no longer a prepared statement followed by a question and answer segment, all we get these days is the prepared statement. We don’t even get a crowd response anymore, because there is essentially no one there to witness the denial. Roger could have backed this thing up with a laugh track or Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries had he felt like it.

Roger also agreed to be on 60 Minutes, and we can only hope that it doesn’t turn out to be as creepy as the last Michael Jackson interview. Why would Clemens, who has so far avoided the press, agree to appear on a probing investigative show? Either he’s innocent (cue the laugh track) or he’s pretty sure that he’s covered all his bases legally and is again controlling his access to the media.

Here’s where it gets real spooky. What year did Roger Clemens make his major league debut? 1984!

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