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Clemens Drug-Use Hearing Yields Conflicting Stories

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Clemens Drug-Use Hearing Yields Conflicting Stories


Clemens Drug-Use Hearing Yields Conflicting Stories

Clemens Drug-Use Hearing Yields Conflicting Stories

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Two men under oath faced off with conflicting stories Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

"Let me be clear. I have never taken steroids or HGH," Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens testified before a House committee about allegations that he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Sitting just a few tense feet away — at the same table — was his former trainer, Brian McNamee, who named Clemens as a drug user in former Sen. George Mitchell's report on doping in baseball. McNamee says he injected those drugs "into the body of Roger Clemens at his direction."

Since the report came out in December, Clemens has insisted repeatedly that the allegations about him are untrue. Wednesday's hearing was intended to explore the doubts Clemens has raised.

In addition to McNamee's evidence, the most serious challenge to Clemens' story has come from his workout buddy, former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.

Pettitte was scheduled to testify as well, but he was excused after he gave the committee an affidavit describing his own use of human growth hormone, or HGH. Pettitte has said that Clemens told him he was also using HGH. When Clemens was asked Wednesday to explain Pettitte's comments, he said "Andy has misheard."

In a strange twist, Clemens' wife Debbie appears to be a part of the story.

Congressman John Tierney pointed out that in his affidavit, Clemens denied ever speaking with McNamee about HGH. Tierney then asked Clemens why — in another section of the affidavit — he acknowledged talking to the trainer about his wife's use of the drug.

Clemens Denies Drug Use, Pettitte's Account

Roger Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee — testifying side by side — told members of Congress conflicting stories Wednesday about steroid use by the man many consider to be the greatest baseball pitcher in history.

Clemens told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he never used steroids or human growth hormone. But McNamee told lawmakers that he injected Clemens 16 to 21 times with steroids and HGH.

"I have never taken steroids or HGH," Clemens said. But he acknowledged that claims to the contrary have already had a major impact on his reputation and legacy:

"No matter what we discuss here today, I am never going to have my name restored," he said.

But a statement from fellow pitcher Andy Pettitte, a close friend of Clemens' who was his teammate on the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, undercut some of Clemens' denials.

Pettitte, who was excused from Wednesday's hearing, issued a statement shortly before the session started and acknowledged using human growth hormone in 2004, in addition to his December admission that he took it for two days in 2002.

In an affidavit filed with the House committee, Pettitte said that Clemens told him nearly 10 years ago that he used HGH. Pettitte also said Clemens backtracked when the subject of HGH came up again in conversation in 2005, before the same House committee held the first hearing on steroids in baseball.

Pettitte said in the affidavit that he asked Clemens in 2005 what he would do if asked about performance-enhancing substances, given his admission years earlier.

Pettitte said Clemens responded by saying Pettitte misunderstood the previous exchange in 1999 or 2000 and that, in fact, Clemens had been talking about HGH use by his wife in the original conversation.

Asked about Pettitte's version of events, Clemens said, "Andy Pettitte is my friend. He was my friend before this. He will be my friend after this and again."

"I think Andy has misheard," Clemens said. "I think he misremembers of our conversation."

The House committee is investigating the Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball, which cited McNamee's claims to have injected Clemens more than a dozen times with performance-enhancing drugs.

McNamee now says the number was actually greater than that — a change to his story that McNamee said is the result of more reflection on the "drug regimens" used. The trainer testified while sharing the same witness table with Clemens.

Responding to Clemens' insistence that he has used neither HGH nor steroids, McNamee stated that Clemens received injections of the drugs — not doses of vitamins and pain relievers, as Clemens has said.

"When I told Sen. Mitchell that I injected Roger Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs, I told the truth," McNamee said.

"I told the truth about steroids and human growth hormone," McNamee said. "I injected those drugs into the body of Roger Clemens at his direction."

"Unfortunately Roger has denied this and led a full-court attack on my credibility," McNamee said. "And let me be clear, despite Roger Clemens' statements to the contrary, I never injected Roger Clemens — or anyone else — with lidocaine or B-12."

For his part, Clemens said he cannot in good conscience admit to something he did not do.