Clemens and McNamee Head to the Hill

Seeing All-Star pitcher Roger Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee testify before Congress on drug use in baseball was like watching a divorced couple, says Weekend Edition's Howard Bryant. Bryant says the government now must decide whether it wants to launch a perjury probe to investigate the conflicting testimony.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

A sad face off this week on Capitol Hill between one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game of baseball and his trainer - Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees, most recently, and his old trainer Brian McNamee - where we also seen one of the greatest liars in baseball history. And if so, which one?

Our own Howard Bryant was on the Hill this week. Howard, thanks for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Hey Scott, good morning.

SIMON: Brian McNamee says he injected Roger Clemens with human growth hormones and steroids. Roger Clemens says no way, man.

BRYANT: That's right.

SIMON: What do you make of it?

BRYANT: Well, I made of it that it was one of the saddest things I had ever seen and when I say sad, I mean very pathetic on both sides simply because it was like a divorce. You had these two individuals who clearly have a very personal history with each other and all of their dirty laundry was being aired out in the street under oath for the whole country to see and it was - if you ever wondered what the price of the steroid era was, I think you kind of watched it there. The game has no credibility and both of those two guys pretty much lost theirs as well.

SIMON: To be fair, Roger Clemens says, I never took human growth hormones. I never took steroids, and no one can prove that I can except for this guy who has lied on half a dozen previous occasions.

BRYANT: True, and - but the inconsistencies in his statement didn't put him in the best light either. There were all kinds of statements that he made under oath that I think the committee members certainly did not - the inconsistencies didn't help his cause. And when we were in break, I went and talked to several of them, and it broke down along party lines. The Democrats thought he was lying and the Republics seemed to be defending him. But certainly despite McNamee's past history, he certainly came off to a lot of people as the more credible.

SIMON: Let me ask a question that I think I've heard expressed by a lot of people who don't follow sports this week, but maybe even a lot of sports fans too. Why is this in Congress anyway?

BRYANT: The federal government got involved very simply because you had players involved in the illegal transaction of illegal substances. So I mean it's really a money issue more than anything else. And then it became a criminal investigation and the thing to remember is that from the very beginning of even BALCO and the beginning of all of this steroid and performance-enhancing drug story, they never really wanted to get the players, but it so turned out that the players were involved because of the - the company they kept. And then once it snowballed, there was no way out for the players because they had stonewalled and lied to the public and they had lied to the press.

And then once confronted with all of their lies, then they ended up in front of Congress. But the question is this. Can the Congress allow this to be the last word where essentially somebody was allowed to lie for - to a Congressional committee for four and a half hours? Is that going to be the last word? If that is the last word, I think that might be sending the wrong message, but on the other hand, the Justice Department will have to then open up a grand jury and then that opens up a whole other chapter to this. And the question will be whether or not Congress and the Justice Department really want us to have another round to find out just who was lying.

SIMON: Howard Bryant, senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Thank you so much.

BRYANT: Thank you.

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