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It's Clemens' Word Against Trainer, Teammate

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It's Clemens' Word Against Trainer, Teammate

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It's Clemens' Word Against Trainer, Teammate

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

NPR's sports correspondent, Tom Goldman, was at the hearing today on Capitol Hill. He joins us now.

And Tom, there were hours of testimony and a lot of dramatic moments.

TOM GOLDMAN: A lot of dramatic moments. Beginning at the very start when Roger Clemens in a blue suit entered from the left. His wife, Debbie, was behind him carrying a single yellow rose. On the right side of the building - right side of the hearing room, Brian McNamee in a gray suit enters. It's like two prize fighters coming in from different angles here. And then they sat down at the table. And luckily for everyone, there was an attorney who had worked with former senator George Mitchell on Mitchell's investigation who was right between them. Not lucky for that guy, though.

BLOCK: Okay. Tom, the Mitchell report, as you mentioned, came out in December. This has been out there for some time. What came out today at the hearing that was new?

GOLDMAN: Well, the stuff that you actually have just gone over, this news about Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens' longtime friend and training partner, trained with him, with Brian McNamee. And, you know, it actually, Clemens' lawyers afterwards said that it was new information to Roger Clemens as well that Pettitte had said in a sworn statement that he had had a conversation in either 1999 or 2000 with - that Pettitte and Clemens had - that Clemens had admitted using HGH. His lawyers were basically implying - Clemens' lawyers were basically implying, that's why Roger Clemens had kind of a hard time answering it, because it was new information to him as well.

BLOCK: You know, Tom, today some of the committee members really went after the credibility of the trainer, Brian McNamee. Could that help Roger Clemens here?

GOLDMAN: Yeah. You know, it could. And - but it's hard to say. You know, just listening to both these guys, I mean, Clemens gave no quarter. He never budged off his story. Whether you think it's compelling or not, Brian McNamee admitted many times that he lied, that he withheld information. Some people may see that as strangely being - making him look more credible, because he's a guy who at least admits lying. And now, he says he's telling the truth.

One interesting comment by Representative Mark Souder, who said that he had experience investigating illicit drug operations. He said, it's not uncommon for people involved with these illegal activities to tell little stories at first that become bigger. Little stories that, you know, maybe have some half-truths or they're withholding information and then they become bigger and bigger as investigators scratch and scratch more and more.

BLOCK: There were a few sort of sidebars to all of this. One, as we mentioned, that it come out that Roger Clemens' wife had used HGH. And then there's also a dispute at the hearing about the Clemens family's former nanny. How did that factor in here?

GOLDMAN: That was a weird one and really not that pivotal, but it became very emotional when both of Clemens' lawyers leaped up behind him and were arguing with Chairman Henry Waxman. It had to do with a party. In the Mitchell report, Brian McNamee talks about a party that baseball player Jose Canseco was having where allegedly Roger Clemens met with Canseco and they were - reportedly talking about drugs. And the Clemens side disputed that Clemens was even there. And the McNamee side was saying that Clemens was at that party, and that Clemens' nanny could verify that. So there was this attempt to get a hold of the nanny, and that created a definite hubbub but did kind of die down later.

BLOCK: Tom, in view of these two completely divergent stories - the trainer saying he injected Roger Clemens, Roger Clemens saying, no, he never did - somebody, I guess, is lying before Congress.

GOLDMAN: I'm not sure if we have a clearer idea, because both men and both lawyers at the end said, you know, it's up to the American people to decide here who's telling the truth. On a more practical note, it's up to Henry Waxman and Tom Davis, heads of this committee, to decide what they want to do. Do they want to refer this to the Justice Department and perhaps that would start proceedings to look into possible perjury.

BLOCK: Okay. Tom, thanks so much.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome.

BLOCK: NPR's Tom Goldman.

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