Clemens fires back on '60 Minutes'
Insists steroid use 'never happened' in interview with Wallace
HOUSTON -- As expected, Roger Clemens denied all allegations of steroid and human growth hormone use during an interview with Mike Wallace, televised on "60 Minutes" Sunday evening. He took it one step further before the interview aired, filing a defamation lawsuit against his former trainer Brian McNamee.
Clemens filed the suit with claims that his longtime trainer was threatened with jail if he didn't connect the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids, the newspaper said.
During his 20-minute interview on "60 Minutes," Clemens addressed a number of topics. He hinted that he might be willing to take a lie-detector test to prove his innocence, he insisted he had no prior knowledge of Andy Pettitte's brief use of human growth hormone, and he came oh-so-close to committing to never pitch again. In true Rocket fashion, however, he left a little wiggle room on that one.
"You're retiring? Wallace asked. "Period?"
"Probably," Clemens responded.
"But not for sure," Wallace said.
"I would have to say, yes," Clemens said. "If I had to sit here and tell you right now, I would say yes, you'll never see me pitch again."
But, according to Wallace, Clemens told the interviewer he could unretire again.
Clemens' future plans on the field are the least of his worries. He's been accused by his former trainer, Brian McNamee, of using steroids and human growth hormone during the 1998, 2000 and 2001 seasons. He's been invited to testify before Congress on Jan. 16, and his interview with Wallace may lead to McNamee filing a defamation lawsuit.
And on top of that, Clemens is fighting for his reputation and a Hall of Fame legacy that has been sullied by the events that have taken place since former Sen. George Mitchell released his report examining the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
Clemens appeared angry several times during his interview with Wallace, especially when Wallace read excerpts pertaining to Clemens from the Mitchell Report.
After listening to Wallace read a paragraph that gave details of McNamee injecting Clemens with steroids during the 1998 season, Clemens didn't mince words.
"It never happened," Clemens said. "Never happened. If I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, where did I get them? Where's the person that gave them to me? Please come forward."
Clemens insisted his body never changed over the years and said had he ingested what McNamee claims he did, "I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead, I should be pulling tractors with my teeth."
Although some questioned if Wallace would be tough enough on Clemens, whom Wallace interviewed in 2001 and considers a friend, the 89-year-old broadcasting veteran asked the questions raised by nearly every fan and reporter nationwide in the last two weeks.
"When Andy confirmed McNamee had indeed told the truth about injecting him, that gave McNamee credibility," Wallace said. "Made his claims about injecting you seem more believable."
"I had no knowledge of what Andy was doing," Clemens said.
"Why would McNamee tell the truth about Andy Pettitte and lie about you?" Wallace asked.
"Andy's case is totally separate," Clemens said. "I was shocked to learn about Andy's situation. I had no idea about it."
Wallace also asked Clemens why he didn't speak to Mitchell's investigators when he was invited to do so, prior to the release of the report. Clemens said he was advised by his counsel to not cooperate, as was the case with most players.
Clemens quickly added, "If I would have known, what this man, Brian McNamee, said in this report, I would have been down there in a heartbeat to take care of it."
Wallace asked Clemens if he'd be willing to take a lie-detector test. Clemens didn't give a definitive yes or no, saying, "Some say they're good, some say they're not. Do whatever."
"So as far as you're concerned, you'd conceivably ..." Wallace began.
"Yeah, I don't know if they're good or bad," Clemens said.
Wallace asked Clemens if passing a lie-detector test would help prove he was telling the truth, and Clemens answered with a question of his own.
"Would it?" Clemens asked.
"I don't know," Wallace said.
"I don't know either," Clemens said.
Clemens admitted to taking injections of Lidocaine and the vitamin B-12, but denied all claims that he injected illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
"Never, ever a human growth hormone?" Wallace asked.
"Never," Clemens said.
"And never anabolic steroids?"
Toward the end of the interview, Clemens expressed doubt that he could effectively sway the opinions of people who appear to already have made up their minds that he's guilty of McNamee's charges.
"I think the people that know me believe me and understand what I'm about," Clemens said. "The people that are out there that have been saying the things they've been saying, I don't know if I'll ever swing their opinion. These accusations are not going to change me as a person. I'll do everything I can to prove them wrong, and I still don't know if that's good enough."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.