Clemens denies doping under oath
'Devastated' Major League Baseball star says he has never used steroids or HGH.
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2008 15:55 GMT

Roger Clemens says he has never used steroids, HGH, or any type of performance-enhancing drugs [AFP]

Roger Clemens, Major League Baseball star, has denied accusations of steroids use at a congressional hearing, saying in an advance copy of his testimony that the allegations had devastated him and his family.
Clemens, seven-time winner of the Cy Young best pitcher award, and Brian McNamee, his former fitness trainer, were due to testify before a House of Representatives Oversight Committee hearing into doping in baseball which got underway in Washington early on Wednesday.
In an opening statement filed with the committee, Clemens repeated the denials of dope cheating he has made since McNamee named him in an investigation into doping in baseball by US Senator George Mitchell.

"I appreciate the opportunity to tell this committee and the public under oath what I have been saying all along - I've never used steroids, human growth hormone or any other type of illegal performance-enhancing drugs," Clemens said in the written statement.

"How in the world can I prove a negative? No matter what we discuss here, I'm never going to have my name restored."

Roger Clemens

"The suggestion I would use steroids or other illegal drugs is totally incompatible with who I am and what I stand for. Steroids are a dangerous shortcut. I've made no secret of my feelings on the subject and I practice what I preach."

McNamee claimed to have injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times between 1998 and 2001, but the pitcher has said the syringes contained only Vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine.

"I never asked him nor did he ever give me steroids or human growth hormone," Clemens said.

"I had no idea this man would exploit the trust I gave him to try to save his own skin by making up lies that have devastated me and my family."

Challenging statements

Clemens, 45, was a star pitcher for the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros in a 23-year career. He has a 354-184 career win/loss record with a 3.12 earned-run average and 4,672 strikeouts.

"None of these accomplishments came easily, and none of them came in a bottle of steroids or human growth hormone," Clemens said.

Mitchell's report followed a 20-month investigation into doping and named more than 80 major league players with doping links.

Clemens, speaking before some of Mitchell's former US lawmaker colleagues, emphasised that he was not challenging the findings, only McNamee's statements about Clemens.

"I know some people will still think I'm lying no matter what I say or do and I know because I've said that I didn't take steroids it will look like an attack on Senator Mitchell's report," Clemens said.

"I'm not saying Senator Mitchell's report is entirely wrong and I'm not trying to convince those who have already made up their minds based only on an allegation.

"How in the world can I prove a negative? No matter what we discuss here, I'm never going to have my name restored."

Should either Clemens or McNamee be found guilty of lying to lawmakers, they could face up to five years in prison for perjury.

"A lot of people want me to say that I have taken steroids and be done with it, but I cannot in good conscience admit to doing something that I did not do, even if it would be easier to do so," Clemens said.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.