NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Roger Clemens is cleared. He’s been acquitted of all charges of lying to Congress.
His reputation is damaged beyond repair. The Capital Hill inquiry that he’s accused of lying to raised more than enough questioned to make people wonder about whether he was ‘juiced’ or not. And the Roger Clemens that was revealed through his testimony shows someone who isn’t a very nice person – disliked enough that even close friends sifted through his locker room garbage for old syringes and bandages, to either blackmail him or to keep him from blackmailing them.
There’s a lost-in-the-story issue here. Is this something we want Congress investigating? Is the ‘cleanness’ of professional sports an issue that rises to the level of government inquiry?
I can imagine the arguments from Washington: whereas professional athletes are admired by millions of American children… whereas the American people consider baseball a sacred national pastime… where as many professional sports teams get public funding for their stadiums and get special anti-trust exemptions under the law… therefore be it resolved… hogwash. This became a matter for Congress because it tested well in a focus group. A pollster somewhere put a series of soccer-mom bread-and-butter issues into the field, and clean professional sports came back as a winner.
The Feds are also spending some time on Lance Armstrong and doping in professional cycling. This is a sport that's set the gold standard for testing, with olympic-quality labs and lifetime bans for cheaters. Yet the Justice Department is ready to pick up the slack? And it's a sport the American public couldn't care less about - where the most serious violations at the sport's biggest events would have taken place outside of the country.
Truth is Major League Baseball, even it if turned a blind eye before, has been aggressive in its drug enforcement and testing program. MLB, leaks and Ryan Braun aside, has still handled the drug issue far better than the federal prosecutors who handled the Clemens case. The sport has been policing itself. Yet our politicians always insert themselves when there are political points to be scored..
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