Roger Clemens sues McNamee for defamation

January 7, 2008 9:13:46 PM PST
Roger Clemens' former trainer said he was willing to go to jail and repeatedly asked the pitcher "what do you want me to do?" during a 17-minute telephone conversation last week.

A recording of last Friday's conversation between Clemens and Brian McNamee was played Monday at the start of Clemens' news conference. Clemens' lawyers said that because McNamee didn't deny Clemens' claims that he never used steroids, it amounted to proof that Clemens was telling the truth.

"I'll go to jail, I'll do whatever you want," McNamee said during the conversation.

"I need somebody to tell the truth," Clemens said.

During the tape, McNamee never said he lied when he told baseball investigator George Mitchell last year that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

"I'm in your corner," McNamee said. "I'd also like not to go to jail, too."

Late Sunday, Clemens filed a defamation suit against McNamee in Texas state court.

Clemens was mostly expressionless while the tape played, even when McNamee said, "You treated me like family."

Clemens said McNamee initiated the conversation, which was laced with emotion and profanity. McNamee, a former strength coach for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, sounded as if he were a desperate man.

"I'm firing my lawyers. I'm getting rid of everybody," McNamee said. "My wife is gone. My kids are gone."

After the tape was played, Hardin said Clemens was willing to testify Jan. 16 to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Clemens and McNamee were invited to Washington along with Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch and Kirk Radomski, the former Mets' clubhouse attendant alleged to have provided McNamee with performance-enhancing drugs.

"I'm going to Congress and I'm going to tell the truth," Clemens said.

On Sunday, CBS's "60 Minutes" aired a Dec. 28 interview with Clemens, the first time he answered questions since the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball was released Dec. 13. Monday was the first time Clemens answered questions from a group of reporters.

His anger at reporters for the way he has been portrayed was clear when he mentioned the Hall of Fame. There has speculation that the allegations in the Mitchell Report would hurt his chances for induction.

"Do you think I played my career because I care about the Hall of Fame? ... If you have a vote ... you keep your vote," he said and walked off shortly afterward.


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