28 April 2008

Clemens Story Gets Weirder: Linked to Washed-Up Country Singer

You'd think it would be a welcome distraction for Roger Clemens to wake up in the moringin and see his name in the paper for something other than allegations of performance enhancing drugs.

You'd be wrong.

The New York Daily News this morning broke the story that Roger Clemens is being accused of having had an affair with country music singer Mindy McCready. Other sources have variously referred to McCready as a country music "star", but it seems to me that someone who hasn't had a hit record (either a single or an album) in a decade does not qualify as a star. By that metric, Hanson and Chumbawumba are also "stars".

Clemens, of course, was exactly that, though his sterling reputation has been tarnished somewhat in recent months because of all theis steroid talk. Apparently that's what has led to the revelations about this affair: in an effort to discredit Clemens' testimony, lawyers for his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, have dug up the dirt about McCready, which was previosuly unknown. McNamee's lawyer, Richard Emery, makes no apologies for the mud-slinging:

"If it's proved that he's a philanderer, his reputation is already damaged. When
you sue for defamation, you put your whole reputation in the community at issue.
Anything is fair game, including his claim of sanctimonious purity. [...] He's a 'family man' - he implies that. It's about what his damages are. All is
fair game." [AP]

This is a little bit disingenuous on Emery's part. He knows damn well that he doesn't need to prove that Clemens is a philanderer, any more than Johnny Cochrane needed to prove that Mark Fuhrman was a racist. All you really need is doubt in the minds of the decision makers, whether they're a jury, a judge or a congressional committee, and - voila! - you've got yourself an acquittal. Or whatever it was you're seeking.

The fact that McCready was allegedly only 15 alleged years old when the alleged affair allegedly started (I think I've got myself legally covered there...) is just icing on the alleged cake for McNamee and his lawyer. Allegedly. No, they can't prove anything. They may have some evidence, a witness or something, but they sure aren't going to have video tape of Clemens having sex with a 15 year old aspiring country singer. And that's what they would need for "proof".

Nevertheless, this allegation should prove to be a master stroke for McNamee. His defense in the defamation lawsuit filed against him by Clemens was pretty weak, for even though there were others who suggested that Clemens might have been using PEDs, these were often seedy characters themselves, like Jose Canseco, so their word didn't count for much in comparison to a guy with the kind of reputation Clemens had. But the possibility that Clemens befriended the McCready family (as they admit he did) and then started boinking their 15-year old daughter is going to make a lot of people wonder how credible, and how moral, this guy really is.

Canseco, ironically, in his book Juiced, suggested that while Clemens may have been juicing himself, he took his wedding vows pretty seriously, and as far as Canseco knew, didn't cheat on his wife while he was on the road, as many players apparently do. Of course, if I were Clemens, I wouldn't tell someone like Jose Canseco about that even if I were doing it, so that may not be the best evidence in Clemens favor. But it's something, anyway.

Obviously, everyone in the Clemens and McCready camps is denying any wrongdoing. They admit that the two know each other, even that McCready traveled on the team plane with Roger during road trips, but her mother indicates that they wer eonly platonic friends, as far as she knows. Why she would let her 15-year old daughter hang out with a man almost twice her age is beyond my obviously limited comprehension.

Her producer, of course, knows that there's no such thing as bad publicity, so he's only too happy to defend his client's honor. And while he's at it, did he mention that she's got a new documentary and an album and a reality show comeing out? Reminds me of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: "Yeah, I'd just like to mention that I'm no longer mainlining LSD...and that my show airs Thursday nights at 8PM, after your local news!"

It should be interesting to see how this pans out. Don't get your hopes up about Clemens doing the perp-walk on child-endangerment or statuatory rape charges. You need more than accusations for something like that, and they're just not likely to get it. If there ever was any such evidence, it was probably destroyed within minutes of when the story broke this morning.

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