Roger Clemens in Monument Park readying for a start. (Image: Corey Sipken, New York Daily News)

Roger Clemens' not guilty verdict evokes differing opinions

At the suggestion of staff writer and podcast host Ricky Keeler, the Yanks Go Yard staff will provide you with our reactions to Roger Clemens‘ not guilty verdict rendered yesterday.

Roger Clemens is laughing now, but he may not be when the Baseball Writers of America cast their votes next year. (Image" Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

There were plenty of differing opinions which is not all that surprising. This has been a polarizing subject since Clemens was first named in the 2007 Mitchell Report. He was given the benefit of the doubt by many and then slowly evidence turned into credible accounts from people close to him who began to tell their sides of the story. Clemens soon took on the role of just another star whose legacy could be damaged by the Steroid Era in Major League Baseball. Here is what our writers had to say.

Andrew Corselli

When I first heard that Roger Clemens was found not guilty on each of the six counts of perjury against him, my initial reaction was joy — akin to Suzyn Waldman on that fateful May day in 2007 (I bet I’m the first person to make that joke). Say what you want about his character (he has none), him using steroids (he did) and the charges against him (he’s guilty), but I will always love Rocket. This is a guy who rubbed Icy Hot on his nether regions prior to every start. I hate to use this term — because comparing a sport to war is beyond stupid — but Roger Clemens is/was a warrior. This isn’t even taking into consideration his cameo in Kingpin. This trial was a waste of the taxpayers’ money, and I’m glad it’s finally over.

C.J. Hangen

I think it is a disgrace for the government to waste so much time and resources to let Clemens walk. They already messed up with Bonds and now Clemens. It was a big issue when the trial/investigation began but people just want to move forward at this point. The focus should be on how to better test for HGH and PEDs rather than trying to bury some old dinosaurs; especially if you cannot even convict them!

Matt Hunter

I have no opinion on whether Roger Clemens actually took steroids. It’s not that I don’t care – it’s just that I don’t have enough information or knowledge of the specifics of the case to make a determination one way or another. However, I do have an opinion on the trial as a whole: it shouldn’t have happened – or at least, it should [not] have been drawn out as much as it was. I understand that professional athletes are always in the public eye, but is it really worth spending tons of money and time to prove that one person tried to gain an unfair advantage in a game that, in the larger scheme of things, means very little? I don’t think so.

Ricky Keeler

When I first heard Clemens was not guilty, it didn’t register to me because with a lack of a credible witness[es], it was going to be tough to convict him anyway without a reasonable doubt. What does that mean now? I am a supporter of Barry Bonds, so I think both Clemens and Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame, but not on the first ballot. If I am the Hall of Fame, I would put the steroid users in and use it as a teaching tool. Put a plaque in one area talking about the steroid era because it is part of baseball history, but it is tough to take these names out of the record book because of the achievements they had even before performance-enhancing drugs. Big victory [yesterday] for the Rocket’s Hall-Of-Fame chances!

Jimmy Kraft

The trial seemed like the last mess to clean up in the Steroid Era. While baseball is still reeling from those years, it’s nice seeing Clemens – one of the all-time great pitchers – not be criminally connected to illegal substances. However, I think he’ll have more trouble with the Court of Public Opinion, which takes a much longer time to be acquitted of all charges. All in all, I think he’ll forever be lumped into that group of “suspicious, but not enough evidence to convict” players for the rest of his life, fair or not.

Benjamin Orr

I’m a little surprised by the acquittal honestly, but then again, who is to say Clemens actually never did juice up? Jose Canseco seems to say otherwise and there have been a lot of negative statements against him. Regardless whether or [not] Clemens did steroids almost becomes irrelevant to the fact that his status with the federal government and supposedly lying under oath (which became the bigger issue) was going nowhere soon until now. Best of luck to Roger I suppose, but it’s just a little too odd that he was able to be found not guilty of all charges, especially when there seemed to be an insurmountable amount of evidence against him.

Anthony Rushing

What the verdict does for Roger Clemens is provide some sort of closure for him and his family. What the verdict doesn’t do is take away the black eye suffered to his reputation and his professional career. While the verdict does acquit Clemens of all counts of perjury, it does not do much to erase the doubt he did cheat. His pursuit of justice came off at times as arrogance from a professional athlete who’s pride had clearly clouded his better judgment. The best thing Clemens could do after all of this might be to just keep as low a profile as possible for awhile.

My thoughts

Clemens’ escaping from jail time and/or fines does nothing to quell the discussion of whether he actually took performance enhancing drugs. This court case was merely meant to decide whether he made false statements, perjured himself and obstructed justice during his meetings with Congress. If he had been convicted, the guilty verdict would have indirectly affirmed the use of the drugs, but there would still be doubters. The story will continue as Clemens faces a defamation case brought by Brian McNamee, the main witness for the prosecution.

Furthermore, the debate of his worthiness as an entrant into the Baseball Hall of Fame has been refueled and will burn for the next several months until the Baseball Writers of America decide his fate along with those of Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Clemens is just another name in an unfortunately long list of players we watched in awe, only to find out they were cheating the game. They cheated themselves too. Clemens and Bonds were spectacular before their link to drugs and well on their way to Hall of Fame careers. If being enshrined into the Hall was the ultimate goal, then their ties to performance enhancing drugs quite possibly ruined it.

What do you think? Does this verdict do anything to change your opinion of Clemens? Does he have a shot of making the Hall of Fame? Please let us know in the comments.

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Tags: Barry Bonds Brian McNamee Congress Jose Canseco MLB New York Yankees Rocket Roger Clemens Sammy Sosa Steroid Era Yankees

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