NEW YORK – Roger Clemens broke his silence Tuesday, again denying that former personal trainer Brian McNamee injected him with performance-enhancing drugs in his first public comments in more than a year.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was interviewed by phone on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning.” He said he chose to speak out Tuesday because it was the official release date of a book about his alleged drug use.
“He’s never injected me with HGH or steroids,” Clemens said of McNamee, who told baseball investigator George Mitchell he had injected Clemens with drugs.
“American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America’s Pastime,” by four New York Daily News reporters, recaps previous reports in the newspaper. It had been available to reviewers and had excerpts published before Tuesday.
Clemens said he had given a DNA sample to federal investigators but that syringes provided by McNamee would not link him to performance-enhancing drug use.
“It’s impossible because he’s never given me any,” Clemens said.
Clemens is under investigation by a federal grand jury in Washington that is trying to determine whether he lied when he told a congressional committee last year that he had not used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens said he had not been summoned to testify before the grand jury.
He also has sued McNamee for defamation.
Clemens’ radio appearance returns him to the spotlight as other stars had replaced him as the most visible reminders of baseball’s drug scandal. Alex Rodriguez admitted before the season that he had used steroids, and Manny Ramirez was suspended last week for violating MLB’s drug policy.
“Everywhere I’ve gone and gotten the opportunity to speak to young kids or college kids, I take a lot of pride in telling those boys to get after it and do things the right way and take care of your body, because I know how I did it; I know how hard I worked,” Clemens said. “For some of that to come in question, of course it’s hurtful. But it’s not going to break my spirit.”
Clemens said it would have been “suicidal” for him to use steroids because of a history of heart problems in his family. He also repeated his much-lampooned use of the word “misremembers” about friend and former teammate Andy Pettitte’s statement that Clemens told him he used HGH.
Clemens said he has spoken to Pettitte a few times, but not about the drug allegations.
Asked about polls showing the public doesn’t believe him, Clemens said, “All I can do is speak the truth and from my heart to them.”
“That’s all I can do,” he said. “I know what your polls say, (but) I’ve been getting great responses everywhere I’ve gone in the cities I’ve traveled to. All I can do is be me and give them the message I just told you about that steroids are bad for these kids. You don’t want to have anything to do with them the way they tear your body down.
“But I can’t defend a negative. When you’ve got somebody that’s out there that is really just crawling up your back to make a buck — which is what this is — other than speaking out, what else can you do?”