Never mind that there was no criminal penalty attached to anything Mr. Clemens is accused of using-if there were, Jose Canseco, who has written two books bragging about his use of steroids, would be serving time. Never mind, too, that when Mr. Clemens is said by his accusers to have used such substances, they weren’t even banned from Major League Baseball: the Basic Agreement between the Players Association and owners forbidding the use of PEDs didn’t take effect until 2004.
And let’s disregard as irrelevant the judgment of baseball analysts such as David Ezra (author of “Asterisk: Home Runs, Steroids, and the Rush to Judgment”) and J.C. Bradbury (author of “The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed”), who have studied PEDs and Mr. Clemens’s performance and found no statistical evidence that, even if he took PEDs, he gained any advantage from them. [. . .]
All that matters to the government is that, in February 2008, Mr. Clemens may have lied to a House committee on a matter the committee had no business poking its nose into in the first place. If there was no criminal penalty for using the drugs and if MLB and the union have agreed now to police their own house, why do the feds even care?
That’s a good question, and one we all deserve an answer to before the government goes to the expense of putting Mr. Clemens on trial.
As I noted earlier, Clemens has not defended himself well. But the government’s handling of the investigation into his conduct is far more egregious. Here’s hoping that Clemens’ jury sees it the same way.