July 26, 2011
The ruling of a mistrial for the perjury case against Roger Clemens should have come as no surprise to anyone following the trial. People were upset that one of the men that cheated America’s favorite pastime had managed to get off unscathed despite direct evidence that he had cheated. Failed urine tests and testimony from his best friend in New York and Houston, Andy Petite and his wife all pointed to guilt in the trial. Yet, somehow, he escaped punishment. Unfortunately, he is not the first nor will he be the last wealthy person to escape punishment despite overwhelming proof of their culpability in a crime. And, of all the major sports, baseball has the longest history of cheating.
Since its inception in the 1800’s, baseball’s best players have been cheating. From hitters putting cork in bats to bolster their power, to pitchers carrying sandpaper in their gloves to scuff baseballs for more pitch control, baseball players have always looked for an extra advantage. Even today, hitters slam down cans of highly-caffeinated drinks to improve their reaction times to pitches. No one believed Barry Bonds when he said that he did not use any performance enhancing drugs. The evidence against him was clear to baseball’s vast fan base. His guilt showed in his sudden weight increase over the years (strangely, it was all muscle that added), his incredible growing head, and the fact that he was decidedly stronger and more prolific at hitting homeruns in his 40’s than he was in his 30’s. The difference between Bonds and Roger Clemens, who also was “miraculously” stronger and played better in his 40’s than in his 30’s, was that the only person that could prove that Bonds had cheated would not testify against him. The only person that could prove that Barry Bonds took performance enhancing drugs took jail time, rather than indicting Bonds, whereas Roger Clemens has two people that were close to him saying that he cheated.
This points to some of the major problems with the American justice system. How does a person that has two witnesses say that he committed a crime walk free? The judicial branch of the American government caters to individuals with money. It only serves those Americans that have exorbitant amounts of finances to use and defend themselves. They hire competent attorneys that know every law and loophole. Freedom is as simple as having enough available finance to hire the best defense team. Robert Blake allegedly solicited help with the murder of his wife according to two separate bodyguards, but was acquitted of the murder. O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife and her lover. William Kennedy Smith was acquitted of sexual assault. So was R.Kelly. It seems that money buys freedom in America, and Roger Clemens happens to be in the right tax bracket.
In addition to the fact that baseball players have always cheated, and the fact that the results in trial are invariably skewed towards the wealthy, people should not blame Roger Clemens for his mistrial because everyone missed what should have been obvious to even the most casual fan. If you are upset with the outcome of the Clemens trial, then you are at least partially at fault for the current state of baseball. Major League Baseball players used performance enhancing drugs because fans allowed them to use those drugs. No one questioned the players when 3 players approached a home run record that stood for 50 years and surpassed it in the same season. No one complained when hitters in their late thirties and forties began out-batting players that were in their prime. No one blinked when pitchers on the down side of their career started pitching with more velocity and control than they had seen in years. Players got bigger and stronger in one off season. Do not be angry with Roger Clemens for escaping jail time, because you looked the other way when he was cheating. Fans did not question hitters about PED’s because they wanted to see home runs. They did not question pitchers about them because strikeouts are exciting. Roger Clemens is not at fault for using performance enhancing drugs. The fans that allowed him to cheat while watching in awe are responsible for it.