Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Roger Clemens Was Not "Proven Innocent"

The U.S. Judicial System does not determine innocence. It determines guilt, or insufficient proof of guilt. That's why when people are acquitted, they're declared "not guilty" instead of "innocent." The court is essentially saying that it hasn't found you guilty, so you're free to go.

It does NOT declare people to be innocent, at least not until you get into the Appeals process.

Proving innocence is difficult because it's nearly impossible to prove a negative. Think how hard it would be to prove that you've never done something.

I've never eaten rhubarb. But proving that is difficult because it's a negative statement. I'd have to get witnesses from every meal I've ever consumed to say they've never seen me eat it, samples of my bowel movements to show it's never been in my system, and then I'd have to prove somehow that I never snacked on it by myself.

So when people say that Roger Clemens has been "proven innocent," then back that argument up by pointing out how high an authority the U.S. Judicial System is, I get a little pissed. Because it's the wrong word.

The court did not declare Clemens innocent. Being deemed "not guilty" is not proof of innocence. The prosecution failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There is a difference.

I think Clemens took PEDs. Jose Canseco says Clemens demonstrated an intricate knowledge of PEDs. Brian McNamee said he gave PEDs to Clemens. And Andy Pettitte testified that Clemens admitted to him that he took HGH.

Pettitte retracted his statements, but I don't think it's mere coincidence that he did so once the heat was off him. Andy Pettitte has repeatedly lied about his own HGH use, at first claiming only 2-4 doses and only during 2002, then later admitted to doing some in 2004.

When Pettitte was under pressure, he named Clemens. When the pressure eased off and Pettitte was no longer afraid of consequences, he recanted his Clemens story.

The story was Clemens told Pettitte about taking HGH. Clemens claimed that he told Pettitte about his wife taking HGH. But earlier in Clemens' testimony, Clemens claims his wife never took HGH. So, which is it?

Maybe Pettitte, under pressure to save his own skin, was compelled to name names, even if those people were innocent. But then why name one of his best friends?

In the end, it doesn't matter much. There is no absolute proof that Clemens' career was artificially extended by PEDs. That lack of proof was why he was acquitted.

But I know what my gut tells me. I see more than just smoke. I see scorched earth, burnt wood, an ashy haze, and a number of people saying "there was a fire here."

Clemens might get into the Hall of Fame. And I don't care. The Hall of Fame is already full of scumbags. Ty Cobb was a racist who probably killed a guy. Charles Comiskey was a cheap, money-grubbing bastard. Joe DiMaggio was a jerk. Babe Ruth was a glutton, an alcoholic, and a horrible father. What damage could be done by including Clemens?

I don't know why we get so emotional about who is in the baseball Hall of Fame and who isn't. Maybe it's because when we're kids, we learn about the great players. And the words "Hall of Famer" are the athletic equivalent of "Saint."

So put Clemens in the Hall. Give him a brass face on a plaque with some numbers and words on it. I know those final 4 Cy Youngs are meaningless. I know his final 150 wins were thanks to HGH. I know he's scum, he's a sociopath, he's not the best pitcher of his generation or any other generation. He's artificial.

But if you're going to put him in, don't say it's because he's been "proven innocent." I heard Peter Gammons say that on NESN yesterday and it's a complete misunderstanding of how our system works.

Roger Clemens hasn't been proven to be anything. So maybe voters should give him the benefit of the doubt and vote him in. As I said, I don't care.

And as much as these clowns repeat the wrong word, I for one know that he isn't innocent. I see no proof of innocence. Only a haze of guilt. You can't convict someone on a haze, but there is no way he's been "proven innocent."

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