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The defamation case against Roger Clemens is still going on

Roger Clemens

Houston Astros special instructor Roger Clemens adjusts the sunglasses on the back of his cap during a spring training baseball workout Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, in Kissimmee, Fla. His appearance comes at the time of the apparent suicide of former country star Mindy McCready. In 2008, she claimed a longtime relationship with Clemens. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


Former trainer Brian McNamee sued Roger Clemens for defamation in December 2008. He did out of sheer defense. He had been pressured into cooperating with the Mitchell Report people and told them that Roger Clemens, and others, had taken PEDs he supplied. Rather than let it all die down, Clemens came out with both barrels blazing in a silly, self-defeating P.R. offensive in which, among many other things, Clemens sued McNamee for defamation. McNamee’s suit came next, and probably wouldn’t have been filed if Clemens hadn’t filed his.

That whole series of events put Clemens in front of Congress and eventually landed him in the role of criminal defendant. That’s all in the past now, but the lawsuit, somehow, still lingers on. The New York Times reports today that Clemens was recently deposed in the case. It has his whole transcript there. The upshot: Clemens still maintains that he never took PEDs.

This all seems like the stuff of ancient history. Frankly, given how McNamee has consistently (and quite convincingly) portrayed as destitute, Clemens made over $150 million playing baseball and the existence of this suit does no good for him at all, I’m shocked Clemens hasn’t thrown a small-for-him but life-changing-for-McNamee amount of money at McNamee and made it all go away. And not just because of the nuisance of it all. Even if a celebrity wins a defamation case, their reputation normally suffers as a result of its continued existence, be it as a plaintiff or a defendant.

But that’s just not how Clemens rolls. I’ve been writing about this case for nearly six years now, and not much has happened to change my opinion about him in all of this. Here’s what I said about it back then:

. . . he would be well-advised to cut his losses and quit now. He’s Roger Clemens though, so he’ll probably just rub some Icy Hot somewhere, bark at his lawyers and continue fighting on. We need people like that in this country — you never know when we may be invaded by the Martians or something — but it won’t be a good thing for him personally.

Still pretty much holds.