Yet over the past few weeks I’ve been saddened, and amazed, to see some baseball writers dismiss Roger’s trial vindication and insist he does not belong in the Hall of Fame. Apparently the constitutional presumption of innocence applies to everybody but Roger, even after he proved his innocence in a court of law, the one place where there are rules against unfounded speculation and guilt by association. The same place where the accuser has to come up with actual evidence. Yet how can we celebrate the best legal system in the world when a small group of sportswriters, self-proclaimed guardians of America’s pastime, ignores the evidence and dictates the outcome no matter the facts? Why not just turn the Hall of Fame vote over to North Korea and be done with it?
...No need to mince words – Roger should never have been on trial in the first place. He never wagged his finger at Congress and then tested positive. He never pretended not to speak English. He never admitted that he used performance enhancing drugs but claimed he didn’t know it at the time. He never said he “wasn’t here to talk about the past.” He never shattered records considered unbreakable until the steroid era. His body size never changed and he did not become a player he had never been before. Like Nolan Ryan and a select few before him, Roger was unique, that special talent who did things you’ve never seen before and may never see again. During the trial we presented witness after witness who explained why Roger was so dominant for so long: God-given talent, extraordinary work ethic, impeccable mechanics, and, later in his career, a devastating split-finger fastball as his velocity decreased. Drugs? Not according to these baseball men. Never.
There’s really no debate about the baseball facts, as even the prosecutors conceded during trial when they admitted this wasn’t a case about actual performance enhancement. The more important issue today is that a no vote on Roger Clemens is really an insult to our Constitution.
A man is accused of something he says he did not do. He trusts in the First Amendment and proclaims his innocence through the media. He trusts in our democracy and proclaims his innocence to our elected representatives in Congress. He trusts in our judicial system and proclaims his innocence to a diverse, highly educated jury of his fellow citizens. He is quickly and resoundingly acquitted of all charges. What more could Roger have done? He belongs in the Hall of Fame precisely because he honored our Constitution by fighting for his innocence – and winning.
Posted: December 21, 2012 at 02:57 PM | 22 comment(s)
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