Friday, August 20, 2010

No Hall should be no-brainer for Clemens

Roger Clemens might end up in prison for allegedly lying to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. But there's one place he absolutely shouldn't end up: the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Clemens was indicted by a grand jury for perjury for allegedly falsely denying he used PEDs. The indictment is interesting reading. It goes out of its way to point out that Clemens were under no legal obligation to testify in front of Congress, that he was not subpoenaed and that he could have invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination. But he showed up and firmly stated that he did not use steroids or human growth hormone. It speaks to his arrogance that Clemens thought he could lie to Congress and get away with it.

The criminal case is far more important, but the indictment also again raises the question of whether Clemens should be allowed into the Hall of Fame. Prior to the steroids allegation, Clemens was seen as a lock and I'm sure there are writers who will try to separate the good years from his bad behavior and still vote for him. Heck, even some of his former teammates such as current New York Yankees player Lance Berkman firmly believe he should still be elected to the Hall.

But now that Clemens has been indicted, I hope that a majority of writers will see it as a no-brainer that they should not cast votes in his favor. I've long believed that entrance to the Hall should be the punishment for PED users in baseball, mostly because of the permanent pall they have cast over the game, but also because there is no other suitable punishment.

It's ironic that if Clemens goes to jail, and I think he should, it will be for perjury, not for using steroids. I think he should still be kept out of the Hall as punishment for his drug use, especially since there's no other punishment available. He's definitely not giving back any of those seven Cy Young awards, even if they are now tainted.

The government is ready to try to punish Clemens for his misdeeds. It’s time for the baseball community to do the same and keep him out of the Hall of Fame.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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