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Monday, December 31, 2007
Texas coaches group decides to keep Clemens as speaker

Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Roger Clemens remains welcome to speak at a convention of Texas high school baseball coaches who earlier reconsidered their invitation upon allegations of steroid use in the Mitchell report.

Unless there is some concrete evidence he is guilty or if the media circus would keep him from coming ... it would be unfair of us not to let him come.

-- Jim Long, president of the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association

The Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association said Monday that despite allegations against Clemens in the 409-page report, the group found no reason to not let the seven-time Cy Young Award winner speak at its annual meeting next month.

"He still wants to come," said Jim Long, president of the association. "He said he intends on speaking."

The group's decision was first reported by Houston television station KRIV.

Clemens' agent, Randy Hendricks, did not immediately return a telephone call Monday from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Clemens is among the biggest names to appear in the Mitchell Report, a study by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell on the illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Clemens was accused in the report of having used steroids by a strength and conditioning coach.

In a video posted Dec. 23 on the Web site of his foundation and on You Tube, Clemens denied using steroids.

He is set to answer questions about the steroids accusations in an interview on the television news magazine "60 Minutes" that is scheduled to air on Sunday.

Long said the group left its options open depending on what Clemens says in the interview.

"If something else comes up, there may be a possibility he wouldn't come," Long said. "But unless there is some concrete evidence he is guilty or if the media circus would keep him from coming ... it would be unfair of us not to let him come."

Clemens had been scheduled for the last eight months to talk about pitching and what he did on a daily basis that kept him in shape during his long career to members of the country's largest high school baseball coaches association. The convention is Jan. 10-12.

"We're delighted at what they've done, [giving] him the benefit of the doubt we asked the public and everybody else to do," his attorney, Rusty Hardin, told KRIV. He said he expected Clemens to be pleased with the association's decision.

In the Mitchell report, former Toronto and New York Yankees strength coach Brian McNamee said he injected Clemens with steroids in 1998 while with the Blue Jays, and in 2000 and 2001 while with the Yankees. McNamee also claimed he injected Clemens with Human Growth Hormone in 2000.

Andy Pettitte, Clemens' teammate with both the Yankees and Astros, was also cited in the Mitchell report. He has admitted to using human growth hormone on two occasions to recover from an elbow injury in 2002.