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Sunday, January 6, 2008
Updated: January 8, 2:57 PM ET
Clemens refutes former trainer's claims in national interview

ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Roger Clemens discussed taking a lie-detector test, was "shocked" close friend Andy Pettitte used human growth hormone and, in his first interview since the Mitchell report, said -- again -- that he probably will retire.

Sounding indignant and defiant in his first interview since his former personal trainer accused him of using steroids, Clemens seemed to set up a confrontation with Brian McNamee in front of Congress if the pair testify under oath at a Jan. 16 hearing.

Lawyers Respond

Brian McNamee's lawyer said he saw a "disinegenuous and desperate" Roger Clemens on "60 Minutes" Sunday night, despite the Rocket's fervent denials.

"I thought it was an impassioned denial," attorney Earl Ward said, "but it's not true."

Ward said he had not spoken to McNamee all day, not even to ask him about a Newsday report that said McNamee and Clemens had an "emotional" one-hour telephone conversation.

"It was news to me," he said. McNamee did not return a call to his mobile phone last night.

Ward said he was disappointed that Mike Wallace did not press Clemens further on how he could not have known that his close friend Andy Pettitte used human growth hormone or that McNamee had been dealing steroids and HGH while working for Clemens.

"I just didn't think it was a very hard-hitting interview," Ward said.

Ward also said that Clemens' two-step on the question of whether he would submit to a lie-detector test was damning to the seven-time Cy Young winner.

As for whether McNamee will pursue a slander or libel suit against Clemens, Ward said he, attorney Robert Emery and McNamee would wait until Clemens' expected appearance before Congress on Jan. 16, when he would testify under oath, to make their decision.

"If Congress calls him, he pretty much has to take the Fifth, and if he takes the Fifth, nobody will ever believe him again and all this effort has gone down the drain," Emery said. "And if he doesn't take the Fifth, it's very hard to imagine that a prosecutor isn't going to pursue this. So I think he's put himself in a terrible corner."

-- Information from ESPN.com's T.J. Quinn and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner, a fiery look in his eyes and stubble on his face, told CBS's Mike Wallace that he would have spoken with baseball drug investigator George Mitchell had he been aware McNamee accused him of using steroids and HGH.

Clemens, the most prominent player implicated in last month's Mitchell report, steadfastly maintained his innocence and called McNamee's allegations "totally false."

"If he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth," said Clemens, who wore a lavender button-down shirt during the interview, taped Dec. 28 at his home in Katy, Texas.

Said Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin: "Anyone not persuaded by that interview is not a well person."

Just minutes before the interview aired in Texas, Clemens filed a defamation lawsuit against McNamee in Harris County District Court. The lawsuit listed 15 alleged statements McNamee made to Mitchell. Clemens claimed McNamee's statements were "untrue and defamatory."

McNamee's attorney, Earl Ward, told ESPN's T.J. Quinn on Monday that his client is determined to file a counter lawsuit against Clemens. Ward said he spoke to McNamee on Monday morning and Clemens' statements in the "60 Minutes" interview are "a total lie."

No countersuit has been filed yet.

On Friday, when the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform invited Clemens and McNamee to testify, the pair spoke by telephone, an individual close to the situation said, speaking on condition of anonymity because public comments weren't authorized. The conversation first was reported Sunday by Newsday.

The individual would not say what was discussed.

One of the few revelations in the much-hyped interview came when Clemens was asked whether he could conceivably take a lie-detector test.

"Yeah," he answered. "I don't know if they're good or bad."

Clemens is scheduled to hold a news conference Monday in Houston, part of his campaign to clear his name. Next up is the congressional hearing. Pettitte, former Yankees teammate Chuck Knoblauch and former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who allegedly supplied McNamee with performance-enhancing drugs, also were asked to appear before the committee.

Lawyers for Clemens and McNamee have said their clients are willing to testify but Hardin wouldn't commit to the date.

Richard Emery, another of McNamee's lawyers, said he would welcome testimony from Clemens.

Clemens said his lawyer advised him not to speak with Mitchell, who spent 20 months on his investigation.

"If I would've known what this man, what Brian McNamee [had] said in this report, I would have been down there in a heartbeat to take care of it," Clemens said.

Only two active players, Jason Giambi and Frank Thomas, spoke with Mitchell, a Boston Red Sox director and a former Senate majority leader.

In excerpts of the CBS interview that were released Thursday, Clemens said McNamee injected him with vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine. In the full 14-minute broadcast, Clemens also said he was given an injection of toradol under the supervision of the New York Yankees.

I don't know if I can defend myself. I think people -- a lot of people have already made their decisions.

--Roger Clemens

McNamee told Mitchell he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH about 16-to-21 times during 1998, 2000 and 2001 -- before baseball players and owners agreed to ban performance-enhancing substances.

Clemens said the cost of litigation had made him wary of filing a lawsuit against McNamee.

"I don't know if I can defend myself," Clemens said. "I think people -- a lot of people have already made their decisions. And that's our country, isn't it? Guilty before innocence -- that's the way our country works now. And then everybody's talking about sue, sue, sue. Should I sue? Well, yeah, let me exhaust -- let me, let me just spend," he said, gesturing as if he were peeling off bills.

"Let me keep spending. But I'm going to explore what I can do, and then I want to see if it's going to be worth it, worth all the headache."

On Sunday night, Clemens did decide to file a defamation lawsuit against McNamee.

Eighth on the career list with 354 wins, the 45-year-old Clemens said he was angered McNamee's accusations have been accepted as truth by some.

"It's hogwash for people to even assume this," Clemens said. "Twenty-four, 25 years, Mike. You'd think I'd get an inch of respect. An inch."

Clemens said the descriptions McNamee gave Mitchell of injections "never happened." McNamee said Clemens asked him to inject him in the buttocks because Clemens did not like belly-button shots he presumably could inject himself.

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"If I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, where did I get 'em?" he said. "Where is the person out there [who] gave 'em to me? Please, please come forward."

McNamee said he obtained the drugs from Radomski or Clemens supplied them.

"Why didn't I keep doing it if it was so good for me? Why didn't I break down? Why didn't my tendons turn to dust?" Clemens said.

Shortly before Mitchell's findings were released Dec. 13, Clemens said McNamee e-mailed him asking where Clemens bought fishing equipment in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but never brought up the upcoming report.

McNamee told Mitchell he injected Pettitte with HGH in 2002. Pettitte issued a statement saying he took two HGH injections while rehabbing his elbow.

"I had no knowledge of what Andy was doing," Clemens said.

Asked why McNamee would tell the truth about Pettitte and lie about Clemens, Clemens said Pettitte's case was "totally separate."

"I was shocked to learn about Andy's situation," Clemens said. "Had no idea about it."

Clemens wouldn't say what penalty should be assessed on an individual found to have used performance-enhancing drugs.

"I think it's a self-inflicted penalty. They break down quick. It's a quick fix," he said. "They're in and out of the game."

Clemens also discussed his use of Vioxx, an arthritis medication withdrawn from the market in 2004 because a clinical trial revealed increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

"I was eating Vioxx like it was Skittles," Clemens said. "And now -- now these people who are supposedly regulating it, tell me it's bad for my heart."

Clemens has said he was retired after each of the past four seasons but came back each time, spending three seasons with his hometown Houston Astros and then returning to the Yankees last year. He said "you'll never see me pitch again," but hedged slightly and said "probably."

"The higher you get up on the flagpole, the more your butt shows. I understand all that," he said. "But I'm tired of answering to 'em. That's probably why I will not ever play again. I don't want to answer to it. I want to slide off and be just a citizen."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this story.