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Friday, August 20, 2010
Updated: August 21, 9:58 AM ET
Davis: Andy Pettitte was key

ESPNNewYork.com news services

Betrayal, name calling and denials highlighted the Roger Clemens saga on Friday.

First, former Rep. Tom Davis of Virgina said Andy Pettitte's sworn statement that Roger Clemens admitted using human growth hormone was a critical factor in a federal grand jury's decision to indict Clemens on charges he lied to Congress.

Next, Clemens said he and his former good friend Pettitte don't talk anymore.

Finally, Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin, called Davis, the top Republican on the House committee that held a 2008 hearing on performance-enhancing substances in baseball, a "son of a bitch."

Davis spelled out his argument by phone to ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor.

"If it was just Roger versus [Brian] McNamee, it's a different matchup," he said. McNamee is Clemens' former trainer who claims to have provided the pitching great with HGH and steroids -- claims Clemens has vehemently denied.

"We didn't call Andy Pettitte, we deposed him, and he supported McNamee and that was a problem for [Clemens]," Davis said. "Without Pettitte, neither McNamee nor Clemens was that articulate or credible."

Pettitte, who wouldn't discuss the matter before Friday's game against the Mariners, revealed he used HGH that was provided by McNamee to expedite his recovery from an injury. Pettitte said in his deposition that his former teammate, Clemens, also acknowledged using HGH.

When he appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February 2008, Clemens said Pettitte had "misremembered" their conversation.

"Andy Petttitte didn't want to testify against his friend," Davis said. "But when he raised his right hand, he told the truth. It would've been different without him. Roger was a great pitcher who's done a lot for the community, and McNamee's had other issues."

Clemens called WEEI Radio in Boston on Friday to express his support for the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon and was asked if he still communicates with Pettitte.

"We don't," he said.

Clemens did not offer details about his defense.

"It's not fun, but I'm not going to talk about what we have ahead of us," he said. "In time, we'll get to have our say."

He added: "All I'm going to say is that I learned a lot through what happened, and what did not happen. We're going to deal with it. I don't know what else to say. We're going to deal with it and have our day."

After his alleged use of HGH and steroids was documented in the Mitchell report, Clemens voluntarily testified under oath that he'd never used performance-enhancing drugs. He was indicted Thursday on three counts for making false statements, on two counts for perjury, and on one count for obstruction of justice.

Before Clemens testified, Davis was among those who met with the seven-time Cy Young Award winner and Hardin. Davis said he warned Clemens he shouldn't lie to Congress, and the response to that warning went like this: "We get it. We get it. OK."

"We're sitting around, and they were deciding whether to go through with the hearing or not," Davis said. "This wasn't a mandatory hearing. We weren't hanging [Clemens] out to dry. We were only giving him an opportunity to refute the Mitchell report and to tell his side of the story.

"We didn't wish this on Clemens, I guarantee you. But there are people who think they can bluff their way through, and it's hubris. ... These matters are taken very seriously. We impeached a president [Bill Clinton] for lying in a deposition. Nobody's above the law, including the president and All-Star pitchers."

Hardin accused Davis of skewing the facts by continuing to portray Clemens as pushing to appear before the committee hearing. Instead, he says Clemens would have been subpoenaed if he hadn't voluntarily appeared in Washington and the committee was preparing to ask the Department of Justice to investigate before he testified.

"Let me tell you what a hypocrite he is," Hardin told ESPN.com's Mike Fish, referring to Davis. "The week before the public hearings we give a deposition. So when they say Roger demanded a hearing -- he didn't demand a hearing. Everybody finished their depositions. Waxman [Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat and committee chairman] is getting a lot of pressure at that stage from the Democrats. We're going around to all their offices. Nobody wanted a hearing.

"On Friday afternoon [four days before the hearing], Waxman gets the affidavit from Andy [Pettitte] that has Andy more definite than he was in his deposition. And in return for that he tells Andy he doesn't have to testify.

"Then they announce to us at 3 o'clock that Friday, 'Roger can decline to testify if he wants to and we won't have the hearing. We'll just issue a majority [Democratic] report. And the minority, the minority [Republican] is saying to us staff, 'Here is what [Waxman] is going to do. What they're going to do is hammer [Clemens]. They're going to refer him to Justice.' So nobody would have heard Roger [if he didn't appear at the hearing].

"So Tom Davis, who I saw on TV last night, comes down to us, calls us aside and urges us to have Roger testify. And now that son of a bitch is on TV saying that Roger insisted upon it."

Clemens, meanwhile, isn't worried how this increasingly ugly situation will affect a legacy built on 354 wins, 4,672 strikeouts and seven Cy Young Awards.

"I didn't play the game to go to the Hall of Fame," he said. "We love the Hall of Fame ... [But] I played the game because it was an opportunity to take care of my family."

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor and ESPNBoston.com was used in this report.

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