Kyle Farnsworth

Roger Clemens settles the Brian McNamee lawsuit

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The New York Post reports that Roger Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee have settled the defamation lawsuit brought against him by his former trainer, Brian McNamee. The terms have not been disclosed.

The roots of this go back over seven years, to the time just after the Mitchell Report was released. McNamee was one of George Mitchell’s primary sources, and he claimed that he had sold, given or had administered performance enhancing drugs to Clemens, among others. Clemens vehemently denied this after the report was released and engaged in a legal and public relations onslaught against his former trainer. Clemens filed a defamation suit of his own, but it was almost completely eviscerated by a federal court and what little was left of it was eventually dismissed. McNamee’s suit against Clemens, however, has had legs, and now it presumably involves Clemens paying McNamee a great deal of money to make it go away.

That it got this far is pretty amazing. Clemens was always a physically gifted pitcher, but so was Kyle Farnsworth and any number of guys who could throw amazing heat. Clemens’ success, like the success of any all-time great hurler, came from combining those gifts with a good strategic mind. Clemens always had a plan on the mound and new how he’d get the batter out. His post-Mitchell Report behavior, in contrast, was unexpected, bizarre and ultimately self-destructive.

If, as he claimed, he never took PEDs, he could’ve issued a simple denial and gone on with his life. Heck, he could’ve done that even if it was a lie and nothing would have happened to him. Alternatively, if he took PEDs, as most of us suspect he did, he could’ve admitted it. No matter which of those courses he took, the fallout — apart from as it related to his Hall of Fame case — would’ve ended for him in early 2008. He never would’ve been sued. He never would’ve been hauled before Congress and, eventually, subjected to a perjury prosecution. He never would’ve had the sordid details of his personal life printed in every newspaper and broadcast on every channel.  All of that was a function of his combative and litigious response to the release of the Mitchell Report.

But that’s what he did, either out of stubbornness, arrogance, miscalculation or some combination of all of those things. And that’s why, only now, over seven years later, the matter is finally being settled.