Yeah, that lawsuit is still around. It was filed in 2009, before Clemens found himself up on criminal charges but after the Mitchell Report came out and Clemens decided that the best defense was a good offense and went after his former trainer in a high-pitched P.R. campaign. And maybe the best defense is a good offense. It’s just that Clemens’ offense was pretty damn dumb and now he finds himself in a judge’s doghouse.
As the Daily News reports, Clemens and his legal team have been called on the carpet by the federal judge hearing McNamee’s defamation case. Clemens has stalled and delayed, apparently in an effort to avoid turning over hundreds of emails between him and his advisors in the days following the release of the Mitchell Report. It was then that the idea to come out with a coordinated P.R. campaign in which Clemens denied drug use, trashed McNamee as a liar and a criminal and portrayed himself as the best pitcher and biggest victim in baseball history.
The questions about McNamee’s character were fair game in the criminal case against Clemens — you have to go after the credibility of your accusers when your freedom is on the line — but my feeling back in 2008, as now, was that Clemens never should have launched the P.R. offensive to begin with. It was unnecessary — if he stayed silent it all would have gone away — it led to all sorts of damaging personal information coming out about Clemens and, ultimately, his going on the offensive is what led to him being called before Congress which led to his criminal prosecution. It also spawned this lawsuit, of course, which McNamee filed as a defensive measure when Clemens sued him first. Turns out Clemens’ suit was a dud. McNamee, though he never would’ve filed it if all things were equal, still has a viable case years later.
My guess is that there is some pretty bad stuff in those emails Clemens doesn’t want to let loose. Stuff that can’t hurt him criminally anymore like they could have a couple of years ago, but stuff that will show him to be a liar and a cheater. Which, yes, everyone thinks he is anyway. But it’s one thing to hold that as a personal opinion. Another thing altogether to have it laid out before you in black and white.