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.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.