If Clemens is guilty, what should his punishment be?

August 23, 2010

7 months — 1 for each Cy

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

Prejudging anyone is always dangerous. Trial by media is not exactly trial by jury. But necessary qualifiers aside, it sure looks like Roger Clemens is guilty, unless entitlement and delusional behavior are defenses. Major League Baseball had no reason to persecute one of its iconic pitchers, yet it named him as a steroid cheat in the Mitchell report, chronicling a pattern of use that dated back to his revitalization in Toronto in 1998.

Clemens has tried to drown out the apparent truths with shouted denials but made a huge mistake to do that in front of a congressional committee that had not subpoenaed him to appear. This seems to be a worse offense than lying to investigators, which is what got Martha Stewart five months in federal prison. If he is guilty, let's call it seven months — one for every Cy Young Award.

progers@tribune.com

Too late to say sorry

Bill Shaikin

Los Angeles Times

The notion Clemens is being unfairly prosecuted is laughable. He practically prosecuted himself. He was not the only player to take exception to his inclusion in the Mitchell report. He was, however, the only player to mount a full-scale attack on the report, which had all but been commissioned by Congress. With legislators leaning on Bud Selig, the commissioner turned to a most favored alumnus of Congress, George Mitchell. When Clemens basically called Mitchell a liar, Congress invited Clemens to testify, under oath. Congress handed Clemens the rope, and he hung himself with it.

Perjury is difficult to prove. If he's convicted, though, he should go to prison. The time for 'fessing up and making amends by sponsoring a couple Little League clinics has long since passed.

wshaikin@tribune.com

Fine, community service

Dom Amore

Hartford Courant

We live under a system of innocent until proven guilty. It shouldn't need to be said, but because of the age in which we live, it must be. The court of public opinion has just about overtaken everything else.

Full disclosure: I do believe Clemens used PEDs. His denials are not credible.

He should be prosecuted because lying under oath is a crime, and tolerance of it undermines what's left of our system. And if he is telling the truth — if, as Clemens says, he never used steroids or HGH — he should welcome another day in court.

The penalty? It should be a hefty fine with lots of community service. He should talk to high schools all over the country to warn kids to stay off PEDs. Jail time would serve no purpose and, really, not fit the crime. His reputation is shattered. That's a pretty stiff sentence.

damore@tribune.com

15 months in prison

Bill Kline

The Morning Call

Roger Clemens is Exhibit No. 1,754 of arrogant athletes who think they can roughshod their way through their pampered lives.

It's one thing to lie to the media or public; it's quite another to "misremember" when testifying before Congress, which has the FBI as its enforcer. FBI agents will hunt you down and jack you up harder than a 1986 Clemens fastball to the chin.

There is little doubt that the Rocket pumped illegal fuel. (And the prosecution was as fair and true as a home run to dead center. Congressmen even had warned him about lying.)

For punishment, Clemens should get 15 months in prison, one year as a middle reliever for the Pirates and then face the firing squad — five blind-folded at-bats with a snarling Mike Piazza on the pitcher's mound.

wkline@tribune.com

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