BOSTON -- Hall of Famer Jim Rice has been an outspoken critic of the use of performance-enhancing drugs, but he also played baseball with Roger Clemens and remains friends with him.
So Rice was conflicted upon hearing the news that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner had been indicted on charges of perjury, specifically lying to Congress.
“I didn’t talk to Roger about it, but if they got him, I mean, he’s going to face trial,’’ Rice said. “The only thing I can say about that is regardless of the outcome, I consider Roger a friend and he’s going to remain a friend. But if he lied, he’s in hot water.’’
Rice was asked why Clemens has remained so adamant about his innocence, when other players accused in similar circumstances have admitted their use of PEDS, including Clemens’ close friend, Andy Pettitte.
“The only thing I can say is, maybe in his mind and in all honesty he felt like he didn’t,’’ Rice said. “I don’t know if he did. If you’re talking about his DNA on a needle or something like that, you’ve got to go with the DNA. But it’s a tough thing for anyone to answer if he wasn’t there, if he didn’t see it.
“So far, whatever Jose [Canseco] has put out there has been true. He said he didn’t see Roger. Now, [Brian] McNamee [Clemens’ personal trainer] said he’s got proof that he did. Just wait [to see what] Congress comes up with, see what kind of lawyers he’s going to have.
“I think if all these lawyers get together and show Roger, ‘This man, he has proof,’ so instead of spending all this money, Roger says ‘OK, I got to work something out.’ I don’t think they’re going to sit there and take Roger’s money knowing he’s guilty and try to defend him.
“Hopefully, he’s not guilty, but even Roger’s smarter than that. It’s like trying to climb up a tree that’s got oil all over it, and you got your sneakers on. You won’t get up.’’
Rice was asked if he would be disappointed to learn Clemens had used PEDs.
“You got other guys,’’ Rice said. “You still got guys using it. Today. My unhappiness is with the clubs more than anything else. Clubs, trainers, doctors for certain clubs, for all the clubs, they know. Guys got tested every year, [people] looked the other way. Doctors, trainers. Doctors supposedly informed clubs, this guy is using something not on the table. Clubs should have said something.’’
Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, the only player on the current Red Sox roster to have played with Clemens in Boston, said he had no comment.