WASHINGTON -- Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte were asked Friday to testify before a congressional committee on Jan. 16,
along with their former trainer, Brian McNamee.
Also invited to appear before the House Oversight Committee were
former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, whose allegations
were a central part of last month's Mitchell report on doping in
baseball. Former All-Star second baseman Chuck Knoblauch also was
asked to speak to the panel.
"It could be a circus with players, true," the committee's
Republican staff director, David Marin, said in a telephone
The decision to seek testimony from Clemens and others was generated, at least in part, by denials from the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.
"Mr. Clemens has raised concerns about the accuracy of the Mitchell report," Phil Schiliro, the chief of staff to Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, told 1050 ESPN New York.
Said Marin: "We're not into 'gotcha.' This is a pretty thorough and comprehensive report from Senator Mitchell. Members of Congress think it's important to speak to the findings and recommendations. And if there are high-profile players who are taking shots at that report, then we need to hear from them, too."
Marin said it was too soon to talk about whether any of the witnesses would receive immunity for their testimony. At the March 2005 hearings -- during which Mark McGwire said he was not present to talk about the past -- the players were not given immunity.
Barry Bonds once again will be notably absent from the hearings. The Department of Justice requested the committee not call the Giants slugger in 2005 because he was under investigation for perjury. Two months ago, the all-time home run leader was charged with four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice related to grand jury testimony in which he said he had never knowingly taken steroids or performance-enhancing drugs. He has pleaded not guilty.
Marin said that the hearings are effectively designed to be a repeat of 2005, when the sport was under heavy scrutiny amid a stream of steroid revelations.
"[Virginia Republican Tom] Davis' position is this: This was a high-profile report. It cast a tremendous cloud over Major League Baseball," Marin said. "The fact that a player of the stature of Roger Clemens disputed a critical finding in that report concerns Davis. That's why he thinks Clemens deserves a chance to speak further before Congress and the American people. Only then can Congress determine how much credibility to give to the report."
Asked if the fact that Clemens and others would be required to testify under oath was critical to the process, Marin said, "That's a question goes without saying. Under oath is under oath."
On Jan. 15, the committee is to hear testimony from baseball
commissioner Bud Selig, union leader Donald Fehr and former Senate
Majority Leader George Mitchell.
"The original hearing was called to examine the Mitchell
recommendations and findings. The committee has decided to hold a
second day of hearings for the very same reason -- to invite people
with varying perspectives on the Mitchell report to shed further
light on it," Marin said.
A Major League Baseball source told ESPN's T.J. Quinn that commissioner Bud Selig's office was not aware that players would be called until a news release went out Friday, but Selig had received a letter a while ago asking for him to attend.
McNamee told Mitchell he had injected Clemens with steroids and
human growth hormone during the 1998, 2000 and 2001 seasons.
Clemens, in an interview to be broadcast by CBS's "60 Minutes" on
Sunday, said McNamee injected him with vitamins and painkillers but
not performance-enhancing drugs.
Pettitte admitted McNamee injected him with HGH twice while the
pitcher was recovering from an injury.
In Mitchell's report, McNamee says he also personally injected Knoblauch with performance-enhancing drugs. McNamee took enough pride in his role in their use that, according to the report, "Occasionally McNamee acknowledged good performances by Knoblauch or Clemens by 'dropping hints,' such as, 'He's on the program now.' "
Radomski pleaded guilty in April to federal felony charges of
distributing steroids and laundering money, and he is scheduled to
be sentenced Feb. 8.
Although none of the people asked to testify under oath Jan. 16
had agreed to appear as of late Friday afternoon, the committee's
announcement listed Clemens and others under the heading,
"Witnesses will include."
Said Marin: "We always presume that invited witnesses will
Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement: "We welcome Chairman Waxman and the Committee's interest in this very serious matter. Roger is willing to answer questions, including those posed to him while under oath. We hope to determine shortly if schedules and other commitments can accommodate the committee on that date."
Clemens is listed as a celebrity expected to play in the Bob Hope Chrysler Golf Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., the day of the hearing. The tournament is set from Jan. 16-20.
An e-mail to McNamee's attorney and a phone call to
Radomski's lawyer were not immediately returned.
During the March 2005 hearing that the panel convened, Sammy Sosa said he had never knowingly used illegal
performance-enhancing drugs. Rafael Palmeiro denied using drugs but
tested positive later that year for a steroid.
The leaders of the committee, Waxman
and Davis, were among several members of
the House and Senate who sponsored legislation in 2005, proposing
to mandate stronger steroid testing and penalties for baseball and
other U.S. professional sports leagues.
Another committee has scheduled a Jan. 23 hearing on the
ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn contributed to this report.