Brian McNamee, the former strength trainer for Roger Clemens and a primary figure in Major League Baseball's doping scandal, was close to becoming a member of the Mets' coaching staff last season, according to the New York Post.
Mets manager Willie Randolph and former hitting coach Rick Down both supported hiring McNamee, whom they both knew from their time with the New York Yankees as a batting practice pitcher, the Post reported.
Mets general manager Omar Minaya turned down their recommendation after gauging McNamee's reputation within baseball and deciding that McNamee did not fit the role.
"I went to Willie and Willie went to Omar, and it was nixed," Down said Tuesday, according to the Post. "I think it was nixed because of the Tampa incident [in which McNamee was questioned by St. Petersburg police, but never charged, in connection with an alleged rape]. There really wasn't much further discussion on it. The Mets didn't want adverse publicity, and in retrospect they were right."
At the time the Mets were considering McNamee, the Mitchell report into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball had begun, but Mitchell's investigators had yet to contact McNamee. Nor had federal investigators undertaking their own steroid investigation.
Those probes would eventually corner McNamee as having provided steroids to Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch and lead to his appearance in front of a congressional committee in which he acknowledged he had not told the whole truth to federal investigators.