EVERETT, Mass. -- Former New York Yankees trainer Brian McNamee resurfaced to give a brief motivational speech to a small group of workout buffs on Thursday but refused to comment on the steroid scandal that landed him and his famous former client in front of Congress.
In his first public comments since testifying that he injected seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone, McNamee gave about 25 high school athletes, coaches and parents a warning about mistakes that can tarnish one's reputation.
"My lifetime of actions can be defined by one singular monumental mistake," he said in a 12-minute talk at a friend's supplement store. "I believe firmly that everyone deserves a second chance. Every second chance needs a first step. Today, I'm taking that first step."
McNamee canceled sit-down interviews with a local television station and Associated Press reporter, saying, "I've got to think about my kids."
He did not elaborate, walking away and leaving through the back door as the lights were turned off.
McNamee was a key source for the Mitchell report that laid bare the prevalence of steroids in baseball. Among those he admitted helping obtain steroids or HGH were Clemens and Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.
Pettitte has admitted using HGH, but Clemens has denied the allegations.
McNamee did not mention steroids, the Mitchell report or his congressional testimony. He referred only indirectly to Clemens and their bizarre, recorded telephone conversation, joking at the start that he should probably ask for tape recorders to be turned off "because I'm not too fond of that lately."
Although McNamee said he was trying to learn from his mistakes, he did not say what they were. But he began his talk by acknowledging that he had not made his name the way he intended.
"Everyone knows who I am," he said. "I wish it was for better reasons."
Benches and folding chairs were laid out between chest-high stacks of supplements offering fat burners, horny goat weed, progesterone and darker tans -- the better to show off one's muscles in competition. In a glass case by the counter was a home test for cocaine.
The walls were covered with pictures of bodybuilders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, and autographed photos of New England Patriots like Tedy Bruschi and the retired Doug Flutie. Former Boston Bruins goalie Gerry Cheevers was there in person.
On the ceiling were custom weightlifting belts bearing the brand of store owner Steve Cardillo, who said he first met McNamee when he was making belts for pro athletes and they've remained friends. McNamee decided to make his first public appearance as a favor and in an effort to raise money for a juvenile diabetes charity; a sign for "Brian's Buddies" was on the counter when McNamee spoke, but he did mention the cause in his talk.
Instead, he offered advice on how often and how long athletes in different sports should work out. He stressed the importance of school, and told the students in the store that they can learn from his mistakes, too.
"You have to be careful what you get yourself involved in," he said. "The best guide is to go with your gut feeling. If it doesn't feel right, you probably shouldn't be going."
McNamee gave tips on specific workouts and demonstrated the technique of a modified sit-up called "power abs" on Frankie Nuzzo, a 22-year-old linebacker at Brown University and former Everett High School player.
After speaking, McNamee signed certificates with the slogan, "A lifetime of achievements can be defined by a singular monumental mistake." The listeners eagerly lined up for his autograph.
"It's kind of sad that one mistake can make a perception change," Nuzzo said. "But you could tell he's a good guy, and he's ready to make amends."