He won’t be close to Capitol Hill this morning when the statement he gave to the congressional committee last week delivers a fatal blow to Roger Clemens’ campaign for innocence, and for that, Andy Pettitte deserves the same treatment Mark McGwire received following his infamous appearance in front of the same committee nearly three years ago.
You remember that, of course. When McGwire showed up on the Hill but didn’t want to talk. Well Pettitte was willing to talk but he won’t be around this morning to answer questions and backup his affidavit because he doesn’t want to publicly testify against Clemens, his close friend, teammate and work out partner.
And that’s where he is missing the point, just as McGwire did in 2005. We should have learned a long time ago, especially from the Barry Bonds witch-hunt, that the steroid era was just that, an era. A time where some former players have said as many as one in every two Major Leaguers were using performance enhancing drugs. This isn’t just about Clemens or Bonds or McGwire or Pettitte.
This is about the entire time period, an age where teenagers were beginning to experiment with these drugs because they saw what it could do for the players they looked up to. We shouldn’t forget that during those hearings three years ago, congress asked parents of children who had committed suicide following their steroid abuse to speak. Forget the integrity of the game; this was supposed to be about an epidemic sweeping the nation.
By not showing this morning, Pettitte is missing the same chance McGwire missed then. He could come out today and deliver a statement far more meaningful than anything he told the committee last week. He could say that he realizes he made a mistake and he wants to do everything he can to make sure these drugs vanish from the sport. With cameras zooming in, he could tell young people around the world that they shouldn’t imitate his mistakes and that they can meet their goals without cutting corners.
Throughout his career, Pettitte has become great at deceiving runners, but his balk move today shouldn’t fool any of us. He is just as much of a fraud as all of the other users from this era, but unlike most, he had the chance to make an impact with his words on national television.
And he chose not to. Which makes him worse.