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The Acquittal of Roger Clemens in Perjury Case

The acquittal on perjury charges of pitcher Roger Clemens

While professional sports and criminal misconduct are not naturally associated, they almost became commonplace in the steroid era of Major League Baseball. Facing a heavy backlash by the public for the rampant cheating in America’s favourite pastime sport, many of baseball’s best players of all time, such as Mark Mcgwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds and a slew of others, were demanded to come clean about their use of performance-enhancing drugs. Prior to the steroid scrutiny, Roger Clemens – a first ballot shoo-in for the Baseball Hall of Fame and undoubtedly one of the best pitchers ever – had emerged as the archetypal poster child of the scandal and was largely lamented for being a major benefactor of performance-enhancing drugs.

Mr. Prutschi discusses the acquittal of Roger Clemens and revisits the prosecutor’s strategies and tactics in the case, and whether they were sound or not. He examines the star witness of the prosecutor who had his credibility undermined from the get-go by showing to have flip-flopped in the past. The other witness, Andy Pettitte’s testimony was negligible as he said that there was a fifty-percent chance he heard or did not hear Clemens admit to using banned substances. With the crux of the prosecution being so heavily reliant on witnesses who were deemed unreliable, was a wastefully expensive and dragged-out trial the best way to go about it?  Mr. Prutschi delves into this point and states that sports commissions and leagues need to be more self-regulatory and not rely on using the instrument of criminal law, which is not equipped or built to answer these questions.

Sports league should look internally and increase the frequency of mandatory tests and procedures to ensure that athletes do not cheat, and not outsource their responsibilities when athletes are found or believed to do so. Mr. Prutschi implies that Congress and media sensationalism had exacerbated a case that should have not moved into the legal realm. Major League Baseball could have investigated herself, and revealing her findings with the public and neutralize the media and public firestorm. Mr. Prutschi argues that this was a more common-sense and productive approach.

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