Roger Clemens was finally and formally accused of lying to Congress while under oath two years ago. He faces charges of perjury. Your reaction? Anger and derision that the judicial system is wasting its time.

After all, wasn’t Clemens’ appearance before a congressional committee hearing testimony on drug use in baseball simply a clash of Pinocchios between those asking questions and those answering? That’s not the point.

One of the great pitchers of our time is accused of lying to you and me. Forget your opinion of politicians and lawyers and the belief that America has more important issues to confront. That’s clutter.

By denying publicly that he used performance-enhancing drugs, Clemens was talking to us. Don’t turn your back on the indictment. Going after the truth is always a good fight. Just because public trust is one of those old-school values that’s in short supply these days doesn’t mean you give up searching for it.

The media magnifies, the lawyers, sports agents and marketing types are master spin doctors, and you feel abused by all of them. The current roll call of bad boys is disheartening.

Tiger Woods. Carl Edwards, whose idea of bumper-car justice at 190 mph didn’t take into account the health, if not the lives, of other drivers. Francisco Rodriguez, who instead of punching out opposing batters with strikeouts as the Mets’ closer, actually punched out his girlfriend’s father outside the team’s family room.

 

You wait for Lance Armstrong to be exposed for PED use or vindicated, but the process is torture to the legions of fans who support his triumph over cancer and his victories in the Tour de France.

You cringe at LeBron James’ narcissism and Brett Favre’s equivocations off the field. Not to mention the apparent backstabbing of Brad Childress, the Vikings’ coach.

By comparison, the images of Terrell Owens of the NFL and Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star, don’t seem quite so bad. At least they didn’t deceive. Owens many times played off his immense ego, and Rodman was simply his version of Shock Jock.

Clemens was tagged years ago with Texas Con Man by the late Boston Globe columnist, Will McDonough. Funny how it stuck, and long before anyone knew what PED meant.

Clemens earned millions of dollars. His success had the potential to influence millions. His legacy was assured. Now his fans feel betrayed and his critics feel satisfaction. I stood between or among enough of them at Fenway Park when he came back wearing a Yankees uniform.

Fame and fortune don’t have to corrupt. Tom Brady has it all. So has Peyton Manning. David Ortiz had it all, lost it when his name surfaced in connection with PEDs, and got some of it back after he talked about it, even if it wasn’t a full admission. He got even more back when he started hitting again this summer.

Albert Pujols has it all, including the glare of suspicion that his amazing success can’t be all natural. Thanks to Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez, everyone is guilty until proven innocent.

Thursday, after the New York Times story on the Clemens indictment hit, I turned to my colleague, Glenn Jordan. He has three children who are sports fans and still very young. Who does he hold up as examples for his kids? Mike Redmond and Matt Treanor, two former Portland Sea Dogs catchers who weren’t blessed with great physical gifts but great character. Both have major-league careers.

My anti-Clemens is Jon Lester. My man of the summer is umpire Jim Joyce, who confronted the biggest mistake of his life when he blew Armando Galarraga’s perfect game with the wrong call at first base. Joyce didn’t need a lawyer or an agent telling him how to spin his life forward. He did the right thing and we recognized that.

Hold Clemens accountable. This isn’t about Congress or Afghanistan or a return to recession.

Clemens owed us his best when he pitched. He owes us his honesty now.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

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