This is a work of imaginative fiction. Courts determine guilt or innocence.
A gavel pounds out its steady cadence, the sound echoing through a packed courtroom nestled between two clouds and presided over by a dignified man resembling Morgan Freeman. A thin layer of swirling mist covers the floor.
Do all of you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you Me?
It depends on how you define those words and nebulous concepts. We kinda do.
If you don't, your torments will be eternal for bearing false witness.
Seriously. It's real. Look around. You know where you are. This is it.
We'll tell the truth. Can you lower the volume a bit, Big Man?
The court calls Roger Clemens.
Roger, why are you here?
Well, back in 1996, I was 33 years old and after 13 very good years with the Boston Red Sox, I found myself in the twilight of my career, having just endured two back-to-back subpar seasons. I (allegedly) started using HGH, extended my career another 11 years in Toronto, New York, and Houston, padded my career stats with another 162 wins, and put myself into the conversation as the greatest pitcher ever.
During the same era, most of the elite hitters in the league used HGH, steroids, or testosterone, and erased long-standing records. Hell, my wife took HGH injections in her stomach right before a 2003 Sports Illustrated cover shoot. My name came up in a report to Congress about steroids in baseball and I launched an aggressive public campaign of denial against my former trainer's accusations that made Congress invite me to testify before them. There, I denied everything.
Why would you do something so foolish?
Ever since I was a teenager, people have always catered to me; I'm a famous athlete living in a starfucking culture. I'm surrounded by yes-men, so I never receive natural checks to my behavior, and I suffer from what the ancient Greeks called hubris and what modern psychiatry calls narcissism. I thought I could win through sheer force of will. The same will that made me one of the greatest pitchers to ever stand on raised dirt. Do you think it's just about talent? It's imposition of will. If I can do it to a hitter, I can do it to anyone.
Americans are forgiving and have bad memories. Why not admit it and move on?
In my mind, I'm innocent.
Well, I'm guilty of (allegedly) doing what my watermelon-headed, 20 inch bicep wielding, 500 foot home run hitting peers did. And I did some law-breaking. But I'm cosmically innocent. This is about fighting for my legacy and halting the denigration of what I achieved. I had the balls to do what was necessary to play this game 'til age 44 and the guts to work my ass off. I'm not bowing to the rules of lesser men who wouldn't put their body on the line for greatness. I have 7 Cy Youngs. That lives forever. What have any of you done?
Piss on fair. That's the loser's lament. That's what I believe.
The court calls Brian McNamee.
Why are you here?
I'm the typical sycophant that people like Roger attract. Incapable of personal fulfillment in my own life, I'm a remora to the greatness in others; doing their bidding, indulging their tantrums, and helping them achieve their goals. I shot Roger up with steroids for a few years. Then when the accusations started flying around in baseball, and knowing Roger's selfishness, I thought it would be a good idea to cover myself by saving some syringes in a beer can. It's my stained dress. Maybe it would give me some leverage over him and you never know how that might pay off. Like all sycophants, when the love stops, I respond by trying to kill the light that first drew me.
The court calls Congress.
You spent time and money adjudicating steroids in baseball while the country was in a international war with global jihadists; engaged in two ground wars whose outcomes have geopolitical implications for the next century; and America faces global economic threats to its hegemony. Domestically, the country is in a massive fiscal crisis, still incurring massive debt on deficit spending, and the land seems to be devolving into petty fiefdom's of distrust and mutual apathy.
Yeah, that's about the size of it. Talking honestly is rarely rewarded at the voting booth. We were all attracted to politics because it's the best way to achieve power without merit. We're mostly lawyers, many of us are mediocrities, and those of us who are really smart or capable are inordinately burdened with major personality defects and shocking arrogance - much like Mr Clemens. There are some good people among us, but people generally get the leaders they deserve.
Do you honestly believe that Americans want you dealing WITH BASEBALL? It's bread and circus.
So is politics. We get on camera. We act outraged. We wag our fingers, make clucking sounds, say things like, "if you think you can lie to the American people, then you have another thing coming." Real Aaron Sorkin stuff. Sometimes I get aides to hand me papers while I'm walking. Then I rip off my glasses and say,"This is serious."
It's my Verizon bill.
Why not concentrate on real problems?
Real problems are hard. People disagree about them and it might force us to discuss actual ideas instead of doing politics. Very few good ideas rhyme. Expressing ideas bravely makes people yell at us. Also, we'd have to learn things like how much government takes in and how much we spend, and that's math.
The court calls Sports Media.
What do you have to say for yourself?
We don't know. We feel so betrayed. By our athletes. By our Congress. We are innocents. We speak for the people! We are their voice! The valued fourth estate. We should be asking the questions. Where are you, Joe DiMaggio?
Do I need to remind you of your oath?
Why are you here?
Because we profit from 'roided out athletic freaks. They grow children's games into economic juggernauts that pad our salaries and bolster our importance. Until we eventually turn on them, feigning betrayal. We want athletes to be important because it makes us important since we write about them, and when they get just important enough, we cut them down by pointing out how unimportant they are and how shallow our society is. We are made important for pointing out their unimportance by using their importance. Unless we do the role model thing, and then we emphasize their importance. The point is, we think everything is important, and mostly that we're very important, - even though we know at some level that it's not important - but sports being important is important to our personal importance. So we have to work through some stuff.
You have issues.
Most journalists are writers without much talent or imagination. And of the journalists, sports media are the least respected. We write about groin pulls. We're aware of this and it bothers us.
There's more, isn't there.
Yeah. Most of us are not physically imposing or particularly athletic and we get to act out some of our nerd rage from high school by simultaneously worshipping and resenting the dumb, popular kids who bully us, but that our livelihoods depend on. When that dumb, popular kid is as big an asshole as Clemens is, it's game on.
I'm proud of all of you. This was refreshing. I find that you are all totally unsympathetic. You can all go home. I've got a meeting with my agent.
Wait. What? Agent? You're not God?
No, I'm Morgan Freeman. You're on a set. I just wanted to get the bottom of this.
McNamee - bring my car around front. Chop chop. And stop collecting my toenail trimmings.