McGwire Got Good Advice

Max FidlerContributor IJanuary 11, 2010

WASHINGTON - MARCH 17:  Former St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire (L) talks with Rafael Palmeiro of the Baltimore Orioles during a House Committe session investigating Major League Baseball's effort to eradicate steroid use on Capital Hill March 17, 2005 in Washington, DC. McGwire and Palmeiro were named in the Mitchell Report that was released December 13, 2007 by a committee looking into use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball and headed by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Today, we received less than surprising news. Big Mac, Mark McGwire used steroids, for perhaps his entire career. 

However, his fate can be largely different than that of slugger Raphael Palmeiro and ace Roger Clemens; legally that is. 

It seems likely that all three of these big names will suffer the same fate in the minds and ballots of the Hall of Fame voters (the Baseball writers). Due to their alleged and admitted use of steroids these three game altering athletes will likely never see their plaques enshrined with the other baseball greats in the hall. 

However, there are also other ways in which these men's lives can be effected by their use of performance enhancers. 

Back in 2005 several players including those previously mentioned were called to testify before the United States Congress and they all gave testimony under oath. Each player responded to their questions in their own unique way and to varying levels of specificity. 

For example, Palmeiro declared that he did not do steroids...period! Well it turned out he lied, kind of. Shortly thereafter, Palmeiro was suspended for 10 games for failing a drug test. To which he changed his story and claimed that he never knowingly used steroids. However, if there was evidence to support that he did knowingly (a term which may mean different things in legalese and common speech) enhance his performance perhaps he will or would get prosecuted for perjury. 

Roger Clemens in his testimony made claims that were seen, more than likely, as lies. Which launched the investigations into his claims. The investigations launched also probably due to the fact that it had been suggested that there was in fact evidence of his alleged lies. 

In an article by lawyer Alan Dershowitz written in the beginning of 2008, he said that had he represented Clemens he would have advised that he kept his mouth shut and pleed the 5th.

Advice that Mark McGwire had taken during his grilling in front of the hearing.

In the days and even months after McGwire claimed that he was not commenting on the past and that he would rather focus on the future, he was incredibly ridiculed. People thought he should have admitted his use right then and there, or at least that he should have said something else.

Perhaps he should have admitted it, but thats not the real issue right now (or maybe it is, if he were to be looked at from an obstruction standpoint). It seems as if he did the right thing.

While those like Clemens and Palmeiro were not ready to admit their guilt and decided to lie instead, McGwire kept his mouth shut and doing so probably saved him his life or at least some dignity. In omitting to respond to questions about his prior use of PEDs he at the very least did not lie -especially now that he has admitted use. It seems to go without saying that he has avoided a messy perjury case. 

Mr. McGwire, well played and that was some good advice you were given. Perhaps your lawyer deserves a raise or perhaps deserves his (probably) hefty retainer.