That was quite a front-page correction the L.A. Times ran on Thursday, below the fold under the headline 'Steroid affidavit unsealed.' The Times acknowledged that its own 2006 story implicating pitcher Roger Clemens in baseball's steroid scandal got it wrong. Way wrong. Clemens had not been named in the sealed affidavit, as Sports section staffer Lance Pugmire had reported based on sources who supposedly were familiar with the document. (In a conventional For the Record correction, the paper says "The Times regrets the error.") Clemens mis-naming by the Times was picked up in the Mitchell Report on steroids, fueling criticism that Clemens' Hall of Fame career was a sham.
Back in 2006, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco said that the Times story had "significant inaccuracies," but the affidavit was under seal and he couldn't provide details. In unsealing it this week, a federal judge in Phoenix said he felt "compelled to point out what appears to be an example of abusive reporting....At best, the article is an example of irresponsible reporting. At worst, the 'facts' reported were simply manufactured." Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement that "Roger Clemens did not take steroids, and anybody who says he did had better start looking for a hell of a good lawyer."
Now today, Clemens has released a short video (posted on YouTube) in which he again denies any use of steroids or human growth hormone, fingers the Times and says he'll go on "60 Minutes" after Christmas to clear his name.
Over the last 15 days, it's been extremely difficult, for my family, my children, my extended family....I'm holding up better than they are. I'm almost numb to some of these suggestions that I used steroids. It's amazing to me that I'm going to lengths that I'm going to have to defend myself....
I faced this last year when the L.A. Times reported that I used steroids. I said it was not true then. Now, the whole world knows it's not true now that that's come out.
It's surfaced again later now with this Mitchell report. Let me be clear: The answer is no, I did not use steroids, human growth hormone, and I've never done so.
At the Times' Readers' Representative blog, Managing Editor John Arthur says "As we do with every significant error in the paper, we are looking into how this mistake happened." The allegations against Clemens originate with trainer Brian McNamee, whose lawyer says he sticks by his accusations that he injected Clemens.