It’s too late for Pettitte, B-Rob and others…

December 16, 2007 | Drew Forrester

So, now Andy Pettitte wants us to know the whole story.

Too late.

I actually think there’s a decent chance Pettitte is telling the truth when he says he only used HGH back in 2002 to try and recover more quickly from an elbow injury.  I had an elbow injury in ’04 (not from pitching, of course) that eventually required surgery.  Steroids were part of the treatment I was initially offered but I declined, opting instead for the age-old theory of rest and physical therapy.  But I can certainly understand how a professional athlete would try just about anything to expedite his/her recovery time and return to formal competition.

But Pettitte and virtually every other guy "in the report" squandered their chance to get us to at least MAYBE believe their individual stories when they decided to heed the advice of Donald Fehr and not cooperate with the investigation headed by George Mitchell.

Had Pettitte come out last May and admitted to using HGH – and then offered his very plausible reasoning for using it (although not getting a prescription for it would certainly be questionable, at best) – that might have served him better.  All he had to say was this:  "It has been brought to my attention that I am under investigation for steroid use in 2002 and that I will likely be included in the upcoming Mitchell Report based on the evidence gathered by the investigators.  I had an elbow injury in 2002 that led me to make a decision to use HGH in an effort to recover more quickly and re-join my team as they fought for the post-season."  He then could have issued his weepy apology to his family, friends and fans…and I’m not so sure we would have believed it – but I can tell you it would have been easier to believe BEFORE the report was made public rather than AFTER it was released.

The same goes for Brian Roberts.  B-Rob would have been much better served to actually meet with Mitchell and refute the allegations that he used steroids rather than follow that asinine "code of silence" and have everyone in the country think he’s a juicer.  Sure, the evidence is flimsy on Roberts and there’s also a chance he DIDN’T use steroids, but he had a great opportunity to make a statement BEFORE the report was issued and he elected not to break rank.  Bad move. 

I can’t figure out for the life of me why these players would rather risk career-suicide than to step forward before the report went public to tell their side of the story.  Roberts KNEW he was going to be in the report.  He had to know it wasn’t going to look good.  He had to know, for the most part, he was going to be guilty by association, if not guilty by the evidence in the report.  I don’t know much about Brian Roberts, but I know this:  he hung out, and, lived with, two players who used steroids EXTENSIVELY.  I don’t know about you, but if I got together with a couple of buddies to share a bachelor pad and a couple of them started snorting coke every day in my presence, I’d probably take no more than three days to find a new place to live. 

All of the players named in the report – except for Ken Caminiti who’s dead and Jason Giambi (he spoke up) – had their opportunity to speak with Mitchell and they refused.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Clemens has wrecked his career with that move.  And don’t tell me about unions, breaking rank, "not being a rat" and all that other stuff that’s made for movies.  Heeding Donald Fehr’s advice has cost Roger Clemens an unblemished trail to Cooperstown.  Will he get in the Hall of Fame someday?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But, if he DOES get in, his journey will be marred by newspaper articles, TV segments and internet scoffing.  It didn’t have to be this way.  Clemens, like Pettitte, could have told everyone the truth when first presented with the opportunity.

It’s hard to feel sorry for any of them – even the guys with potentially reasonable explanations – because they squandered the opportunity to step forward and squelch their involvement before the stories actually came out. 

Some, like Brian Roberts, should have called their grandmother and asked her for advice instead of listening to Donald Fehr.  Grandma would have said, "Honesty is the best policy."   Instead, they listened to Fehr, who likely told the players, "Silence is golden."

Roberts and all the other players should have listened to Grandma.

As it stands now, baseball fans will probably never believe any of them.