Tuesday, April 29, 2008

McCready-Clemens Update

We can remove the "allegedly" from this thing:

Barricaded behind tightly drawn blinds at her Nashville home Monday, country singer Mindy McCready confirmed a long-term affair with embattled pitcher Roger Clemens."I cannot refute anything in the story," a tearful but resolute McCready told The Daily News, which broke the story at midnight Sunday.

The story goes on to note:
After the teenage McCready met Clemens at a Fort Myers bar called The Hired Hand, she returned with the Rocket to his hotel room, but there was no sex that night, sources told The News.

It wasn't until later, after McCready had moved to Nashville and became a country singing star, that the relationship turned intimate.

If that last part is true -- that they didn't have a sexual relationship until after McCready hit it big -- that makes this less creepy, but only a little bit. That's because (a) Clemens was no less married when the relationship turned intimate; (b) she was still only 18 when she moved to Nashville which, while legal, still doesn't represent the best judgment on Clemens' part; and (c) sexual or not, the implication from the Daily News stories -- which again, McCready does not refute -- is that the relationship was based on something other than chaste, paternal nurturing (why would Clemens take a 15 year-old girl to his hotel room after a night out at The Hired Hand?).

In other news, some people asked me about my comments yesterday that Hardin was doing a poor job of representing Clemens in light of this mess. Let me be clear: I do not think that the McCready stuff has technical legal relevance to this case (I largely agree with Munson's analysis on that score), and think that McNamee's lawyer is overplaying how important this stuff is on a strictly legal basis. If they try to introduce this stuff as evidence Hardin will argue -- as would I if I were in his shoes -- that it has nothing to do with the case and should be excluded. He'll probably win that argument too, unless McCready has anything to say about Clemens' drug use.

But lawyers are not hired simply to handle the technical legal aspects of a case. We are counselors on a broader level than that, charged with carrying out our clients' larger interests, whether they come up within the technical boundaries of litigation or not. This is important here because the supposed purpose of the defamation suit was to protect Clemens' public image, and it seems fairly clear that the McCready allegations wouldn't be out in the open right now if it were not for the lawsuit.

If you're a lawyer in Hardin's position, you have to make sure that your filing of a complaint on Clemens' behalf isn't going to make the problem your client is trying to solve -- reputational damage -- worse than if you had never filed in the first place. If Hardin knew that there was bad stuff floating around waiting to become public before he filed, he should have counseled his client against going through with the suit. If he didn't know, it means Clemens didn't tell him or he didn't ask.

If he did know, did counsel his client against filing and Roger insisted anyway, it's just the latest bit of information suggesting that Hardin had a client who would not listen to his legal advice, which is a situation no lawyer ever wants to be in.

13 comments:

Drew said...

On the other hand, adulterous behavior with a 15-year old won't get in the way of getting inducted into the Hall of Fame, so maybe Roger shouldn't really be all that worried about it.

Tom said...

The only explanation that I can think of that would indicate that Hardin is doing a good job (and Clemens is sane) would be that they decided together that Steroids was worse than whatever else was in his closet. From a baseball legacy standpoint, they're not wrong.

Baseball history is full of stories about girls on the side, but (thus far) nobody has recovered from credible steroids accusations.

For baseball legends, cheating on your wife is an anecdote, but steroids...now that's something to be concerned about.

Maybe Clemens was willing to take the risk of emptying the skeletons out of the closet to have a shot at convincing some people he didn't do steroids. Maybe his wife already knew about the affair.

In all reality, it appears that he's got a better shot at the HOF as a scumbag (pedophile?) philanderer than he does as a suspected steroid user. In 10-15 years, that might change, but nobody knows for sure.

Craig Calcaterra said...

That's actually a pretty creative thought, Tom, but I can't buy it for one simple reason: Clemens has based so much of his steroid defense on his claims of character and being a family man (he actually cited his family man bonafides before Congress).

If he was following the strategy you outlined -- again, not a bad one -- he would have been much better served going with the "I'm not perfect. I'm human. I've made many mistakes in my life BUT! -- and you can take this to the bank -- I've never cheated at baseball!

That seems to me to be the only way to play it yf you know the McCready stuff is going to come out. In fact, it may even be a SMART play, because if he had played it that way he could issue a statement this morning saying "I told you before that I wasn't perfect, and this is an example of my human frailty. Some may wonder why I'm even pressing forward given that it is this very lawsuit which fomented the revleations in the first place. My answer to you is this: I can withstand scorn for being a bad husband. I can withstand scorn for not always doing right by my family. I cannot, however, abide the baseless accusation that I cheated at the one thing I've ever been good at in my life, and that's throwing a baseball."

Hell, if he added in a tear at the end of that he'd have most of the country on his side and Russel Crowe would be studying up to play him in the movie of his life.

Travis M. Nelson said...

This makes either Clemens or his lawyer look particularly bad in light of their denials yesterday.

Also, I have a lot of trouble believing McCready's convenient admission that she had a relationship with him, but that it didn't become inappropriate until it was at least legal.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Travis -- I could be wrong but I don't think it was McCready who said that the sex only started when she was 18; it was one of the anonymous sources of the story. Of course it could very well be McCready herself who is the anonymous source (she is launching a show right now), but it may be some ass-covering by McNamee or someone who can't know for 100% certain that there was sex before she was 18.

Travis M. Nelson said...

You're right, Craig.

"...sources told the Daily News."

But I still have a hard time believing it.

Craig Calcaterra said...

I have a very hard time believing it as well.

Though your "painting toenails" alibi is very convincing. ;-)

Rob said...

The real flaw in the hypothetical defense that using steroids is worse for the Hall of Fame than adultery is that there's no rule of law that governs the HoF voters' opinion. The adultery accusation is bad on its own, but independent of any baseball-related qualifications for the HoF.

However, because the adultery contradicts Clemens's public statements on his upstanding family-man personality, it also cuts at his denials of steroid use.

If the HoF voters don't believe Clemens's adultery denials, they're probably not going to believe his steroid denials either. Had he admitted the adultery, or at least given himself some leeway, it would be irrelevant to both the defamation suit and the HoF votes. Now that he's backed himself into this corner, he's screwed on both fronts.

Of course, there's also the possibility that Clemens is insane and has convinced himself that the adultery never happened. Considering his other statements, this wouldn't be the most outlandish outcome of this whole production.

Kobe Bryant said...

Roger-
Call me. This stuff is no big deal.

Alan said...

My favorite player ever is Mike Piazza, and even since Clemens intentionally hit him in the head, I've been waiting for everyone to realize what a true douchebag he is. This is so sweet...

Anonymous said...

Craig,

Is Texas a community property state for Debbie Clemens?

Anyone who's been around ballplayers knows that most have 2 cell phones, 1 for the wife and another for the girlfriends in and out of town. My female friends who work in marketing for the team have the second phone number. That's where they call to go out and party. Like Rob Neyer said, "Clemens is showing himself to be a 17 year old trapped in a 45 year old body."

Craig Calcaterra said...

Yep. Texas IS a community property state.

Chipmaker said...

A 15 year old, dolled up on stage, probably looking a few years older; and an overgrown adolescent 28 year old who, due to the rewards heaped upon him for his physical gifts, has never had to grow up.

I can easily see a night in a hotel room involving (a) video game marathons or (b) getting drunk and passing out, as readily as (c) getting horizontal (without the drinking).