What to do? The moonwalk, baby. Slowly distance yourself from that which has become unpleasant while never actually being seen to turn your back on the problem. The beauty of the moonwalk: everyone who counted on you thinks you're right there with them until at some point they happen to look up and realize you're gone.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the moonwalk in action:
Last week, attorney Richard Emery said, "Anything says that implies or states that Brian is a liar will cause him severe damage." But after watching Clemens waffle his way through 12 minutes with Mike Wallace last night, Emery said, "He definitely called Brian a liar in so many ways, it was tantamount to defamation. But the problem is, it was so unbelievable, it's going to be hard to prove that Brian was damaged."
Got that? McNamee's lawyer thinks Clemens was so unbelievable, that a jury may actually believe him, so they're not going to bother suing.
This is a short, right-after-the-fact article, but its implications are huge. McNamee and his lawyers are clearly backing down. If he's not willing to put it on the line to sue Clemens over the 60 Minutes interview, what will he possibly be able to provide a Congressional committee looking to slap Clemens with a perjury rap? Nothing, that's what. Clemens will now be able to say pretty much anything he wants to Congress later this month, secure in the knowledge that McNamee is in no way willing to forcefully contradict him.
The end game of this three week chess match is near, and Roger Clemens is poised to win handily. He has denied McNamee's charges, McNamee has now blinked when challenged, and unless Pettite or someone provides first-hand, eyewitness testimony calling Clemens a liar -- fat chance -- Congress will have no basis for questioning whatever story Clemens decides to tell them, true, false, or otherwise. The cement that constitutes the record of this whole affair is beginning to set, and given what will appear to be effectively unsubstantiated charges forcefully rebutted in numerous contexts, it is setting in favor of Clemens.
In other words, the little ju-jitsu strategy I described last week was a success, and somewhere there is a lawyer/sensei on retainer to Clemens who has earned every cent of the money he has charged.
Likewise, there are several commentators out there -- including every Hall of Fame voter who has denied McGwire because "if the charges were false he would deny and/or sue" -- who, sooner or later, are going to have to either vote him in to Cooperstown or else explain why they too have done the moonwalk away from their previous position.
Update: Clemens has now sued McNamee. Seems like a bridge too far to me, especially given that McNamee seems to be standing down. Only time will tell if this is the final nail in McNamee's coffin or, rather, a reenactment of the Wilde-Queensberry case.