Monday, April 28, 2008

Monster

The Daily News is reporting -- in major detail -- that Roger Clemens had a long term affair with country singer Mindy McCready that began when she was [gulp] 15 years old:
Roger Clemens carried on a decade-long affair with country star Mindy McCready, a romance that began when McCready was a 15-year-old aspiring singer performing in a karaoke bar and Clemens was a 28-year-old Red Sox ace and married father of two, several sources have told the Daily News . . .

. . . Contacted by the Daily News Sunday through his lawyer Rusty Hardin, Clemens confirmed a long-term relationship but denied that it was of a sexual nature. "He flatly denies having had any kind of an inappropriate relationship with her," Hardin said. "He's considered her a close family friend. ... He has never had a sexual relationship with her."
There are a thousand different things that could be said about this. Pure snark is one possibility, and I expect to see a lot of that as the blogosphere wakes up. Another tack, which the Daily News focuses on, is to wonder how this could impact Clemens' lawsuit against McNamee. That's a legitimate question, and as far as that goes I'll say (a) the revelation of information which is harmful to one's reputation is pretty disastrous for someone suing over the sullying of their allegedly good name; and (b) any lawyer that was aware of this kind of thing would basically be committing malpractice by filing a defamation of character lawsuit. This means that either Clemens lied to Hardin when asked whether there was any bad stuff he had to worry about, or that Hardin neglected to ask. Based on what we've seen I'm guessing it's a combination of less-than-probing-questioning and a less-than-truthful answer.

But neither snark nor armchair litigating is of much interest to me at the moment. Why? Because for those of you who don't know, Mindy McCready is a set of profoundly damaged goods. She's a former (?) drug addict who has made multiple suicide attempts. She has been in and out of prison. She has been the victim of serious domestic abuse and is on record admitting to major self-esteem issues. She is now raising a kid -- the son of her primary domestic abuser -- with her career in shambles.

Know what? You're still growing up when you're 15. You're still a kid, and that's probably doubly true for girls who are out on stages performing rather than experiencing more traditional modes of socialization and development. Take a 15 year-old girl in that position and add in a famous 28 year-old fireballing philanderer who gets to town a couple of times a year, and you have a key ingredient in an already-simmering recipe for disaster.

I appreciate that this story is coming from a tabloid and that much more in the way of confirmation needs to happen before we can take the "allegedly" off of it. But, if the story is true, Roger Clemens is not just the jerk we have long considered him to be; he's an evil and loathsome monster who contributed to the destruction of a young girl in a major way.

UPDATE: We can remove the "allegedly." Further ShysterBall analysis on this can be found here.

13 comments:

Peter said...

Considering that the accused has already shown the willingness to file a defamation lawsuit, wouldn't it be pretty reckless of the Daily News to publish this sort of thing without a pretty good source?

Craig Calcaterra said...

That's my feeling, Peter. It's one thing for a paper to puff and embellish (that, more than bald innacuracies are the stock and trade of tabloids), but it's another thing to simply fire a missle like this if it were not substantiated. The Daily News has lawyers, and while some caution is always in order when you have thermonuclear allegations like this, I can't imagine that there isn't substance to this thing.

Looking forward to the various parties' statements on all of this.

Jay said...

The accuser is trying to launch a career comeback in the way of a reality show and a documentary. This is a kind of PR perfect storm that stands to benefit her significantly. Unlike the question of whether or not Clemens took steroids/HGH, I'll still have some doubts about this, although it would line right up with what we've seen from the Rocket thus far in the proceedings.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Jay -- I'm not certain based on the article that McCready is actually an "accuser" here. The Daily News cites "several sources" and many of the anecdotes included are those from observers, not the participant.

We'll see, but I'm not convinced that someone with McCready's history would choose false allegations about an affair with controversy-cloaked baseball player as a means of assisting a comeback. Image matters in country music far more than in the "there's no such thing as bad publicity" world of pop music or movies stars.

But like I said, we'll see.

64cardinals said...

Seems strange that they could carry out a 10-year affair in the open and no one ever knew about it until now. Seems very convenient for McCready and McNamara.

I think Clemens is a jerk, and he might very well have done this.

But I also remember reading something in the Constitution about "innocent until proven guilty". That is, unless someone can write a story on something, accuse the person, try them, and convict them, all without benefit of due process.

And what was the purpose of publishing this story and who was behind it? Seems like those are relevant questions.

Hey, whatever sells ad time, huh?

For the record, I don't condone what happened (if it did), but somehow, somewhere, someday, the media has to be held accountable for their actions.

64cardinals said...

Also, don't people have the right to face thier accussers, not an "annoyomous source"?

Or did we just piss all over the Bill of Rights again?

Craig Calcaterra said...

I understand the basis of your criticism, 64 -- and believe that we should remain skeptical about it until we get more in the way of confirmation -- but I'm inclined to think that this isn't a case of the media being over the line.

For one thing, the Daily News cites "several sources," which implies, at least, that there was some actual journalism committed here rather than base innuendo.

Secondly, given Clemens' lawsuit -- which puts his reputation front and center because the lawsuit itslef is about his reputation -- this is newsworthy. This is not a matter of needless dirt digging. Clemens went on national television multiple times and appeared before congress under oath, and each time he did so, he declared himself to be a family man of the utmost integrity who is being unfairly attacked. The door, as they say, was opened.

As for sources? I'd guess McNamee himself had to be one of them. Assuming this is true, he's a guy that would certainly be in a position to know, and he certainly has the motive to bury Clemens.

As for why it wasn't out before? How many road girlfriends have we really ever heard about? Wade Boggs' chick. A-Rod's. Barry Bonds. Not many more. Based on the story, Clemens' public carrying on would occur in the company of other athletes, many if not most of whom have in incentive to keep quiet about such things.

64cardinals said...

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but this is too one-sided.

Why aren't the pilots getting their chops busted for Mann Act violations?

Why isn't McNamara (or all the famous people) being accuse of contributing to the deliquency of a minor?

Why isn't her father being accused of pandering? (He got a set of golf clubs, didn't he?)

My point is, why does the media get to crucify Clemens and ignore all the other people have committed a crime during this?

What about McCready? She may have been 15 when it started, but by the time it was over, she was 25. A legal adult capable of making mature decisions who was having an affair with a married man.


I would say its most likely becasue no one knows their name and it won't sell ad time.

Once the case gets full-blown into 24-hour coverage, I'm sure we can throw in an obstruction charge on someone. That seems to be a favorite, now days.

But as long as the media is allowed to accuse, try and convict people without showing actual proof, the concept of justice is a joke. And as long as the legal system allows it (nothing personal), it won't stop.

Just my opinion.

Peter said...

You really can't make much of a judgment on whether or not the Daily News should have published this story without knowing exactly what they know.

In cases like this, everyone always seems to start from the assumption that the sources are garbage and works backward to the conclusion that it's irresponsible journalism.

But if they believe the sources to be credible, wouldn't they be doing the public a disservice by sitting on a story like this?

I don't see the media as having any responsibility to presume innocence. If the public is interested and they believe the information to be credible, the media should report it and let the public sort it out.

Ironic Goat said...

"That's a legitimate question, and as far as that goes I'll say (a) the revelation of information which is harmful to one's reputation is pretty disastrous for someone suing over the sullying of their allegedly good name; and (b) any lawyer that was aware of this kind of thing would basically be committing malpractice by filing a defamation of character lawsuit."

I just don't know, but that is really true? I mean, if I take a public figure of sullied reputation and make spurious claims unrelated to their crimes, i'm in the clear?

I can say whatever I want about Robert Downey Jr., for example, because his character was sullied?

I probably am just simplifying to much, but please explain more.

Craig Calcaterra said...

I probably could have been clearer. I don't think the McCready allegations gives McNamee technical legal cover. Hardin will argue -- as would I if I were in his shoes -- that it has nothing to do with the case and evidence of it should be excluded. He's probably right too, unless it touched on steroid use somehow.

On a broader level, however, it's still malpractice (in my mind at least) because the supposed purpose of the defamation suit was to protect Clemens' public image, and it seems fairly clear that these allegations wouldn't be out in the open right now but for the lawsuit, even if they never make it into evidence.

If you're a lawyer in Hardin's position, you have to make sure that your filing of a complaint isn't going to make the problem your client is trying to solve (i.e. reputational damage) worse than if you had never filed in the first place.

If Hardin knew that there was bad stuff floating around out there that was waiting to become public before he filed, he should have counseled his client against going through with it. 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 has no control over his client and should maybe think about withdrawing.

Ironic Goat said...

Thanks for the detailed answer. Also, you didnt remember John Lannan from breaking Chase Utley and getting ejected in his mlb debut last year? It was one of the only things we nats fans had going for us.

Craig Calcaterra said...

No memory at all of who hit Utley, though I do remember it happening.

Good to see that he has moved on to missing bats.