Watch CBS News

Clemens Vehemently Denies Steroid Use

Update: Clemens filed a defamation suit against former trainer Brian McNamee on Jan. 6, 2008, the day this interview was broadcast and 10 days after it was filmed. Clemens filed the suit in Harris County District Court in Texas, listing 15 alleged statements McNamee made to the baseball drug investigator George Mitchell. Clemens claimed the statement were "untrue and defamatory."

With 354 wins, Roger Clemens is one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball. There's no question about it. But as Mike Wallace reports, there are questions now about whether Roger Clemens cheated to enhance his record and prolong his career.

One of his former trainers, Brian McNamee, says that he himself injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone. McNamee's accusations were the biggest revelations in George Mitchell's report on steroid abuse for Major League Baseball.

But Clemens insists the charges are phony and that he never used steroids or any other banned substance. Clemens agreed to answer 60 Minutes' questions at his home outside Houston, where we found him to be frustrated, even furious, that so many people have been so quick to believe he cheated.

"I'm angry that that what I've done for the game of baseball and the personal, in my private life, what I've done, that I don't get the benefit of the doubt," Clemens says. "The stuff that's being said, it's ridiculous."

"It's hogwash for people to even assume this," Clemens says.

"Twenty-four, twenty-five years Mike. You'd think I'd get an inch of respect. An inch," he adds. "How can you prove your innocence?"

"Apparently you haven't done it yet. People I talk to say, 'Come on. 45 years old? How does he still throw a ball and compete' and so forth? Impossible," Wallace remarks.

"Not impossible. You do it with hard work. Ask any of my teammates. Ask anybody that's come here and done the work with me," Clemens says.

"I was down here in 2001. You were pitching to a guy by the name of Brian McNamee," Wallace says.

"Brian McNamee, that's right," Clemens replies.

McNamee helped Clemens work out, on and off for ten years. Clemens is famous for his exhausting workouts; he's been called the hardest working man in throw-business. But now he's been thrown by what McNamee told George Mitchell.

"He gave very specific examples of times he says that he injected you with steroids. During the '98 season, you were pitching for the Blue Jays. McNamee was their strength and conditioning coach. From the Mitchell Report, quote: 'Clemens approached McNamee, and for the first time, brought up the subject of using steroids. Clemens said that he was not able to inject himself and he asked for McNamee's help. McNamee injected Clemens approximately four times in the buttocks over a several week period, with needles that Clemens provided. Each incident took place in Clemens' apartment in the Sky Dome,'" Wallace reads.

"Never happened," Clemens says. "Never happened. And if I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, where did I get 'em? Where is the person out there gave 'em to me? Please, please come forward."

"Mitchell Report, quote: 'According to McNamee, from the time McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol, a steroid, through the end of the '98 season, Clemens performance showed remarkable improvement. Clemens told McNamee that the steroids, quote, had a pretty good effect on him. McNamee said Clemens was also training harder and dieting better during this time,'" Wallace reads.

"Never. I trained hard my entire career. It just didn't happen," Clemens says.

Why would Brian McNamee want to betray him?

"I don't know," Clemens says. "I'm so upset about it, how I treated this man and took care of him."

"I imagine he's watching the two of us right now, wouldn't you?" Wallace asks.

"I hope he is," Clemens says.

"Okay. Anything you want to tell him?" Wallace asks.

"Yeah. I treated him fairly. I treated him as great as anybody else," Clemens says. "I helped him out!"

"Again, from the Mitchell Report, quote, 'According to McNamee, during the middle of the 2000 season, Clemens made it clear he was ready to use steroids again. And during the latter part of the season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone. Also injected Clemens four to six times with human growth hormone,'" Wallace reads.

"My body never changed," Clemens says. "If he's putting that stuff up in my body, if what he's saying which is totally false, if he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth."

"The next season, 2001. It's from the Mitchell Report, quote, 'According to McNamee, Clemens advised him in August of 2001 that he was again ready to use steroids. And shortly thereafter, McNamee injected Clemens with a steroid on four to five occasions at Clemens' apartment,'" Wallace reads.

"Yeah. Never happened," Clemens replies.

"In two of the three years that McNamee claims that he injected you - '98 and 2001 - you won 20 games and the Cy Young Award as the American League's best pitcher," Wallace says.

"I won-in 1997, I won the Cy Young Award. 2004 when he supposedly, I wasn't doing it," Clemens says.

"Yeah, but these are the years in which McNamee claims that he injected you," Wallace points out.

"It didn't happen. It didn't happen," Clemens insists. "It just didn't happen."

So while Clemens was his league's best pitcher during two of the alleged steroid years, he was also his league's best the year before McNamee says injections began, and three years after McNamee says he stopped giving Clemens steroids.

"Why didn't I keep doing it if it was so good for me? Why didn't I break down? Why didn't my tendons turn to dust?" Clemens asks. "That's all it's good for. It's a quick fix. I don't believe in that. I don't do it."

Clemens says he was shocked and angry when he first heard what McNamee had said. And he says he still is.

Clemens says he didn't know ahead of time what was going to be in the Mitchell Report, and says McNamee didn't tell him a word.

But he did ask Clemens for a favor just a few days before the Mitchell Report came out. "He e-mails me and asks me where all the good fishing equipment is down at Cabo that I bought so he can go fishing. Thank you very much. I said, 'Have a good time, go fishing,'" Clemens explains. "Doesn't say a word that you, that you know I'm fixing to bury you with all these accusations and what do we do about it. Didn't say a word about it. That's what pisses me off."

Asked why he didn't speak to Mitchell's investigators, Clemens says, "I listened to my counsel. I was advised not to. A lot of the players didn't go down and talk to him."

"But if I wouldda known what this man, Brian McNamee, had said in this report, I would have been down there in a heartbeat to take care of it," he adds.

"George Mitchell says he believes McNamee and this is why: McNamee got caught up in a federal steroids investigation, and the federal prosecutors agreed not to charge him if he told the truth about his involvement with steroids. But they would charge him if he gave any false information. So Mitchell says McNamee had strong incentives to tell the truth," Wallace says. "What did McNamee gain by lying?"

"Evidently not going to jail," Clemens says.

"Jail time for what?" Wallace asks.

"Well, I think he's been buying and movin' steroids," Clemens says.

Clemens says he learned that from the Mitchell Report, which also mentioned his fellow Yankee, pitcher Andy Pettitte, who also trained under McNamee. McNamee said he'd injected Pettitte twice with human growth hormone. After the report came out, Pettitte confirmed that McNamee had given him two HGH shots to recover from an elbow injury.

"When Andy confirmed that McNamee had indeed told the truth about injecting him, that gave McNamee credibility, made his claims about injecting you seem more believable," Wallace points out.

"I had no knowledge of what Andy was doing," Clemens says.

"Why would Brian McNamee tell the truth about Andy Pettitte and lie about you?" Wallace asks.

"Andy's case is totally separate. I was shocked to learn about Andy's situation. Had no idea about it," Clemens says.

And we had no idea how many legal injections Clemens has received, including from McNamee.

Clemens says McNamee did in fact inject him, but only with "Lidocaine and B-12. It's for my joints, and B-12 I still take today."

"And that's all?" Wallace asks.

"That's it," Clemens says.

Clemens swears he never took human growth hormone or anabolic steroids.

McNamee's attorney countered that McNamee only injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone, nothing else.

Clemens told 60 Minutes he got legal injections from team trainers, mostly painkillers.

"The number of shots that you get over the course of a season, which was many for me. Whether they be vitamins or for pain, Toradol. Pain shots. To go out and perform. I had one of my biggest arguments with Joe Torre. He's wanting to scratch me on one of the biggest starts of the season. Had a small tear in my hamstring and a golf ball in my elbow," Clemens recalls.

"Joe Torre and I were in the trainers' room and he basically shut the door and said, 'I don't need any damn heroes here. You didn't tell me how bad you're hurtin'. I notice you're hurtin'.' And I told Joe Torre that I'll be damned if 15 minutes before I'm gonna start a World Series game I'm gonna go out there and look my teammates in the eye and tell 'em I can't go. I said, 'As long as the other team doesn't know that I'm hurting, I can get people out throwin' 85 without using my leg. And get you six innings under my belt.' I'm gonna take this Toradol shot and hope it works. And mask some of this pain so I can get out there and do my job. That's the things I put my body through. And I'm not ashamed of that because I get paid a lotta money to go out and perform. And I appreciate that they put that kind of trust in me," he adds.

That night, he threw a three-hitter and won the game. What worries him today, he told 60 Minutes, is all the Vioxx pills various trainers gave him. Vioxx was a widely used anti-inflammatory and painkiller, before it was taken off the market for causing heart attacks and strokes.

"I was eating Vioxx like it was Skittles. And now these people who are supposedly regulating it tell me it's bad for my heart," Clemens says. "I don't know what the future holds because of the medicine that I've eatin', but I trusted that it was not harmful. And I didn't wanna put anything in my body that was harmful."

Steroids are harmful he said, and would have shortened his career. "Why would I want to get tight or lose my flexibility, put something harmful in my system that's gonna cause me to break down when I've had a 24-year career?" Clemens asks.

"Look, because you're at the end of your career, and because you don't want to give up the career and give up the fame and so forth. So if it's necessary to stick something into you…," Wallace says.

"I didn't play my career to get fame or go to the Hall of Fame or worry about all that. That's nice. All that's nice. Again, it's not who I am. I've worked my tail off to get where I'm at. I'm not gonna put something in my body for a quick fix that's gonna tear me down," Clemens says.

Asked what penalty there should be for someone taking these performance enhancing drugs, Clemens says, "I think it's a self-inflicted penalty. They break down quick. It's a quick fix. They're in and out of the game."

"If you were to testify before the Congress under oath, would you tell 'em exactly what you told me today?" Wallace asks.

"And even probably more about the Vioxx question," Clemens says.

Clemens may appear as requested at a congressional hearing in ten days. His challenge is getting people to believe him. "I don't know if I can defend myself, I think people, a lot of people, have already made their decisions," he says.

"Well, a lot of people have made…," Wallace says.

"And that's our country, isn't it? Guilty before innocent. That that's the way our country works now. And then everybody's talking about sue, sue, sue. Should I sue? Well, let me exhaust. Let me just spend. How about, let's keep spending," Clemens says. "But I'm gonna explore what I can do and then I want to see if it's gonna be worth it, worth all the headache."

Brian McNamee's attorney said McNamee will decide after watching this interview whether he'll sue Clemens for defamation. McNamee declined to talk with 60 Minutes. The problem both he and Clemens have is proving they're telling the truth.

How about a lie detector test?

"Some say they're good. Some say they're not. Do whatever," Clemens says.

"So as far as you're concerned, you would conceivably?" Wallace asks.

"Yeah. I don't know if they're good or bad," Clemens replies.

"Were you to pass a lie detector test, would that help prove that you're telling the truth and help restore?" Wallace asks.

"Would it?" Clemens says.

"I don't know," Wallace replies.

"I don't either," Clemens says.

And he doesn't know if he'll ever pitch again. "But I understand that as a public person, you're gonna take some shots. The higher you get up on the flagpole, the more your butt shows? And I understand all that," Clemens says. "But I'm tired of answering to 'em. That's why I will not ever play again. I don't want to answer to it. I want to slide off and be just a citizen.

"You're retiring. Period," Wallace says.

"Probably," Clemens says. "I would say, yeah. If I sit here and tell you right now, I would say yes."

Clemens says he'll never pitch again.

But he has retired three times before and could "un-retire" again.

"After listening to you in this interview, do you think people are gonna believe you? Believe that you, Roger Clemens never took steroids?" Wallace asks.

"I think the people that know me believe me and understand what I'm about. The people that are out there that have been saying the things that they've been sayin', I don't know if I'll ever swing their opinion," Clemens says. "These accusations are not gonna change me as a person. I'll do everything I can to prove 'em wrong. And I still don't know if that's good enough."
Produced By Robert Anderson and Casey Morgan

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.