On Monday, Roger Clemens’s second trial for perjury and obstruction of justice got underway in Washington, D.C. This time, Washington barely noticed. A lot has changed since 2005, when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held its explosive hearings on steroid abuse in Major League Baseball — hearings that upended the sport, ensnared the seven-time Cy Young winner, and led to his indictment.
But those hearings still cast a pall over the first days of the trial. The Associated Press reported that the court is having trouble assembling a jury because several prospective members don’t believe that Congress had any business investigating drug use in professional sports. That’s a common attitude, and a dismaying one. It stems from a misconception that Major League Baseball actively promoted at the time — that the hearings had no higher purpose than to glorify arrogant, media-hungry lawmakers.