Roger Clemens’ lawyer says Trevor Bauer is ‘absolutely’ right to fight

The Star Pitcher believed he had been wrongly accused. He spoke and he spoke. He was threatened with imprisonment. He sued his accuser, and his accuser sued him back.

That’s Trevor Bauer today, but that was Roger Clemens 15 years ago. Clemens did everything to get his good name back.

It did not work.

“He’s never going to clear his name in the public eye,” Rusty Hardin told the Los Angeles Times.

Hardin was Clemens’ lawyer and he spoke about Clemens. He might as well have been talking about Bauer.

That’s not a perfect parallel. Clemens is said to have used steroids. Bauer is accused of sexual assault.

When Clemens was identified as a steroid user in the 2007 Mitchell Report, he was 45 years old. His career was over. He began a legal crusade that took eight years to complete.

Bauer, the Dodgers pitcher, turns 32 in January. Ten years ago he made his major league debut. Even under the best of circumstances, he would still have some valuable years left in his career.

He hasn’t played in a major league game in 17 months. He will not be eligible to play a major league game for an additional 17 months unless an umpire reduces or lifts Bauer’s suspension for violating baseball’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy.

The referee’s decision is not expected until next month at the earliest. Neither Bauer nor the league said what specific behavior was considered a violation of this policy. However, Commissioner Rob Manfred imposed a two-year ban, the longest such sentence under the directive.

Bauer could have accepted a lesser suspension if he had agreed not to appeal. The Los Angeles County District Attorney had already decided not to file criminal charges against him.

“It’s worth it for anyone who believes they didn’t do what they’re accused of doing. It is always better to fight it.”

– Attorney Rusty Hardin

He could have continued from that point. He has continued his training, as evidenced by his social media posts, and he would love to play again.

However, he has filed defamation lawsuits against his accuser and five other parties, so any team that might be interested in hiring him may need to consider whether the possibility of years of court action would be a deterrent.

Bauer representatives declined to comment on this column.

Bauer has consistently denied any wrongdoing and portrayed himself as a victim of a setup. For Bauer, any kind of comparison would be tantamount to an admission that he did something wrong.

His vigorous legal activity makes it clear that he would rather attack than resign. His attorneys said in a court filing last year that “no settlements or cash offers have been made, and will never be made,” to the accuser.

After Bauer sued the accuser for defamation, she sued back, with her attorneys arguing that Bauer had been “harassed again.” [her] using his considerable resources to file an unfounded lawsuit.”

Clemens is the only man to have won seven Cy Young Awards. Nobody else has won more than five. On the field, he is a first-choice Hall of Famer.

The only major reason for a voter to reject him: the belief that he used steroids and should be held accountable for it, although a jury found he did not commit perjury when he testified before Congress that he was not on steroids had used.

“Even so, most people think he’s guilty because baseball fans aren’t good people,” Hardin said. “If you’re accused of messing with your sacred stats, it’s over for you whether you did it or not.”

The Baseball Writers Assn. of America disavowed Clemens for the Hall of Fame 10 times, all 10 times by jury verdict. Next month he gets an eleventh chance before a veterans committee.

Roger Clemens, right, and attorney Rusty Hardin exit federal courthouse April 17, 2012 in Washington.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (right) and attorney Rusty Hardin exit federal courthouse April 17, 2012 in Washington.

(Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

“Roger could afford to fight it and stick with it forever until he received justification through a verdict,” Hardin said. “It wasn’t enough to change people’s attitudes. Do you know why it hasn’t changed? It didn’t change the attitude of sportswriters. That would have changed the public. Sooner or later, sportswriters have to realize that this is entertainment.

“In their world, they don’t really care what the truth is, with all due respect, just if someone said it.”

America has come to a point, Hardin said, “where the accusation proves itself.”

Like Clemens, Bauer has the financial means to fight. But if the lesson from the Clemens case is that accusations alone are enough to tarnish one’s name forever, would Hardin advise Bauer to keep fighting?

“Definitely, yes,” Hardin said. “Roger used to say, ‘Rusty, I’m going to fight this, not to get into the Hall of Fame, but so my four sons know I’ve done everything I can to fight these false allegations. I care about them – not the public and not the sports media.’

“Well yes, it’s worth it. It’s worth it for anyone who believes they didn’t do what they’re accused of doing. It is always better to fight it.”

In the end, after Clemens’ first three Hall of Famer denials and seven years after his accuser sued him for defamation, the accuser reached a financial settlement — not with Clemens himself, but with an insurance company that Clemens had a policy with. Clemens himself did not pay and he did not take part in the settlement negotiations, still defiant after almost a decade.

“I was not present nor would I have attended to pay a dime,” Clemens told the Houston Chronicle. “Everyone knows my stance on the subject.”

If the Clemens timeline is any indication, we might hear Bauer say something very similar in 2029. Roger Clemens’ lawyer says Trevor Bauer is ‘absolutely’ right to fight

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