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Roger Clemens just had his moment on Feb. 13 before Congress in testimony about steroids use.

The question was, would it be a Rafael Palmeiro-like moment or Mark McGwire-like moment?

Palmeiro, you’ll recall, wagged his finger in defiance when he testified before Congress only later to test positive for steroids use.

McGwire, the same day, babbled incoherently about not wanting to talk about the past.

McGwire never has said anything of substance about allegations he used steroids, while Palmeiro’s inflated statistics were exposed.

A lot of people are wondering why Congress is getting involved and asking why we needed a Mitchell Report. Well, baseball would have never done anything on its own, so what is happening now was necessary.

This isn’t a new problem. It just seems like new.

Tony Gwynn said players such as himself tried to address the steroids issue 14 years ago, but they were brushed aside. Here’s what he said a couple of years ago when he spoke at the Hall of Champions:

“If you go back to 1994 when we went on strike, everyone thinks money,” he said. “That was one issue — money. But you never hear talk about the fight for testing. Being the player rep, I can tell you we were talking testing. We were concerned the game was headed down the wrong path and nobody paid attention to us.”

They are now.

What fans of pro sports criticizing the need for the Mitchell Report and testimony before Congress don’t understand is the trickle-down effect of the ills of pro sports to high school athletics.

We live in a time when high school coaches try to counter their athletes being bombarded by negative influences from pro sports. Yet, ironically, the coaches have less support and resources than ever in under-funded school systems.

Guys like Clemens and Barry Bonds, with their defiant arrogance, need to be busted. If baseball won’t do it, Congress should.

— TOM SHANAHAN

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