Breezy Baseball Bombshell
The man at the center of the growing performance-enhancing drug scandal that has hit major league baseball with the release of the Mitchell Report last week, is a former Breezy Point resident who attended local schools before moving on to Archbishop Molloy High School and St. John's University.
Brian McNamee, whose family still lives in the gated community, told investigator George Mitchell that he had provided steroids and human growth hormone to a number of players, including New York Yankee stars Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
McNamee, 40, involved passionately with baseball since he was a young man, was reportedly a stand-out catcher for both his high school and college teams.
After college, McNamee followed his father into the New York City Police Department, lasting only a few years. He reportedly met a fellow St. John's alum who was the assistant general manager of the New York Yankees and this friend offered him a job as the bullpen catcher for the team, warming up relief pitchers and doing other tasks for the pitchers. Sources say that he often pitched batting practice for Yankee hitters.
Apitcher named Roger Clemens was in his second year with the team, following 10 years as a star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Clemens' career was in decline at the time.
According to McNamee's testimony to Mitchell's investigators, Clemens asked him for steroids in June of 1998. Later that season, McNamee said, he first injected Clemens with the performance enhancing drugs.
When Clemens was traded to the Yankees a year later, his career now moving upward, his favorite conditioning coach followed, a Clemens' demand, the Mitchell report says.
He was named the team's assistant conditioning coach, but, according to Mitchell's report, was also paid as the personal trainer for both Clemens and Pettitte.
Back in New York, he also began to work with local players, running clinics in Breezy Point and reportedly taking local little league players to visit both Mets and Yankee games, where they often got a chance to meet with players and visit the locker rooms.
McNamee testified that he continued to inject Clemens with steroids during the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
Clemens has denied the charges, saying that McNamee lied to Mitchell.
Pettitte has admitted using human growth hormone (HGH) to help him heal from a severe elbow injury in 2002.
In 2005, McNamee went back to St. John's University as an adjunct professor in the sports management program, although the university says that he had nothing to do with the baseball team. He was let go from the university in 2006, after his contract ended.
McNamee's blockbuster admissions have been challenged by a number of sources, but Mitchell told reporters that he is confident that the former Breezy Point native told the truth.
"We made every effort to ensure that the statements we received were truthful," he told reporters. "We told every witness that we want the truth and nothing but the truth, with no exaggerations. We told them not to minimize things, to just tell the truth. In the case of [McNamee] the interviews were conducted in the presence of federal law officials, who warned the witnesses that they should tell the truth, and if they didn't tell the truth, they would subject themselves to possible criminal jeopardy for making false statements."
"There was every incentive to tell the truth," Mitchell added. "and we sought whatever we could to corroborate the testimony that is put forth in the report."
The report also says that McNamee wrote four checks to Kirk Rodomski, a former Mets' clubhouse employee turned steroid dealer, whose indictment and guilty plea on federal drug distribution charges last spring supplied key information in the report. That admission by Rodomski reportedly led Mitchell to McNamee and his cooperation before the committee.
McNamee's attorney, Earl Ward, told ESPN.com, that federal officials will weigh his cooperation with the Mitchell Commission when deciding whether to bring criminal charges against him.
"Brian wants everybody to know that he did not bring steroids into baseball," Ward said. "It was part of the culture when he got there and he got caught up in that culture. He knows that people will attack his credibility, but he stands by his testimony as accurate and truthful."
McNamee was not available to The Wave for comment.