Clemens had a secret steroid relationship?

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Clemens had a secret steroid relationship?

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Brian McNamee described for jurors a relationship with Roger Clemens that had the hallmarks of an illicit affair -- except their secret was steroids. "Roger would ask me, What are you doing? Are you available tonight?' I knew exactly what he was talking about," McNamee said Monday, in the first day of his testimony against his former client and friend. Back then, in 1998, Clemens was pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays, and McNamee was the team's strength and conditioning coach. According to McNamee, the two men went to Clemens' apartment in the Jays' Skydome stadium. "Roger pulled down his pants, exposing his right buttocks cheek to me," McNamee said. A few seconds later, Clemens said he was ready. McNamee said he then "plunged the fluid in, into his buttocks." "That," McNamee said, "was the first time I injected Roger Clemens." McNamee said he didn't feel good about the moment, but he got the sense that Clemens "wasn't good at doing the booty shot.'" That year was the beginning of a decade-long relationship that soured when McNamee, facing legal trouble, told investigators he had injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids and HGH. Clemens' denial of those allegations at a 2008 congressional hearing landed him in court, where he faces charges that he lied to Congress. It took a month for prosecutors to get to their key witness: McNamee is the only person who will claim firsthand knowledge of Clemens using performance-enhancing drugs. McNamee also detailed a rushed shot he gave Clemens in a utility closet in the Tampa Bay clubhouse in 1998. "I was hurrying because we had to get out of there," he recalled. "I closed the door and injected him real quick and we left. I kept one foot on the door as I was injecting," to keep anyone from coming in on them. And when McNamee was asked where Clemens had gotten the drugs, he responded: "Don't ask, don't tell. I didn't want to know." Later that season, McNamee claimed, Clemens came to his locker, threw a bag of steroids into it, and said: "Get rid of it. I'm done with it." That was after Clemens had developed an abscess on his buttocks. The two men had developed such a bond -- either because of drugs, as the prosecution says, or because of workouts, as the defense maintains -- that Clemens asked his new team, the New York Yankees, to bring McNamee on board at the beginning of the 1999 season. New York declined, but when Clemens made another plea near the end of the season, the Yankees created a new position for McNamee -- assistant strength and conditioning coach. The salary was only 30,000, McNamee said, but Clemens supplemented that with 50,000 or 60,000. The previous year, Clemens had tipped him 1,000 at the end of spring training, McNamee said. McNamee said he didn't want to be with the Yankees, having already worked for the team as a bullpen catcher and batting practice pitcher in the mid-1990s. "I just wanted to be Roger Clemens' trainer," he said. The bespectacled McNamee, speaking softly in a thick New York accent, often made eye contact with jurors, who paid close attention to him. Clemens, sitting about 20 feet across the courtroom, did as well. McNamee returns to the witness stand on Tuesday. The former pitcher took several pages of notes on a white legal pad. He looked up quickly when McNamee talked about their alleged conversations about performance-enhancing drugs, licking his lips and holding his pen in the air, as if interrupted in the middle of writing something down. Other times, he would tap five fingers on his desk. At the beginning of his testimony, McNamee seemed a bit sad about how things had turned. A prosecutor asked what it was like to work with such an icon. "Just give me a minute," McNamee said in a subdued tone, after a long pause. Then, his pitch shifting up, he said, "It was great working with the best." The two sides spent the morning arguing over which parts of McNamee's personal life may be revealed in front of the jury. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton quashed a Clemens subpoena for McNamee's divorce records. Walton said it was a "fishing expedition" to look for information to disparage McNamee. The judge did rule that Clemens' team could bring up evidence of McNamee's alleged alcohol problems, including two convictions for driving under the influence. Walton also said that if the defense had evidence that McNamee had obtained prescription drugs online without a prescription, that too could be mentioned. But the judge said again that defense lawyers may not mention that McNamee was investigated for an alleged sexual assault over a 2001 incident at a St. Petersburg, Fla., hotel involving a woman who was found to have a date-rape drug in her system. Walton said the defense could refer to it only as a "serious criminal investigation." The defense will be able to say that McNamee lied to investigators during that investigation. Charges were never filed in the case.

What a flat salary cap in 2017-18 could mean for Blackhawks

What a flat salary cap in 2017-18 could mean for Blackhawks

For the first time since the 2009-10 season, the NHL's salary cap could stay flat next year, reports ESPN's Craig Custance.

Commissioner Gary Bettman revealed at the latest NHL's Board of Governors meeting that the projected ceiling for the 2017-18 campaign could be an increase between zero and $2 million, which isn't exactly encouraging considering the projection at this time of year is normally an optimistic one.

That means the salary cap may be closer to — or at — the $73 million it's at right now.

In the last four years, the cap has increased by $4.3 million in 2013-14, $4.7 million in 2014-15, $2.4 million in 2015-16 and $1.6 million in 2016-17. The number continues to descend, and it affects big-budget teams like the Blackhawks the most.

It makes it especially difficult for the Blackhawks to navigate because they own two of the highest paid players in the league in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, both of whom carry a $10.5 million cap hit through 2022-23. It's a great problem to have, though.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

According to capfriendly.com, Chicago currently has $60.6 million tied up to 14 players — eight forwards, five defensemen and one goaltender — next season. If the cap stays the same, that means the Blackhawks must fill out the rest of their roster with fewer than $13 million to work with and still have to sign Artemi Panarin to a long-term extension.

And they may need to move salary to do it, with the potential cap overages crunching things even more.

On the open market, Panarin would probably be able to earn Vladimir Tarasenko money — a seven-year deal that carries a $7.5 million cap hit — but if he prefers to remain in Chicago, the contract would likely be in the range of Johnny Gaudreau's six-year deal with an annual average value of $6.75 million.

With the expansion draft looming, the Blackhawks know they're going to lose a player to Las Vegas in the offseason. The two likely candidates, as it stands, are Marcus Kruger and Trevor van Riemsdyk, and the former would free up $3 million in cap space while the latter $825,000.

If that won't get the job done, the Blackhawks may be forced to part ways with a core player such as Brent Seabrook and his eight-year, $55 million contract, although he has a full no-movement clause until 2021-22 and it would be very hard to imagine since you're trying to maximize your current championship window.

Anything is possible, however, after seeing promising young guys like Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw shipped out of Chicago due to a tight budget.

It's a challenge general manager Stan Bowman has certainly already been thinking about, and a stagnant salary cap doesn't make things any easier.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Toews still out, Bulls pull out win over Spurs

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Toews still out, Bulls pull out win over Spurs

In the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Mark Grote (670 The Score) and Mark Carman (WGN Radio) join Kap on the panel. Jonathan Toews is still not back at practice. Is it time to panic?

Meanwhile, the Bulls beat the Spurs. And Rajon Rondo compliments the coaches? Is all well in Bulls-town?

Plus, Dexter Fowler is Cardinal. Should Cubs fans be angry?

And finally, is it good idea for Jordan Howard to get the ball less for the rest of the season?

Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: