Rocket Man…

January 15, 2008

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Elton John sang:  “Rocket Man….. and I think it’s gonna be a long, long time…”    I add to that in an off-tune chorus:  “Until we believe you.”

Where was Roger “The Rocket” Clemens’ communications counsel prior to the release of the Mitchell Report that calls out the seven-time Cy Young Award pitcher as a steroid user? 

While others named in the report, including Andy Pettitte, one of Clemens’ best friends, and Fernando Vina, an ESPN commentator, came clean and admitted they had used performance enhancing drugs – Clemens said nothing.

Silence amidst a crisis is never golden.

Pettitte’s and Vina’s explanations helped provide some patch-work to their reputations as competitors.

Eventually, Clemens released a prepared statement – through his attorney (another blunder) denying the Mitchell Report’s accusations about his steroid use.   And finally, his appearance on 60 Minutes to deny the claims.

Maybe he spent all that time between the release of the report and his interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes going through some rigorous media training.  Things like learning how to turn a hostile interview into a forum to get “your key message” out, how to bridge to effectively communicate “your side of the story,” how to control your anger amidst some serious allegations, things like that.

 And even if he did all of those things,  “I think it’s gonna be a long, long time…”   

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