When the Mitchell Report revealed that McNamee said he injected Pettitte with HGH in 2002, Pettitte was reviled as a cheat and a liar. In a short time, he was transformed into a sympathetic figure (despite withholding information on further HGH use) for one reason: He was the tool that could be used to get Roger Clemens.
Softballs for Pettitte; Beanballs for Clemens by Allen Barra
Barra lays out what seems to be the biggest reason everyone has decided that Rocket is guilty: Pettite's testimony. But Andy's testimony ain't necessarily the smoking gun everyone seems to believe it is:
That Pettitte would not appear as a witness at the February 13 public hearing wasn't known until just before midnight on Monday, February 11. The next morning, most headlines read like ESPN.com's "Pettitte's Affidavit Supports McNamee's Version of Events." This, it seemed, was damning—irrefutable proof that Clemens had lied in his own deposition to the committee (not to mention to Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes). It was speculated that the reason that Pettitte would not be appearing in person was that he didn't want to hurt and embarrass his close friend and former teammate—an explanation highly favorable to Mitchell and Waxman, as well as to Pettitte's reputation.
Another version of Pettitte's reasons to skip the hearing appeared in numerous stories that also appeared on February 12: As ESPN's T.J. Quinn reported, sources had told him that "Pettitte was not a good witness when he appeared before Congressional lawyers during sworn deposition . . . . Pettitte often contradicted himself, so the committee agreed to his request not to appear before the committee." If that's true, one must wonder if Waxman wasn't relieved that Pettitte wouldn't be grilled in person about the vague and often contradictory statements in his deposition. If so, Roger Clemens, whether innocent or guilty, was denied the fundamental right of facing his accuser.
Predictably enough, those local sportswriters who have long since declared Clemens guilty haven't gone back to Pettitte's deposition, though it is now on the public record. If they did, they might agree with Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus, who, in a thoughtful February 14 piece on the BP website, found that "Pettitte's testimony is hardly the slam-dunk takedown of Clemens that it was made out to be. Pettitte, in many places, actually corroborates Clemens's version. . . . What is interesting is that the differences between Pettitte's statement and Clemens's statement are so easily reconciled."
go read the whole thing.