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Clemens denies steroid use

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  • Bush says he hopes report helps put "steroid era" in past
  • Pitcher's lawyer: "There has never been one shred of tangible evidence"
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(CNN) -- A lawyer for Roger Clemens strongly denies the seven-time Cy Young Award winner used steroids to pump up his body and his pitching statistics.

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Roger Clemens has won seven Cy Young Awards pitching for several teams, including the New York Yankees.

Clemens, considered a shoo-in for the Baseball Hall of Fame someday, was prominently featured in the report on performance-enhancing drugs that former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell released Thursday.

"Roger Clemens adamantly, vehemently, and whatever other adjectives can be used, denies that he has ever used steroids or ... improper substances," Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Thursday.

"He is really, really concerned and upset that he has been named in this report. It's based on the allegations, apparently, of a trainer that he's had in the past. ... That's not a standard someone should be held out in public to have done something as serious as using steroids in baseball." Video Watch Hardin critique report »

The report says Brian McNamee, a former Toronto Blue Jays strength coach, testified that Clemens received injections of the steroid Winstrol in Clemens' Toronto, Ontario, apartment in 1998.

McNamee "injected Clemens approximately four times in the buttocks over a several-week period with needles that Clemens provided," the report said. It said Clemens' pitching improved during that time.

"During this period of improved performance, Clemens told McNamee that the steroids 'had a pretty good effect' on him," the report said.

The report said McNamee also injected Clemens with testosterone and human growth hormone after Clemens moved to the New York Yankees in 2000.

"Roger has been repeatedly tested for these substances and he has never tested positive," Hardin said in a statement. "There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today."

Hardin told reporters that Clemens had not been given the opportunity to defend himself.

"It's not right to put somebody in a report with this kind of allegation and lack of proof, because there's nothing he can do to combat it," Hardin told reporters.

"He's not being charged with anything, he has just been smeared with something."

Hardin said his client was "outraged that his name is included in the report based on the uncorroborated allegations of a troubled man threatened with criminal prosecution."

Mitchell said he did what Major League Baseball asked of him.

"I did what I was asked to do as fairly and as thoroughly and as accurately as I could," Mitchell said Friday on CNN's "American Morning."

Mitchell said he had enough witness reports, checks and admissions to justify going public with players' names.

"I think it's quite wrong to say there's no concrete evidence," he told CNN. "There's several hundred pages of evidence."

Mitchell said he invited everyone named in the report to meet with him before the report was issued, but almost all declined.

Don Fehr, president of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said Thursday the union was not consulted. That "left us no choice but to represent our members in this inquiry," he said, as any union would protect its members in the face of possible sanctions.

He said the association did not tell players not to cooperate with the investigation, but advised them "on the legal lay of the land" and suggested they retain their own counsel.

"Many players are named. Their reputations have been adversely affected, probably forever, even if it turns out down the road that they should not have been," Fehr said.

After a Cabinet meeting on Friday, President Bush -- former owner of the Texas Rangers -- weighed in on the Mitchell report.

"Like many fans, I've been troubled by the steroid allegations. I think it's best that we not jump to any conclusions on individual players," he said in the White House Rose Garden.

"Steroids have sullied the game, and players and the owners must take the Mitchell report seriously; I'm confident they will," Bush said. "And my hope is that this report is a part of putting the 'steroid era' of baseball behind us."

He noted the influence that professional athletes have on young people.

"I urge those in the public spotlight, particularly athletes, to understand that when they violate their bodies they're sending a terrible signal to America's young."

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In The New York Times, Hardin said innocent players would be smeared with the guilty.

"He has thrown a skunk into the jury box, and we will never be able to remove that smell," Hardin told The Times. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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