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In this age of doping, lying and cheating, it isn't very often that a professional athlete comes off as honest.
I consider myself an open person — someone who will listen to people plead their case and then judge them — but I've developed a cynical side when it comes to listening to athletes (lie).
But I believed every word that Andy Pettite said during an hour-long press conference Monday afternoon.
First off, Pettite should be commended for dedicating 60 minutes to mostly answering questions about his use of Human Growth Hormone. Name me another athlete with Pettite's profile who has done something remotely similar.
Secondly, Pettite obviously isn't a well-versed public speaker. It was reported that his hands were shaking as he read his three-minute prepared statement. Several times throughout the session, he admitted to not knowing the answer to a question or asked a reporter for a fact or to clarify a fact.
When asked what he thought of Roger Clemens saying he "misremembered" the conversation from which Pettite said Clemens told him about his use of HGH, Pettite said simply that he spoke under oath and "so did Roger."
That is true. I can't imagine the Pettite I saw in front of the microphone lying under oath. Clemens, on the other hand? Yes, I could definitely see him being deceiving.
Pettite's words were not an act on Monday. They were the words of a man who clearly wants to put this whole episode behind him. They were the words of a contrite individual.
Pettite talked at length about the reasons why he took HGH in the first place. But he didn't give the typical response to a query about why he did it. Unlike, say, Barry Bonds, Pettite didn't say, "I didn't know what I was injecting into my body." Rather, Pettite told the throng of reporters that he thought he was prolonging his career when he made the decision.
It was almost impossible not to believe what Pettite was saying.
Clearly, Pettite's memory is not the best. He didn't remember when he signed his one-year, $16 million contract, which was actually a week before the Mitchell Report came out. When a reporter wrongly suggested that the contract was signed a day before the report, Pettite didn't disagree.
So could it be possible that Pettite really "misremembered" that conversation from 1998?
I don't think so. That type of information isn't something that people forget. That definitely is something that comes straight to the front of the mind when you're under oath. Pettite wouldn't have disclosed that information if he was unsure about what was actually said.
My belief in Pettite has nothing to do with his strong dedication to religion. We all know how religion can be twisted by some of this country's dirtiest people. Rather, Pettite's body language, humbled attitude and open answers convinced me that he was telling the truth. He had nothing to hide.
In today's environment of athletes who "only want to talk about baseball," who refuse to answer the important question, Pettite's Q&A session was refreshing.
One, because he was believable, and two because the situation was unbelievable.
I'd never seen anything like it before.