CMT Awards Overlook Roger Clemens, Mindy McCready Affair

On the 2024 CMT Awards Sunday evening (4-7), long time Toby Keith friend and Major League Baseball pitching legend Roger Clemens came out to start off a musical tribute to Toby Keith who passed away in February. Clemens also gave an emotional speech after the performances as Keith’s family looked on from the crowd, concluding with Clemens holding up a red solo cup, and leading the audience in a chant of “Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses.”

Though it may have seemed strange to some to have a professional baseball player be the one to toast Toby Keith, the two men had a long history of paying tribute to each other. Clemens appeared in the original video for Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” from 2011, and Toby Keith inducted Roger Clemens into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.

But it’s not the history between Toby Keith and Roger Clemens that the 2024 CMT Awards dredged up for some. It was the alleged history of Roger Clemens and former country music singer Mindy McCready that some recalled as Clemens took the stage and became a centerpiece of a country music presentation.

A successful major label artist in the mid ’90s to the early 2000s, Mindy McCready committed suicide in 2013, taking her own life at the age of 37. She also reportedly had a long term, 10-year relationship with Roger Clemens starting when she was only 15, and when Roger was 28 with a wife and two children.

In a May 2008 article in the New York Daily News, the outlet reported via numerous sources that Roger Clemens commenced a relationship with Mindy McCready in 1990. McCready was originally from Fort Myers in Florida where numerous major league baseball teams conduct Spring Training.

McCready was singing in a karaoke bar when Clemens and some of his teammates walked in. Clemens reportedly immediately became enamored with the underage McCready, with one of the sources for the story saying it was “love at first sight.” Clemens threw a shirt with his signature onto the stage where McCready was performing. This is how the relationship allegedly began, and would continue on for a decade.

The report in the New York Daily News went on to spell out further details of the relationship. The next day, a followup story was published, with McCready saying, “I cannot refute anything in the story.”

On May 5th after the initial reports, Roger Clemens released a statement through a spokesman that didn’t refute the affair, but also did not confirm it.

“Even though these articles contain many false accusations and mistakes, I need to say that I have made mistakes in my personal life for which I am sorry,” Clemens said. “I have apologized to my family and apologize to my fans. Like everyone, I have flaws. I have sometimes made choices which have not been right.”

In November of 2008, Mindy McCready gave a more detailed interview to Inside Edition where she did refute some of the details in the initial New York Daily News story, while also contradicting herself on numerous points. Previously, McCready said that she wanted to marry Clemens, and broke the relationship off after he refused. But to Inside Edition, McCready said she never wanted to marry Clemens.

Mindy McCready also claimed to Inside Edition that she didn’t meet Clemens until she was 16, not 15, and alluded that the relationship didn’t become sexual until later. McCready also claimed that the two would never meet in secret, and they would go on vacations together in Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and New York.

“He should have done right by his family,” McCready said to Inside Edition. “A person is unhappy in their marriage and spending all their personal time with someone else, you need to do right by your marriage. He should have just told Debbie (wife) and been honest with her. If he didn’t want to be with her and wanted to be with me, he should have told her. I have nothing but remorse and nothing but sympathy for what she’s had to go through with this situation, and she has my utmost apology.”

Shortly after the Inside Edition episode aired in 2008, Mindy McCready attempted suicide. On December 17th, 2008, an ambulance was called to McCready’s home in Nashville, and she was transported to a local hospital with wounds on her wrists.

Both before and after the suicide attempt surrounding the Roger Clemens revelations, Mindy McCready lived a troubled life. In 2003 while dating fellow country singer Patrick McKnight, McKnight was arrested for attempted murder after beating and choking McCready. McCready attempted suicide and overdosed in 2005 before getting back together with McKnight, and continuing their tumultuous relationship. The two had a son in March of 2006.

Mindy McCready would overdose again in 2010. In 2012, she had a second son Zayne with record producer David Wilson. Wilson was later found dead on January 13th, 2013 at Mindy McCready’s home of a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound. Just over a month later, on February 17th, 2013, Mindy McCready would end her own life with a self-inflicted gunshot.

Though McCready lived a tumultuous life throughout her 37 years, a lot of people point to the long-term relationship with Roger Clemens that began when she was underage as the starting point for Mindy McCready’s troubles. Though the close friendship with Toby Keith and Roger Clemens was real, so were the issues between Roger Clemens and Mindy McCready.

Upon the death of McCready, Clemens was criticized for the callousness of his remarks. Clemens stated, “Yes, this is sad news. I had heard over time that she was trying to get peace and direction in her life. The few times that I had met her and her manager/agent they were extremely nice.”

After 10 years of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Roger Clemens was officially passed over for good in 2022. Though steroid use is primarily cited as the reason one of the most successful right-handed pitchers in baseball history was passed over year after year, the Mindy McCready relationship, as well as a long pattern of lies from the pitcher are also given credit.

Though the CMT Awards may have not been aware of the allegations against Clemens from Mindy McCready, it does speak to a carelessness over the situation that has come up with the CMT Awards perviously. In 2020, the CMT Awards gave their inaugural “Equal Play” Award to Jennifer Nettles of the country duo Sugarland for her effort to speak out about the lack of equal representation for women, Black and Brown, and LGBT artists on country radio.

However, Nettles had been a participant in edging out the original third member of Sugarland, LGBT artist Kristen Hall in 2004, allegedly due to “image reasons.” Hall later filed a $14 million lawsuit against Sugarland in 2008. The case was settled in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.

CMT has also regularly invited rapper Nelly to participate in CMT events. Nelly has faced multiple allegations of rape and sexual assault over the years, including an alleged rape while on tour with Florida Georgia Line in 2017.

CMT is not responsible for the alleged behavior by these people, but it speaks to a deeper concern of country music institutions platforming individuals with dubious pasts, while the cable network also wants plaudits for being more progressive than the rest of the country music community.

© 2024 Saving Country Music