Say what you will about ESPN’s Dan Patrick, but he clearly lacks the critical faculties to work for Deadspin, as the Hartford Courant’s John Howell explains.

At the NBA Finals in Dallas last June, Patrick apparently was faxed the same confidential federal affidavit that the Los Angeles Times used in a controversial report Sunday that linked five players, including Roger Clemens, to some kind of juice.

Patrick confirmed Monday on his ESPN Radio show that Clemens and his Astros teammate Andy Pettitte were on his edited document. A third name Patrick received from his source never came out in the Times story, Patrick said.

“I think I said [on the radio in June] that one of the names would really shock you and the other one would surprise you as well,” Patrick said. “The third name, I didn’t think would [shock], but in a situation like that, I think anytime those names are out there, there’s a surprise to them.”

Considering ESPN’s resources, some might think Patrick and ESPN were beaten badly on the story after it landed in Patrick’s lap. The job got tougher when ESPN go-to analyst Peter Gammons suffered a brain aneurysm June 27.

“I checked it with our baseball people,” Patrick said. “I didn’t even tell them the names that I had. I just said, `Look, I have three names on here and it’s blacked out.’ I said I’m looking for confirmation on this and left it at that. I didn’t think it was fair to say, `I’ve got three names, these are the names and can you check to see if those names are on there.’ I wanted somebody to come back and say to me, hey, here are the names I’ve heard or my sources have told me are on there. … I tried to get corroboration from our baseball people but nobody had that information at the time.”

Patrick said the affidavit was “four or five pages” and that his source was always strong on other baseball stories.

“[But] it wasn’t enough that I could say this is empirical truth, that you could go to the bank with it,” Patrick said. “To me, there was still gray area.”