Generally speaking, silence is the true friend that never betrays.

Just ask John Lackey.

Sometimes described as the brains behind pitchers eating chicken and beer clubhouse during games, Lackey has spoken for the first time about the 2011 scandal, and it's a safe bet some in Boston's front office wish he'd kept his mouth shut.

Speaking with veteran Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy from Spring Training in Fort Myers, Fla., the disappointing Red Sox pitcher didn't hold back after a lousy 12-12 season with a historically bad 6.41 ERA.

Lackey, who's never publicly talked about the controversy, thinks the media's portrayal was unfair, and at first he didn't even want to address the issue.

“And there’s a good reason for that,’’ he said. “All you’re doing is re-hashing it. It kind of went away until you (Shaughnessy), right now.’’

Nevertheless Lackey eventually opened up. Oh did he ever.

“Guys having a beer after their start has been going on for the last 100 years,’’ Lackey said. “This is retarded. It’s not like we were sitting up there doing it every night. It’s not even close to what people think.’’

Lackey blamed Boston reporters for sensationalizing the story of pitchers drinking beer in the Fenway Park dugout. “They [media] just see how far they can go,’’ he said. “That’s just a flat-out lie.’’

Despite all the negative publicity, Lackey isn't worried about his reputation being tarnished. “I know who I am and I know the truth and I’m OK with it,’’ he said.

Recovering from Tommy John Surgery, Lackey won't be earning his $15.9 million salary this season. It pays to be a free agent pitcher. Without playing a game, Lackey will earn more this season than Red Sox stars Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.

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