Barry Bonds Is Guilty. Whoop-de-do
No one's questioning whether the Home Run King is a jerk. Or that he used steroids. But did the feds need to spend nearly 10 years and millions of dollars to prove it?
To recap, Barry Bonds testified before a federal grand jury for three hours in 2003, which led the government to charge him with 15 felony counts related to lying under oath. Eight years later -- with the list of charges slashed to four -- a jury deadlocked this week on three charges that Bonds lied but convicted him on one count of obstruction of justice.
As former New Jersey Nets forward Derrick Coleman would say: Whoop-de-damn-do.
The next folks on trial should be the federal prosecutors who spent nearly a decade and millions of dollars in pursuit of baseball's Home Run King because he used steroids. If that isn't a flagrant abuse of power and waste of tax dollars, then Bonds' head didn't grow in 2002 (and we know it did, based on our own eyesight and testimony from a San Francisco Giants equipment manager).
The trial proved nothing we didn't already know. Bonds admitted that he used steroids, but said he did so unwittingly. Virtually no one believes the latter part of the statement, because so many other major leaguers intentionally used the drugs during baseball's so-called Steroid Era, producing glaring changes in performance and physique. Surely the government could have found a better use for its time and resources than proving that Bonds knew he wasn't using "flaxseed oil" and "arthritic cream," as he testified.
The only thing we really learned is the extent of some friendships. Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer and childhood friend, went to prison four different times -- for more than a year in total -- because he wouldn't testify against the slugger. Otherwise, it's likely that Bonds would have been convicted on more than one charge and would have faced time in prison (which probably won't happen now).
But even that wouldn't have justified the lengths to which prosecutors went. They wouldn't have gone after an obscure, mediocre player in the same fashion, and there was no good reason to hunt Bonds the way they did.
"What bothers me is that you've got a very powerful federal government that has the money and time and resources to ruin someone's reputation," Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia told the Associated Press. Last month Kingston questioned the Food and Drug Administration about its decision to fund parts of the investigation into cyclist Lance Armstrong. "Why did it take eight years to get to this point on Barry Bonds?" Kingston said. "And with all the problems we've got, why are we sitting here at the end of an eight-year investigation?"