Friday, November 16, 2007

Barry Bonds*, Up the Creek? His Indictment and Thoughts…

(This is an article I have written for another publication - I'll probably clean it up and break it down, but read it below and let me know what you think...)


Thursday was a sad day for some; however, a good day for others.

As most sport fans have heard by now, all-time home run leader, Barry Bonds was indicted by a federal grand jury with four counts of perjury and one of obstructing justice. I didn’t think this would come; alas, personally I thought he would have gotten away with it by now.

However, it is now anything but the case. With the whole steroid debate being item one in baseball with the forthcoming results of the Mitchell Investigation, the indictment of Bonds marks the watershed of an era; however, the flood gates may be just opening and the worst is yet to come.

With the prospect of jail time, a trial, and facing the court of the public with all eyes of the world on him, it is conceivable that Bonds might have played his last game ever in his career in 2007.
It was a sad, a perhaps pathetic ending to one on the most brilliant and controversial careers in the annals of all sport. Blessed with great athletic ability and destined for Cooperstown, with or without drugs. Supremely talented, while at times, surly and difficult with fans and disliked by the media, Bonds did not endear himself to anyone perhaps outside of San Francisco due to the BALCO investigation.

Well, an asterisk for his home run record, the Hall of Fame, or the debate concerning the validity of numbers is the least of his worries – being locked an eight by ten cell for an extended period where prison guards tell you what to do should be.

With my limited knowledge of the law, I know this much is certain – the federal prosecutors crossed their "t's" and dotted their "i's", so there is preponderance of evidence against him, or else the case would not have been pursued for so long.

Then again, much like we have seen with the O.J. Simpson trial, with the right legal representation anyone could get off. I don't see Bonds pulling a page from the Michael Vick files -- I see him fighting tooth and nail to the very end.

It depends on what evidence there is that will determine whether Bonds gets off, pleads or winds up behind bars.

Bonds is being tarred and feathered as the example of rampant cheating and sports and lying.

However, what about everyone else?

We’re hypocritical, but we love to feel good about ourselves. Both Sheffield and Giambi didn’t come close to breaking records, thus they seem to have been forgotten; Bonds anger and regret.

Again, Bonds is not being indicted for using steroids, he’s in trouble for being less than honest under oath.

Our athletes today are gladiators, and we live and die vicariously through their exploits. Fans travel the world; spend their hard earned money to get face time and an autograph with their hero or heroine.

In the end, do we care whether or not our athletes are clean?

The stats say no. We all may complain and whine, but sports take up a particular vacuum in our society. Most people complain about the sanctity and purity of sports disappearing; however, do we stop talking about an event or events that for the most part are meaningless in the grand scheme of life?

Yes, we go on and on about the validity of the performances you see on the field and on the court; however, I take the approach of sports as I do of pro wrestling.

What you see in front of you isn’t necessarily reality.

The world has changed along with sports, technology and the media in general.

Steroids and performance enhancing drugs for many athletes in sports have served as a means to an end. No matter how much we have evolved as a society, cheating exists in all forms and sports are no exception.

We want our athletes to be role models, but can it ever be?

Let’s accept the modern day athlete for what he or she is – an entertainer and nothing more.

Professional sports, as much as I would love it to be, should not be a forum for social, or moral stands, except in the rarest of cases, like Jackie Robinson playing his first game in the majors. Sports should be celebrated for what they are – a diversion from the stresses, hardships and the ups and downs of life.

Bottom line, athletes are no different than all of us morally – they fall into temptation too, sadly.

The reaction towards Barry Bonds, says a lot about us. I am not justifying what he did; however, what about everyone else who has been accused of drug use and has lied about it? The only other athlete is in as much trouble as Bonds currently is Marion Jones, and she’s lost a lot as is.

I have also been further mystified by the response of baseball towards Bonds’ quest and whole steroid witch hunt, especially by commissioner Bud Selig. For a man who’s done a lot of good in baseball, while having a share of his own foibles, has really dropped the ball in the way he’s handled it.

Selig reacted as if the stench of Bonds was too much for him, and he’d rather have a colonoscopy than have anything to do with him. Many people, teams and publications got rich off him and they are enablers; but then again, in the end, it is Bonds who put what he allegedly did in his body.

Then again, I blame Selig as much as anyone.

In the end, I feel that Bonds is just a sign of our times – an athlete who did what he could to win and did what did for the money, glory and prove that he was the best.

Politicians lie, kids cheat on tests, married people cheat, actors and actresses spend umpteen amount of money on surgery to stop the aging clock, and in some office today, an employee is embezzling from his or her company, a CEO who had sent his or her company into the depths of hell is cashing out big because of their incompetence.

Bonds is a symbol of what greed does in America, as some get caught, some don’t – but he got the luck of the draw and will pay in one way or another. If it is not with his freedom, it’s when he wants to go out and do what ordinary people do, but he’ll have the “scarlet letter” for life.

I guess you reap what you sow – life can be a bitch, eh?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great website with plenty of good coverage! I found your article on and ended up reading like 10 of your stories lol!

I agree with one thing for sure, why Barry? Sure he may be guilty, but he's definitely not alone. Clean up the game, don't throw people in jail.

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