Barry Bonds: It's Not the Crime, It's the Coverup...

...when really, the investigation was the crime in the first place.

Well, they got Barry Bonds--not necessarily for actually committing a crime that might have, God forbid, harmed someone else's person or property, but for lying in the course of an investigation that nature and nature's God should have forbade the state from conducting at all.

Nothing much to add from me, except another big sigh. But we've been on the Bonds story like a first baseman on Rickey Henderson, so please see this partial list of past reason pieces on Bonds, drugs in sports, and the steps that led to this gross little injustice.

Matt Welch on the madness and injustice of the investigation in the course of which Bonds allegedly spoke those fateful fibs, from 2004.

Jacob Sullum asks: Why should sports be drug-free anyway? (Also from 2004)

Dayn Perry explains at length why steroids are not wrecking baseball. (From Jan. 2003)

Aaron Steinberg on Canseco on steroids. (June 2005)

Nick Gillespie on Bonds' record-breaking dinger.

And from June, Gillespie's general defense of Mr. Bonds achievements and the sad things his persecution says about America today.

And all those and more.

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  • ||

    Brian

    I suggest you start Free Drugs America [FDA].

    Oh, wait. That acronym's already taken...

    ;)

  • VM||

    and they went after him cuz they don't like him. c'est la vie.

    instead, how about a list of people who didn't juice in that era?

    Not so fast there, Nomar.

  • ||

    Sounds like he should ring Martha Stewart.

  • ||

    Not that I wouldn't give the bastard an asterisk--Hank's the man, biotch.

  • ||

    I shudder to think how much money they've pissed away investigating this. People aren't going to care because it's Barry Bonds, but for me the saddest part of the whole thing is the way prosecutors have come to abuse the Grand Jury process.

  • ||

    I despise Barry Bonds. He's an asshole. If the Tigers signed him, I'd boycott my home team. I am presently shedding no tears about his predicament.

    I had to get that off my chest. He should not be prosecuted. I'll defend him vocally because he is getting railroded for
    A) Being an asshole.
    B) Breaking Hank Aaron's HR record.
    C) Cheating while he did it. (Cheating at sports is NOT against the law. Sports governing bodies take care of that shit. Ask Marion Jones about that).
    D) MLB turned a blind eye to steroid abuse because home runs fill the bleachers, now they're in CYA mode.
    E) He lied to a grand jury investigating something the government has no business intruding into.

    A thru D are the real reasons he was indicted.
    E was the excuse.
    Did I mention that I REALLY, REALLY CAN'T STAND THE COCKSUCKER? I'm still pissed off about it, though. Freedom is for everybody, even the asswipes you can't stand.

    I don't have the figures, but I'm confident that at least 10X man hours were spent on this case compared to the average unsolved homocide here in Motown. Priorities, you know.

    Fuck this, I just typed myself into a Tullamore Dew on the rocks mood. I'll be back in a few.

  • ||

    I heard on ESPN that 90%of federal cases end in guilty.They forgot to mention most are plea deals from people scared to fight or do not have the money for a proper defense.This case is about the gov, enforcing baseballs rules,nothing more.Barry Bonds,drug war vic # ??????

  • Kolohe||

    I heard on ESPN that 90%of federal cases end in guilty. They forgot to mention most are plea deals from people scared to fight or do not have the money for a proper defense

    Although there anecdotal evidence that being a rich black pro athlete gives you a 50/50 chance of beating a rap. (no data yet, though, if you double down)

  • teh||

    Didn't government officials leak information about the super-secret grand jury proceedings that were harmful to Bonds a few years ago? Consistency would demand that they face charges as well I would think.

    I know the rich are less likely then many other people to be subjected to government officials abusing their power like this, but it should still really bother people. It's too bad it will probably get reported like he is being charged with actually using steroids rather than for his supposed missteps during the grand jury proceedings. Its almost an exact replay of what happened to Martha Stewart.

  • ||

    Its almost an exact replay of what happened to Martha Stewart.

    Because in the feds mind, even if you aren't guilty, well, you oughta be. I don't mind prosecuting lying as a crime when it's tied to some harm caused to others...but he did steroids to himself!

    The State...like the terminator...it will keep coming and coming until it rips your f'in heart out.

  • Balloon Maker||

    What a waste of time.

    As a huge baseball fan (who wouldn't boycott my team if they signed Bonds. Though it's unlikely a National League team on the east coast that already has a 50 year old left fielder on the roster would sign him, but i digress) I'm just done caring about steroids. It happened. We liked watching home runs and the league liked asses in the seats. Get over it. No need to persecute a man just because he's a giant dickwad and broke a very nice man's home run record.

    Go after Roger Clemens if you go after anyone. Just kidding, sort of.

  • ||

    I wonder what George Will is typing today?

  • ||

    Lying to a grand jury can't be allowed. It doesn't really matter what the merits of the investigation are. You can't lie to a grand jury. Period. End of sentence.

    You want some nutcase prosecutor deciding not to prosecute a cop who perjured himself in a police shooting investigation, because he thinks there never should have been an investigation in the first place?

  • ||

    Lying to a grand jury can't be allowed.

    While I don;t disagree, all prosecutions are decisions to prioritize...in the case of your example police shooting, harm has been done to others. In the case of Bonds (or Martha Stewart), they harmed noone (at least as I understand it).

    I think lying, absent very clear proof, is often a subjective detemination. In this case, I think there are other priorities that warrant pursuit of justice.

  • ||

    gaijin,

    Let's not forget, the he perjured himself to the Balco grand jury. When you've got somebody running a racket it gets a little muddier. And I say that as somebody who opposes drug and gambling prohibition.

  • ||

    In other words, yeah, it really is more about the coverup than the crime.

    I am far more worried about the integrity of the grand jury process than about the use of steroids, or even about Balco's steroid racket.

    And yes, that goes for the leakers, too.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Nick Gillespie on Bonds' record-breaking dinger.

    I thought Magic Johnson still held the record for using his dinger most effectively.

  • ||

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

    Hank's the man, biotch.

    I'll give Hank his due BUT, Pro L, The Babe is the real man, man. Always was, Always will be.

    Babe Ruth's idea of juicing was a kegger and a steak.

  • ||

    Dude, he said Magic Johnson

    All the chicks say that about TWC. Dude, you have a Magic Johnson............

  • ||

    Actually I think Wilt the Stilt had the record for using his Magic Johnson, er ah, dinger, followed closely by, CRS........ You know, I just don't follow sports much anymore.

    Kobie! Thank you.

  • ||

    Its almost an exact replay of what happened to Martha Stewart.

    Well, except I still think her 62nd should have been called foul.

  • douglas Gray||

    Awhile back, there was a huge raid on the steroid business in Orlando. See:http://grg51.typepad.com/steroid_nation/2007/02/breaking_news_h.html

    The sad part is that tax funded federal law enforcement resources are wasted on this. I agree with David (Above), what a waste and abuse of the grand jury process. Let professional baseball take care of it.

    It will be interesting to see how the vote turns out if Barry ever gets a nomination for the Hall of Fame.

  • ||

    I have not been following this, because I... don't actually give a shit. Is this about lying to the Congressional Committee on Government Reform?

  • Juan||

    I'm with joe in that lying to a grand jury is a big no-no. But at least in Juantopia, there wouldn't have been a grand jury in this case to begin with.

    What really disgusts me is the reaction of the baseball establishment. You'd think MLB has its own Ministry of Truth, working (or at least expected to work) on deleting Bonds' achievements. One cannot know, but there is evidence that steroids were just a rising tide lifting all boats. In what became a great symbolic moment IMO, the pitcher who gave up #755 (whose name escapes me at the moment) tested positive and was suspended while in the minors.

  • greenish||

    Can we assume that his lying was simply strategic? I mean that if he hadn't lied he would have been screwed, so he lied just in case it would work, and it didn't, so now he's screwed just the same.

    In that case I don't think it would make sense to consider obstruction any different from the original crime.

  • ||

    Didn't Barry's lawyers ever explain the 5th Amendment to him?

  • ||

    You can't lie to a grand jury. Period. End of sentence.

    Unless it's "just a blowjob"...


  • Guy Montag||

    Well, they got Barry Bonds--not necessarily for actually committing a crime that might have, God forbid, harmed someone else's person or property, but for lying in the course of an investigation that nature and nature's God should have forbade the state from conducting at all.

    Almost as serious a violation as that of one "Scooter" Libby!

  • ||

    Isn't this exactly what they got Bill Clinton for? It wasn't the blowjob, it was lying about the blowjob. It was a waste of time with Bill, and it is a waste of time with Barry.

    Not that it matters, but it would suit me just fine if base ball ceased to exist. That adults earn money to play it, and other adults pay (a lot) to watch it is astonishing.

  • ||

    What gets me is that, from my reading of various articles on this, he had immunity for anything he might have disclosed to the grand jury. He only lost the immunity for perjury or obstruction.

    So, in effect, Bonds could have gotten on that witness stand and admitted: "Yeah, I shot that juice directly into my left eyesocket, just to see if it would make my eyelid muscles strong enough to snap an orangewood toothpick." And nobody could have said boo to a goose. Would it have leaked to the public? Maybe. But we've already established that as a butts-in-seats thing, nobody gave a rat's butt-in-seat.

    But he didn't do this, Our Mister Bonds. He figured he'd try for the freakin' trifecta and not only be able to live without consequence to but to lie about it, as well, and also without consequence.

    And that, to me, is the unforgiveable part.

    Not that he lied to the grand jury, per se, but that he had no real excuse for it, and did anyway.

  • ||

    What gets me about this whole thing is that this is about baseball. Not a human endeavor with serious consequences, but baseball. Who cares?

  • Christ on a Cracker||

    I may be wrong here, but...

    Martha Stewart was convicted for lying to an investigator during an interview. Barry is charged with lying to a grand jury while under oath. I think there is a difference.

    (with all the standard disclaimers: none of the government's business, etc.)

    CoC

  • ||

    No, there shouldn't be laws prohibiting the use of steroids. Having said that, if you've been subpeonaed to appear in front of a grand jury, and you've been given immunity, meaning one could admit to the Lindbergh kidnapping, aiding the Rosenbergs, conspiring with O.J. Simpson to kill his wife, and failure to pay parking tickets, and the testimony can't be used in subsequent prosecutions, and you instead choose to lie to the grand jury, well, such a person is just too damned stupid to have any concern for. Life is short. Why spend any time worrying about the travails of wealthy morons?

  • ||

    Any one on here against the drug war should be on Barry's side.He was not accused of braking any laws.His testimony was for a hunt into personal choices people make all the time.How many folks here have things they do not want to share?Is it to the point that the government can sift through you life for no reason and expect you to brake.They gave him immunity so he could not take the 5th,even for trivial personal matters.Remember,in a grand jury the state can ask anything they wish no matter how off point.I see a day when you will have to say if you smoked near your kids.

  • ||

    The comments here have made me re-evaluate my opposition to his prosecution. IF he had immunity for his grand jury testimony, joe's take on the case is correct. That there ever was a grand jury, that megabucks of taxpayer money was spent on this fiasco, is an outrage, but you can't lie under oath at a grand jury proceeding.

    That said, he's still being prosecuted because he's an asshole.

  • ||

    E) He lied to a grand jury investigating something the government has no business intruding into.

    This isn't necessarily true. Barry Bonds works in an industry that has a federally-granted monopoly. He's arguably made more money than he would have without this ridiculous federal law. As far as I'm concerned, they guy is a pseudo-federal employee, and as such, the feds should be able to dig into his business (baseball) all they like.

  • ||

    None of the government's business.

    Bonds did break the rules of MLB and he should be bounced like Pete Rose.

    RB, I'm not sure I agree that MLB is a monopoly that is granted by the government. Can you elaborate on that?

  • ||

    Baseball has been given an anti-trust exemption. Here is a good explanation of the situation as it stands today, Still anybody can start a new baseball league if they like. The reserve clause is gone as a result of collective bargaining. The only (?) difference between MLB today and other professional sports leagues is that franchise relocation can be vetoed by the league. All of this has nothing to do with "juicing" by major league ballplayers. John McCain thinks congress should get invlved, but JohnMcCain is an statist ass. MLB is taking steps to address the problem, so the feds should stay out.

    Barry Bonds' problems stem from an investigation into a laboratory (BALCO) that illegally supplied federally regulated performance enhancing substances to atheletes. He allegedly lied under oath to a grand jury about his knowledge of those events.

    IMHO, The government shouldn't be concerned about what people put in their bodies, hence my statement
    E) He lied to a grand jury investigating something the government has no business intruding into.

    Major league baseball is free to conduct testing, (they do now), but this is all really part of the War on Drugs sanity.

    It's kinda cool that ESPN had the writeup I linked to. I love the media explosion.

  • ||

    Thanks J Sub,

    As a hard core libertarian I put anti-trust law into the same basket as the drug war.

    And, of course, I remain on strike against MLB as I have been for 25 years or so. :-)

  • ||

    And, of course, I remain on strike against MLB as I have been for 25 years or so. :-)

    I forgave them, but apparently not everyone has.

  • ||

    Barry Bonds, meet Bill Clinton.

  • ||

    I forgave them, but apparently not everyone has.

    J Sub, I was Italian in another life. We don't forget.

  • ||

    J Sub, I was Italian in another life. We don't forget.

    I'm Irish, we not really good at that forget and forgive crap either. I'm trying to rise above my roots here. ;-)

  • ||

    What I find troubling is this. They wanted to punish Barry Bonds but didn't have a law to punish him with. Given his defiant track record and recent history of grand jury leaks, they knew that he'd never admit to using steroids while on the stand, and he couldn't plead the 5th(Not that he would anyway, taking 5th amendment protection is always perceived as saying "I AM GUILTY" in the court of public opinion and the media). Either way, Bonds was screwed. His choice was between headlines screaming "BONDS ADMITS STEROID USE!" and perjuring himself and being subject to an federal investigation.

  • ||

    If they asterisk Bonds, then they better note that the Babe never had to hit against the Satch and the Preacher.

  • ||

    Yes and they better also note the Babe's 75 uncounted home runs. Foul by the rules then, fair in today's major leagues. Also might want to note that he didn't get the six extra games that Maris and Hank got.

    Besides, despite how great Satch and Preach were, Babe would have only faced them now and again. Never if they played in the National League. 8 teams, 4 starters, 154 games. Babe would have faced each no more than four times a season. Not even close to enough to skew the record as much as the homeruns called foul.

  • Juan||

    Bonds did break the rules of MLB and he should be bounced like Pete Rose.

    No he didn't.

  • Tom R||

    AAS and other enhancers are safer than people realise!

  • ||

    """Any one on here against the drug war should be on Barry's side.He was not accused of braking any laws"""

    He is being accused of breaking a law. Perjury is against the law

    I'll say the same I said about Libby. If you didn't break a law, don't lie about what you did. Once you lie under oath, you broke a law.

    The drug war has nothing to do with it. I think the real question is, did baseball have an no steriod policy prior to the investigation. I don't think they did. Anyone know?

    """" Either way, Bonds was screwed. His choice was between headlines screaming "BONDS ADMITS STEROID USE!" and perjuring himself and being subject to an federal investigation.""""

    Is that really a tough choice? Only one was against the law and that's the path he took. Stupid him. But hey, he'll get his day in court. Perjury is not easy to prove. If he's smart he didn't write down his steroid use in his notepad.

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