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Lance Williams on Barry Bonds

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Posted on Dec 7, 2007
Barry Bonds
Aislin, The Montreal Gazette

By James Harris

(Page 2)

Harris: So you’re talking about Marion Jones, Trevor Graham, Tammy Thomas and Barry Bonds.  Is that it?

Williams: Plus athletes who were subpoenaed before the grand jury or who were interviewed by federal agents.  Most of them told the truth and they’ve gone on with their lives, one way or the other.

Harris: So they only have gone after the four.  I find that problematic, though, Lance, that other people were doing this, that they were using steroids, but because these four lied, they seem to be facing a higher consequence.

Williams: I don’t understand how the federal government prosecuted this case from the get-go.  To me the whole drug conspiracy at BALCO really was for the benefit of the millionaire athletes to immunize them from prosecution and to actually protect their “privacy.”  The government sealed all the files regarding the drug use by most of the athletes.  I just didn’t understand why they were doing it the way they were doing it.  But then I didn’t understand why they were so hot to put me in prison, either.

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Harris: This has been a mess.  They appoint [former Sen.] George Mitchell the private prosecutor to handle this case.  What has been your opinion on the way that Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, has handled this steroids investigation?

Williams: Commissioner Selig is constrained by the competing forces in baseball.  The union is strong, the owners are powerful and willful, and he doesn’t have a free hand.  Having said that, though, he’s also an extremely reactive guy.  He’s never really tried to get out in front of this problem, which has been building for years.  The current strategy, which actually was developed after our book came out, was to hire a former U.S. senator, George Mitchell, to do an investigation of steroid use in the sport.  Now that’s been going on since March of 2006.  Some sort of report is supposed to be released later this year.  And the real interesting thing is what baseball will do with the information, assuming it’s a credible report.  If it is, there’s going to be lots of athletes named in it, lots of ballplayers named in it, and it really could shake the game up.  And I just don’t know what they’re going to do as a follow-up. 

Harris: Has there been a scandal in baseball of this magnitude since the Black Sox scandal in the early 20th century?

Williams: I don’t think so.  There’ve been incidents that were troubling, but I think if Mitchell does a good report, you’re going to find out that lots and lots of players for a period of 10 years were using performance-enhancing drugs, that the game was all distorted as a result, the players exposing themselves to major health risks in an effort to get these big contracts and hit the long ball and so forth, and the game’s leadership turning a blind eye to it.  It’s not a pretty picture.  It seems to me that they need to get a handle on the problem to restore the game.  You don’t want it to go the way of wrestling where in 20 years they’ll have a fan base who’s still interested in baseball and the rest will be saying, “Why do you care about that?  Everyone knows it’s crooked.”

Harris: Exactly.  You make the wrestling comparison.  And there were drugs involved there in the middle ‘80s and the ...

Williams: Yeah, sure.

Harris: ... has come under fire for that as well.  Lance, let me play devil’s advocate here, because a few columns around the country take you to task and they say, “You know what?  You have uncovered business that should not be uncovered.  Everybody—from Mark McGwire to Sammy Sosa, to ... you pick a guy that we all love—was probably doping.”  What do you say to those people that say that you ruined baseball?

Williams: I think baseball runs the risk of ruining itself by allowing the use of illegal, powerful, harmful drugs and really forcing these young athletes to use them if they want to make the team.  It’s just not a good situation.  It’s not the sport that’s being presented to the fans.  Baseball says it’s a clean game.  Well, it needs to clean itself up, and I think the stories, to the extent that they are an agent for making that happen, I’m happy to be a part of it.  Lots of fans are uncomfortable with the idea of the home run record being held by a guy who’s using banned drugs, and they’re going to be uncomfortable with the results of the Mitchell report, too.  And I think that discomfort reflects what the fans really want.  They might want to see the long ball and might they want to see the record-breaking performances, but they want to believe that they’re being done on the natural.  Baseball has that obligation to try to make that happen if it can.


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By rage, December 29, 2007 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since when is it a crime for the President of the United States to get blown under his desk by a willing consenting intern who is of legal age? I’ll give you that it’s amoral, sinful, and the true mark of an infidel. But, there is nothing statutory on the books labeling the act a crime. Furthermore, impeaching Big Dog for lying about having his wick waxed was a waste of tax-payer money. What infidel do you know who would have confessed to having cheated on his wife on the job with a twenty-something intern? It’s not like thousands of executive officers throughout the American corporatocracy aren’t just as guilty of the same charge. Rarely, though, even after indisputably establishing overwhelming substantiation of the low-life cheater’s guilt, do the guilty get more than divorced.

Get over it. In the end, all you canting smug selfrighteous self-appointed agents of God Almighty will not judge the masses for lying. Actually, tarring and feathering liars is illegal and prosecutable by law as criminal aggravated assault and battery. I know, it is so unfair.

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By rage, December 28, 2007 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With the Mitchell Report naming so many big names, does Bonds really make much of a difference?

A myriad of baseball stars whose names weren’t mentioned have abused steroids and human growth hormone to give body mass to their skill. Most, if not all of them, in and out of the Mitchell Report or simple public scrutiny, have lied about the “clear” at some point.

Sure, we selfrighteously want to hold these guys to a higher standard. They, after all, are the over compensated role models raising our children. We don’t want our kids cheating, as it were, to sate the fans griping whines for faster pitches and longers hits out of the park. Yet, baseball, especially after the 1996 strike, was a very bland form of entertainment, when there were no floating asterixes to inject excitment of 60 or 70 homers in a single season. Anabolic steroids and human growth hormone fixed all that for us. We were all screaming in glee when Sosa and McGuire went after the Marris record of 61 homers in a season. Fast pitches. A lot of long balls. A bunch of regular-built guys that suddenly beefed up to shame Mr. Universe? These guys suddenly became the men little boys wanted to be when they grew up.

The fact remains that most of these baseballers still had to have a great deal of talent and well developed skill to play reasonably good pro baseball, “clear” or no “clear.” What’s more is the “clear” isn’t going away. Professional athletes from all the leagues of all the sports around the world are sneaking around to do as much “clear” as they’re doing weed, booze, blow, and whores/groupies. The only thing that will change is the price for acquiring clear piss to throw regulators off a guilty athlete’s tracks. The pros test and punnish the pro they want to test and punnish.

They can’t justifiably punnish Bonds, while Clements, Palmiere, and McGuire walk free. So, now what?

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By Frank, December 27, 2007 at 6:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The world is tired of the racist inference to Barry Bonds.

How’s this for fodder, the “trial” of the century was the impeachment of Bill Clinton for the very same reason, not the crime-but lying about it!

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By John Borowski, December 20, 2007 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not only professional sports that are corrupted. It is virtually everything since the Republicans (Aka Conservatives right wingers) have gained full control of this beloved country that is totally corrupted.

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By Frank Cajon, December 17, 2007 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

The world has enough serious problems that need our attention, and MLB and its Steroid King aren’t among them. It is a sport, he is a cheat, as are half he players in the game. He’s an asshole too, but at the end of the day he hasn’t killed anyone, tortured anyone, or committed crimes of corruption on a national scale. Who cares?

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By Hemi*, December 15, 2007 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

This has dragged on long enough due to undo attention from prominent morons such as Senator John McCain. The kernel of truth at the center of this issue is American sports fans have to grow up. Baseball is an entertainment business. Always has been, always will be. If you hold up anyone as a role model you are setting yourself up for a let down. They are not super human, only human. They have a quirky talent for hitting a round ball squarely with a round bat. That’s it. No special endowments are tied to that. They can be great guys or scum balls. We are all subject to the pressures of our mortality and our morality is only along for the ride. Or as we’ve heard before “everyone has their price”.

The owners are businessmen, the players (thanks to free agency) are businessmen and the rest of us have the choice whether to buy their entertainment offerings. The owners and players don’t care if any of the rest of us live or die. If they did you would think them insane. In the big scheme do you care whether strangers live or die? And if you say you do, how do you get through a day with all of the grief you must endure? Strangers die by the minute. And yet many of us, me included, live and die with these entertainments.

It’s time to grow up. First, take away the baseball anti-trust exemption. Make the owners play on the same field as every other business. Second, make the use of steroids and any performance enhancements legal if not mandatory. Do you care if Barry B’s heart gives out at the plate? He doesn’t, why should you? It’s entertainment. Welcome to the Coliseum. They are well paid get over it. Bigger, faster, stronger, who cares if you die on the field? Just thinning the herd. Next batter please. Role models for young athletes? You’re f***ing kidding, right? They gave that up a long time ago. See Babe, I never met a beer or a prostitute I didn’t love, Ruth. And that was just in the clubhouse. They are only human, not super human.

Now you say you don’t like the mandatory enhancements. Good, neither will the players. The point is they have to find out nobody cares and then they will step up and care for themselves. See how cooperative the player’s union will be with mandatory injections. It’s like the guy on the bridge railing when you say to him “Look if you’re gonna jump, mind if I push?”

Play ball!

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By John Borowski, December 11, 2007 at 4:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When a country has professional sports you have absolute corruption because of the money that is involved. To single out one person out of many is a farce. This is why many countries don’t want professional sports.

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By antwoine, December 10, 2007 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is Truthdig? When will you have your one-on-one interview with Barry Bonds? When will you dumbass reporters start using the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” in reference to the case against Barry Bonds that has not yet gone to trial? It is going to trial, and it will be a waste of tax dollars just to try to bring a black man to his knees to be humbled for your amusement! So you can have your “second-trial-of-the-century”! Making comparisons of O.J. Simpson?????? That was a murder case that involved the death of two people! This is hardly a case of life and death. It is ultimatley about a game! A game where greedy white men play God over our society’s “national past-time” and get filthy rich and could care less whether any one was not doing anything to make them more money! It was reported last week that they made over 6 billion last year alone!!!!! They have their money protected by the government and that stupid anti-trust protection they enjoy. So what Congress threatened to take it away….they should have just taken it away to show they were serious and had some balls, and you reporters could have led the charge as much as you lead the charge in bashing Barry Bonds. Take up your mighty pen and write something that will change the world and make it better for everyone!!! You bash the players while the owners get a free pass to keep benefiting from the players. Are the players at fault? What they do is merely a symptom of the bigger problem, They do not run baseball. They do not hire the team doctor’s that can get them any drug they want. They do not pay themselves! You want justice? Justice for whom? Balco has been shut down. Steroids do not make you better at anything, but you sure will recover from any injury a whole lot faster without them or any anti-biotic. Last statement, then I am done. Take 100 sports writer’s, give them all steroids once the people vs. Barry Bonds trial begins, have them all report on the same things and once the trial is over collect all their work and see whose is best. Then they will see the real effect of how much steroids makes you better.

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