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Lance Williams on Barry Bonds

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

By James Harris

(Page 3)

Harris: But what about McGwire?  He didn’t lie at that testimony, and you watched it, probably as I did, and he said, “You know what, I don’t want to talk about the past,” so he never faced those demons.

Williams: The difference between McGwire and Bonds is that McGwire was fortunate enough not to be obtaining drugs from an outfit that was under federal law enforcement scrutiny.  That’s the whole difference.  Bonds happened to be, through his own misfortune, a client at BALCO, which the government had targeted as a steroid mill.  McGwire—there’s no other inference one could draw from that testimony before Congress then that Mac was a juicer.  That’s what Jose Canseco said, and Jose was sitting—what?—10 feet from him?

Harris: Exactly.

Williams: Mac could’ve said, “You know, this is a lie.  I didn’t do it,” and instead he said, “I don’t want to talk about the past.”  You saw the truth about Mark’s career revealed in those remarks.  The reluctance to deny it spoke volumes.


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Harris: But what was it about BALCO?  Was it the type of drug?  Was it the secrecy?  What made the government so hot for these guys?

Williams: I think what got them cranked up was the knowledge that an undetectable steroid was being distributed there.  The original focus of BALCO was track and field, and there was a track meet at Stanford University in the summer of 2003.  “The Nationals,” they’re called.  The head man at BALCO, Victor Conte, was using ... was distributing—and fairly well-known among other competitors—was distributing this stuff called “The Clear,” which was a steroid but it was one that, because it had been tweaked in terms of its molecular structure, the testers couldn’t find it when they ran the urine and blood of the athletes, and so it was like a complete free pass to juice.  And I think when the authorities learned that this was the dynamic of BALCO, that’s what got them cranked up.

Harris: I was in the car with my good buddy the other day, and he said this of Barry Bonds: Not only was he taking drugs—that was one thing, and I’d love to hear your response to his thought—but he was cheating, he sought out to hide the fact that he was taking drugs, then he went out publicly and lied about that fact, and then he was an asshole about it.

Williams: And I think that does describe the dynamic.  I don’t know how this would’ve played out if Bonds were a warm and lovable athletic hero.  Maybe it would’ve played out slightly differently, but, of course, he wouldn’t be the athlete he is.  That whole prickly side of his personality and that arrogance and so forth—I think that’s part of what made him such a great competitor, so you can’t really separate it.  Certainly, though, he wasn’t the only guy who used drugs.  Unfortunately, he was one of a handful of ballplayers who were dragged in before a grand jury and asked about it.  In my opinion he used poor judgment and didn’t  ‘fess up and now has this big mess on his hands.  There’s no guarantee that he’ll be convicted at a trial at all.  This is San Francisco.  He is the well-loved sports figure.  At least in this town.  But who wants to go through this mess?

Harris: It is a mess, and this is a federal case, is it not?

Williams: It is.

Harris: And their conviction rate is 90 percent?

Williams: Yeah.  He might beat the case or fight it to a hung jury, but at the end of the day, you really get whupped on in that process, and I don’t think his reputation is going to emerge in any improved shape, even if he manages that.  It’s just too darned bad.  He could have, I think, headed this off, even after the grand jury testimony was transcribed.  I think he could’ve had somebody call over there and say, “I want to amend my statement,” and they might have really let it go.  But it’s fairly inflamed now; it’s to the point of an indictment.  His trainer sat in prison for a year rather than testifying against him.  It’s just gotten out of hand.

Harris: Do you think you can compare them?  You can look at what Marion Jones did a couple of weeks ago and she came out crying and said, “You know what?  I lied.”  And we don’t seem to be talking about that as much.  But I still wonder if they would’ve been that kind to Barry Bonds because of the type of person he was before any of these stories broke.

Williams: Mm-hmm.  It’s unimaginable to me that Barry would go out there and humble himself the way Marion did.

Harris: Yeah.

Williams: That’s just not the way he’s wired, so if he would do something like that, it would be a way of turning the temperature down on this thing and maybe working it out, but it’s so hypothetical, because he’s really not that kind of guy.

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By rage, December 29, 2007 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
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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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