By Mike Steffanos
I received some great comments and e-mails on yesterday's post about Bonds' prosecution. Since I only dashed it off quickly before I knocked off for the evening, I'd like to take a moment to clarify my thoughts.
In no way am I defending the use of steroids or lying to a federal grand jury. I do feel that Bonds, due to his arrogant personality and obvious notoriety, has probably received too much of the blame for what was (and still may be) widespread use of performance enhancers in baseball.
I made this point in a comment to yesterday's post that I'd like to share here, since most readers don't read comments for older posts:
...I agree that Bonds' arrogance is responsible for his personal dilemma with this indictment. I find it mind-boggling to conceive that he felt he could get away with lying to a Fed grand jury when there were so many out there already digging up dirt on him. Maybe based on that arrogance alone he deserves this.
Along with [former President Bill] Clinton's prosecution, however, I am of a mind that the person or persons with the personal vendetta should also have to finance the investigation and prosecution rather than the American tax payer. They could have done some sort of telethon and I'm sure people would have contributed millions to nail the unpopular Bonds. Personally, I would contribute my money if someone would indict Bud Selig for perjury for continually denying that MLB knew steroid use was rampant. He's at least as big a jerk as Baroid. Unfortunately, his lies weren't made under oath.
Besides spending tons of our tax dollars on investigating a sport, the prosecutors in my mind went a little over the top in sticking it to Greg Anderson, Bonds' trainer. After pleading guilty and doing time for steroid distribution for distributing steroids and money laundering, Anderson spent more time in jail for refusing to testify against Bonds than anyone who was convicted of making and/or selling these drugs was sentenced to. Understandably the prosecutor wanted his testimony against Bonds very badly, but when it became clear that Anderson wouldn't testify, the feds became vindictive.
I'm sure many would argue that anything done or all of the money spent in the process of nailing Bonds -- if indeed he is ultimately nailed -- is worth it, both for nailing a high-profile cheater and also for making an example of him. To me, he's just a scapegoat for a much bigger problem. Maybe I am in the minority in this opinion, but I would rather focus time and energy on figuring out how to get all of this elaborate cheating out of the game as completely as possible, and for the government to spend our tax dollars in areas like energy and health that will benefit as many Americans as possible.