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Wednesday 29, Oct 2008

  There are far more heinous crimes than steroid use says Barry Bonds defender

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barry bonds steroids

Nowadays, it’s rare to hear someone defending Barry Bonds except from this disgraced slugger’s legal defense team. Almost everybody seems to have this inclination to punch Bonds in the nuts these days. We said ‘almost everybody’ because here’s someone who has this ‘clearer’ perspective on the issue. Excerpts from the Baseball Digest Daily blog:

I’m amazed that Bonds engenders so much hatred that people all but imply that they’re cool with rigged pennant races so long as Barry Bonds somehow is harmed by it.

We think of some of the heinous acts committed by folks employed by MLB: people abuse their spouses, utter death threats to children they fathered, commit rape and sexual assault, are vocal bigots, abuse and deal drugs, risk (and harm) innocent people’s lives by drinking and driving, commit various felonies etc. but people have saved up their vitriol for a man who (1) is a rude, self centered individual–a common species in MLB (2) has used anabolic steroids–also a common species in MLB and (3) has treated members of the media poorly (see 1 and 2) because…?

Bonds perjury trial is scheduled to commence March 2, 2009 and he is facing 15 federal charges of lying to a grand jury about his steroid use; he pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Bonds currently holds the all-time Major League Baseball home run record with 762 and is the recipient of the most number of Most Valuable Player awards – seven in all.

Bonds is the central figure in two books Game of Shadows and Love Me, Hate Me. In Game of Shadows, written by reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, Bonds was alleged to have used stanozolol (winstrol) and other anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs to deliver those impressive home runs.

In the biographical Love Me, Hate Me, Bonds was described as “an insufferable braggart, whose mythical home runs are rivaled only by his legendary ego.” Writer Jeff Pearlman sought more than five hundred interviews to present to the public the persona of the now notorious slugger – both in and out of the playing field.

Friday 19, Sep 2008

  Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Bill Romanowski: They were hateable athletes even before their steroid use has been exposed

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roger clemens steroidsAn interesting article from Washington Post on September 15 which poses the question: “Who is, or was, the most hateable successful athlete?” Far more interesting is the result of the irreverent survey as three of the Top 5 athletes have been implicated in steroid scandal, particularly the BALCO steroid scandal. Major League Baseball’s Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are tied at the number one spot while National Football League’s Bill Romanowski is at number 4.

On Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens:

Both men (Bonds and Clemens) enjoyed late-career renaissances that seemed remarkably impressive at first, until a pile of evidence made us all feel remarkably naïve. …But the beauty of both men is that they were hateable long before anyone began to contemplate what they were jabbing into themselves. Bonds became widely known as surly, arrogant and indifferent to fans back when he still played in Pittsburgh. He hardly endeared himself to the Pirates faithful by repeatedly referring to then-teammate Andy Van Slyke, a fan favorite and a very good player in his own right, as “The Great White Hope.” When Bonds returned to Pittsburgh for the first time as a Giant, he was booed with the cathartic venom of thousands of people finally telling the guy how they really felt about him. But Barry has nothing on Rog when it comes to charming remarks. After winning the 1986 AL MVP, Clemens was informed of Hank Aaron’s opinion that once-every-five-days players shouldn’t be eligible for the award. Clemens’s take? “I wish he were still playing. I’d probably crack his head open to show him how valuable I was.” Nice. Then there was the time during the 1990 ALCS when he told Oakland pitcher Bob Welch, a recovering alcoholic, “Have another beer, be a man.” And who can forget Clemens throwing a bat shard at nemesis Mike Piazza during the World Series? Yup, both Bonds and Clemens are a lot alike. Mostly in not being liked.

On Bill Romanowski:

Many think that, with his nonstop antics, Terrell Owens is spitting in the face of the game. Well, here’s a guy who really did hock one, right into the face of an opponent. That’s just one of Romanowski’s heinous acts; he also kicked a player in the head, broke a teammate’s eye socket with a punch and snapped an opponent’s finger. Oh yeah, and he later admitted to loading up on steroids, so he was a dirty player and a cheat.

The three athletes’ named were dragged down when the BALCO steroid distribution network was exposed by the media, notably by The San Francisco Chronicle journalists Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. The two reporters later on collaborated with Game of Shadows, a book chronicling the BALCO scandal.

In March 2006, former US Senator George J. Mitchell was appointed by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to lead the investigation regarding use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in the league. Selig was pressured by the controversies created by the publication of the Game of Shadows. In December 2007, the explosive Mitchell Report was released, which implicated more than 80 former and current baseball players.

Saturday 09, Aug 2008

  Shane Mosley says Victor Conte is mostly wrong about his steroid allegations

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Shane Mosley SteroidsChampion boxer Shane Mosley is a fighter by heart and to him quitting is not an option. That philosophy has worked for him in the ring and he hopes it’s going to do him service in the legal arena as well.

Mosley’s defamation suit against Victor Conte and the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) has been dismissed in the San Francisco Federal Court and Mosley immediately filed similar suit in a state court in New York.

James Wagstaffe, Conte’s lawyer, said he would file a motion to argue that New York is an improper jurisdiction.

“He’s seeking publicity,” Wagstaffe said of Mosley. “He was facing bad publicity. His suit was about to be thrown out. He’s suing because he wants the world to know he sued. It’s a process case, and at the end of the day, when people bring libel suits to make a point, the truth follows.”

“Shane Mosley is going to soon find out that the truth packs a powerful punch,” said Conte. “I am going to knock him out in a court of law.”

Conte is the founder of BALCO and is now called as the ‘mastermind of the biggest doping ring in the history of sports’. In 2003, the so-called BALCO Affair grabbed international attention because of the status of the personalities that were implicated.

The BALCO Legacy

Numerous professional athletes, including Marion Jones, Bill Romanowski, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds, were reportedly supplied with steroids and performance boosters. Subsequently, a federal inquiry took place conducting investigations and procuring evidence against athletes, coaches, trainers, as well as those connected with BALCO.

A couple of those involved in said scandal have been found guilty, mostly of perjury charges.

Marion Jones is currently serving her six-month prison term for perjury involving check fraud case and use of banned compounds.

Trevor Graham, the famed US athletics coach to many elite athletes, including Jones, was convicted in May 2008 of one count of lying to federal investigators.

Conte himself spent four months in prison and another four months under house arrest for one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids and a second count of laundering a portion of a check.

In December 2007, The Mitchell Report was released. United States Senator George Mitchell conducted the investigation on the use of steroids and performance-enhancing substances in the Major League.

Mitchell was appointed by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at the height of the controversy created by the publication of the book Game of Shadows by San Francisco Chronicle investigative reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada in 2006. Williams and Fainaru-Wada were the reporters who exposed the BALCO Affair. Game of Shadows chronicles the use of banned compounds by MLB players, including Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield.

Of Books and Crooks?

Taking cue from the authors of Game of Shadows Conte is now planning to publish a tell-all book, which includes the allegations he made against Mosley.

It was March 30 this year when it was announced by the New York Daily News that Conte is scheduled to write BALCO: The Straight Dope on Barry Bonds, Marion and What We Can Do to Save Sports.

Mosley’s attorney, Judd Burstein, meanwhile said that they are ready for a legal counter.
“As soon as they publish the book we’re going to sue them the next day,” Burstein said to the Daily News.

According to Burstein, the new suit against Conte demands for at least $2 million in compensatory and at least $10 million in punitive damages. He added that they are ready also to sue the insurance company underwriting Skyhorse Publishing for defamation. Skyhorse is the publisher of Conte’s book.

Conte bared his allegations about Mosley’s doping to the public on March 30, telling several media groups that Mosley was very much in the know of what he was getting from the BALCO founder.

Three days later Mosley sued Conte.

Mosley has repeatedly denied that he has knowingly take steroids and other PEDs. He said he thought the substances he was provided with were legal and healthy compounds. According to Burstein, his client has provided the same statement for the grand jury which was investigating BALCO in 2003.

“Shane’s never denied that he took the stuff,” said Burstein. “He just didn’t know what it was.”

Conte, however, was saying otherwise and offered evidence to support his claim.

Conte said he has calendars that provide vital details about Mosley’s doping protocol. Along with Mosley’s former trainer Derryl Hudson, Conte has filed a sworn affidavit detailing how he directly explained to the boxer that the compounds were steroids and erythropoietin or what is commonly known as EPO. Conte and Hudson had also stated in their affidavits that Conte demonstrated to Mosley how to self-administer EPO.

“This dismissal is proof that the case has no merit,” said Wagstaffe of Mosley’s case in San Francisco. “After we submitted proof that Mr. Conte’s statements were true, Mosley and his attorneys dismissed the California lawsuit.”

Jeff Novitsky, a lead investigator on the BALCO steroid scandal, has also directly implicated Mosley. Novitsky reported that a document found at a BALCO lab indicated that the boxer had received designer steroids known as The Clear and The Cream, which were later identified as tetrahydrogestrinone and testosterone cream, respectively.
Defamation suits en vogue

Defamation suits seem to be the trend nowadays in sports world. Another BALCO-related suit was by that of Roger Clemens against his former trainer Brian McNamee. Clemens and McNamee were two of the most prominent names involved in the BALCO Affair.

In January this year, Clemens filed a defamation complaint against McNamee before the latter was to testify on Clemen’s use of steroids and human growth hormone.

Other athletes outside of the BALCO Affair have also sued for defamation related to doping allegations in recent years. These include cyclists Kayle Leogrande and Lance Armstrong.
Seven-time Tour de France champ Armstrong has been embroiled in numerous defamation suits stemming from doping allegations. He’s been against Britain’s Sunday Times in 2004 when the newspaper reprinted allegations mentioned in the book L. A. Confidentiel – Les secrets de Lance Armstrong.

The book contains the allegations of Armstrong’s former masseuse Emma O’ Reilly who claimed that she had disposed of syringes and disguised needle marks on his arms. Another source of the book was Steve Swart, a teammate of Armstrong during his Motorola days, who alleged that he and Armstrong as well other riders began using steroids in 1995.

Kayle Leogrande, likewise, recently served a defamation case against Suzanne Sonye, a former staff member of Leogrande’s Rock Racing team. Leogrande also filed similar complaint against fellow professional cyclist Matt DeCanio.

The defamation suit resulted from a phone conversation between Sonye and Decanio, in which the former had mentioned that Leogrande was a doper. DeCanio, an anti-doping activist, recorded the conversation and posted it on his website. Leogrande apparently got a temper as colorful as his tattoos and took offense and sue Sonye and DeCanio.

Friday 20, Jun 2008

  Barry Bonds steroid trial

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bondsbonds-steroidsWith the recent conviction of Trevor Graham, all eyes are now turned to slugger Barry Bonds. Bonds was indicted November 15 last year on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. His trial is expected to take place not until next year.

Bonds was accused of lying when he said he was unaware that he was using steroids provided to him by his trainer Greg Anderson. He was also accused of committing perjury when he denied that his trainer never injected him with steroids. Anderson, meanwhile, has served prison term for refusing to testify against Bonds.

In the book Game of Shadows, authors Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams have chronicled Bonds’ use of steroids and other banned substances. The controversial book described how and why Bonds turned to steroids after the 1998 season to enhance his performance in the Major League. The book alleged he was jealous of Mark McGwire’s popularity because of the latter’s impressive record. At that time, McGwire was the proud holder of the single-season home run record.

In 2001, he beat McGwire’s 70 home runs – Bonds hit 73. The book reported that at that time Bonds was already into two designer steroids called as “The Cream” and “The Clear”. The book further alleged that aside from the two designer steroids, Bonds was also using insulin, human growth hormone, testosterone decanoate (a fast-acting steroid known as Mexican beans) and trenbolone, a steroid developed to improve the muscle quality of livestock.

In September 2003, federal investigators raided the Bay Area Laboratories Co-Operative (BALCO), in Burlingame, California. BALCO was tipped on by Trevor Graham as the source of steroids of many American and European athletes. In said raid, financial and medical records were seized. Two days after, authorities searched Anderson’s home and found documents that suggested Bonds was using steroids and other banned drugs.