Entertainment & Sports Law
Barry Bonds Case Puts MLB on Trial
Posted Nov 16, 2007 7:38 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
As baseball fans throughout the country found out that home-run king Barry Bonds had been federally indicted yesterday in a steroids-related perjury case, many wondered why the Giants slugger has now been seemingly singled out for prosecution.
But they didn't have to look far for some possible answers, according to the Associated Press. Among the leading contenders put forward by observers: his race, his success, his high profile in baseball and what a number of fans perceive as his petulant behavior, the news agency writes.
"There is not a minute that goes by that some federal agent or federal prosecutor or law enforcement figure somewhere is not being lied to by someone," says Jean Rosenbluth, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches at the University of Southern California.
"What the government tends to do is not prosecute perjury unless it's a high-profile case. You can send the message out worldwide saying, 'Do not lie to us.' Barry Bonds is a perfect example."
Nonetheless, even though Bonds has never failed a drug test, the case is perhaps more important to fans of the sport because it brings out into the open long-standing concerns about whether steroid use helped boost his successful effort to win baseball's biggest record, according to an ESPN columnist.
Although, because of a known federal investigation, Bonds has never been a focus of a separate major league baseball investigation of what the ESPN article refers to as "the sport's steroid culture," now is the time for former Sen. George Mitchell, the man appointed by commissioner Bud Selig to head the ongoing MLB investigation, to address the Bonds issue directly in his upcoming report, writes columnist Howard Bryant.
"Regardless of its current stage, the anticipated Mitchell report now is faced with perhaps its most important challenge: determining how it will examine and explain Bonds' impact on baseball's past and future," Bryant states. "Bonds did not meet with Mitchell and has been treated on a separate, parallel track to the larger investigation, but now stands as baseball's home run champion while facing up to 30 years in prison for perjury and obstruction of justice."
Slate ("The Barry Bonds Indictment")