The Real Barry Bonds Outrage
I wasn't going to blog this morning about yesterday's five-count indictment of Barry Bonds. But then I read this outrageous quote from Bonds' attorney, Mike Rains: "Every American should worry about a Justice Department that doesn't know if waterboarding is torture and can't tell the difference between prosecution on the one hand and persecution on the other."
"Barry Bonds" and "waterboarding" are two subjects that do not belong together in this or any other universe. Shame on Rains for trying to link the two.
Bonds isn't in trouble because the Justice Department has nothing better to do than ferret out weasels who allegedly lie under oath about taking a legal product like steroids. He isn't in trouble because Alberto Gonzales and David Addington wrote secret memos declaring that government officials could evade the spirit of the laws in trying to save our nation from disaster.
Bonds is in trouble for the same reasons that people like Martha Stewart and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby once were: He thought he was smart enough to fool the feds and he wasn't. I have no idea whether he is guilty or whether he'll be convicted. But you don't have to be a legal analyst to understand that Bonds made things worse for himself with his testimony in December 2003. He is no more persecuted than the thousands of other people who each year in this country are charged with perjury and obstruction -- and you could argue that he's certainly less persecuted than another iconic black athlete, O.J. Simpson.
The indictment against Bonds is very detailed. And apparently the feds did not need to rely upon Greg Anderson, Bonds' former trainer, to make whatever case they have against Bonds. Anderson, who was in prison for contempt, was released from jail yesterday after the indictment was made public and his attorney, the ubiquitous Mark Geragos, said only that Anderson didn't squeal on Bonds in return for his freedom. That means, perhaps, that this case against Bonds was ready to go months ago but was only delivered now, after the baseball season and just before the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving, Barry Bonds.
If he's convicted, he'll likely go to prison. And his trial -- if we get that far -- figures to be one for the ages, given the potential witness list of players and managers, etc.
As I cover the case, I hope you'll forgive me if I place it into the proper context and perspective. No one died as a result of Bonds's alleged lies. No one was injured. The foundations of our government were not rocked to their core. National security was not affected. No one was drowned in a "simulated death." As a player, Bonds' career finally had slowed. As a defendant, he's likely to be far more entertaining and productive.
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