FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Let Barry Bonds Be!

by ANTHONY PAPA

Greg Anderson, the government’s key witness against baseball great Barry Bonds, refused to testify in court this week landing him in jail for the fifth time. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston found Bond’s personal trainer in contempt of court. His lawyer says Anderson will not testify leaving the governments case against Bonds very weak. In my view Anderson is a hero and a true stand up guy who is willing to sacrifice his own freedom to stop the imprisonment of Bonds for putting a substance in his body.

Bonds returned to the same courthouse where he told a grand jury in December 2003, that he had never knowingly taken performance-enhancing substances. His lawyer confirmed this by suggesting in court that Bonds never lied to a grand jury and even admitted that he may have unwittingly used steroids.

Let’s face it, Bond’s indictment for lying to a grand jury may be the legal basis of the government wanting to put the baseball legend in prison, but the real underlying reason for this federal indictment 8 years after the BALCO investigation is their failure to get Bonds to admit he had used steroids or any other performance-enhancing drugs. In that case, Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) was alleged to have distributed illegal performance -enhancing drugs, triggering investigations by several governmental agencies. This resulted in a huge scandal which involved many major league baseball players and led to Major League Baseball initiating penalties for players caught using steroids in 2004.

Bonds is facing prison time if convicted. Anti-doping advocates are hoping this will happen and use Bonds as an example to those calling for jail time for baseball players who use steroids. Many say that it may be the only effective deterrent for curbing illegal use.

The government is willing to take down Bonds and in doing so blemish baseball so they can push their personal zero-tolerance agenda for drug use. They are set to call on Barry Bonds’ former teammates to testify along with other retired Major League Baseball players in order to nail Bonds to a cross. What’s next ? Maybe exhuming the buried bones of all-star Ken Caminiti who died of a heart attack at age 41 after admitting taking steroids to boost his career.

Jailing Bonds will not solve baseball’s problem or curb drug use in America. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. It has 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, with more than 2.4 million citizens sitting behind bars. Many of them have been rotting away in prison for years. One prisoner in particular I have come to know is former race car driver Randy Lanier who is in prison serving a life sentence for marijuana. He is in his 23rd year of incarceration and is currently seeking clemency from President Obama. Despite all of the incarceration, drug use and drug availability are as prevalent as ever.

For the sake of argument, what if Bonds did use steroids? Does he belong in prison? He is not the first athlete to use them and he will not be the last. The pursuit for athletic superiority through the use of chemicals has been around a long time. Before steroids were officially banned in the early 1970s, almost 70 percent of all Olympic athletes had used them.

Is it ethical and morally right to sentence someone to a lengthy prison term for putting substances in their own body? The premise for prosecuting the other war with no exit strategy – the drug war — has slowly but surely infiltrated the public’s eye through different vehicles. Now the feds attempt to bring their message through the sport of baseball.

Because of the governments stance against the use of drugs Barry Bonds has joined the ranks of those demonized. This includes medical marijuana users, pain sufferers and their doctors who prescribe opioid analgesics, and students who are forced to urinate in cups. All of this in the name of a drug-free America without concern for individuals’ rights. The war on drugs is a war on people. Let Barry Bonds be!

ANTHONY PAPA is the author of 15 Years to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom and Communications Specialist for Drug Policy Alliance. He can be reached at: anthonypapa123@yahoo.com

 

 

Anthony Papa is the Manager of Media and Artist Relations for the Drug Policy Alliance and the author of This Side of Freedom: Life After Lockdown.

More articles by:
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Renee Parsons
Blame It on the Russians
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is it the Cops or the Cameras? Putting Police Brutality in Historical Context
Russell Mokhiber
Dems Dropping the N Word: When in Trouble, Blame Ralph
Howard Lisnoff
The Elephant in the Living Room
Pepe Escobar
The Real Secret of the South China Sea
Ramzy Baroud
Farewell to Yarmouk: A Palestinian Refugee’s Journey from Izmir to Greece
John Laforge
Wild Turkey with H-Bombs: Failed Coup Raise Calls for Denuclearization
Dave Lindorff
Moving Beyond the Sanders Campaign
Jill Richardson
There’s No Such Thing as a “Free Market”
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Moves Against the Gulen Movement in Turkey
Winslow Myers
Beyond Drift
Edward Martin - Mateo Pimentel
Who Are The Real Pariahs This Election?
Jan Oberg
The Clintons Celebrated, But Likely a Disaster for the Rest of the World
Johnny Gaunt
Brexit: the British Working Class has Just Yawned Awake
Mark Weisbrot
Attacking Trump for the Few Sensible Things He Says is Both Bad Politics and Bad Strategy
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Think Three’s a Crowd? Try 2,000
Corrine Fletcher
White Silence is Violence: How to be a White Accomplice
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail