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.

Weekend Edition
April 29-31, 2016
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail