Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Zen Dayley: The Bonds travesty

At what price a skin on the wall?

Were justice blind, the Barry Bonds witch hunt would be over in a trice, and people will probably wonder that it will be, given the public pronouncements of the new U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, who says there will be no "witch hunts" on his watch.

It appears, according to those who done the due dilegence, that the much-ballyhooed testimony of Jason Giambi does not amount to much more than a a bucket of warm spit. Giambi apparently never even met the notorious Victor Conte, the Clear was actually legal (although as Sports on My Mind noted, you might not have heard that since ESPN conveniently passed on picking up the story, which often dictates how much play it gets in Canada.)

Please think back to the kind of emotions that were attached to Bonds back in 2004, '05, '06, '07. The thought of him ending up in prison, even three months in Club Fed, was the stuff of pleasant dreams for a lot of sports fans. Now, as it appears the prosecution's case is little more than smoke, mirrors and press releases, there's one big shrug.

This is why people can suck sometimes. It is understood that this is short attention span society. Bonds is old news when it comes to the athlete-celebrity who can be used as a straw man for everything wrong with the world. He will never cut much of a sympathetic figure. Those who know how the legal system really works know that the highers-up hate to invest time and man-hours in an investigation that goes nowhere. It can be a constant refrain of, "Have you laid charges yet?"

With all that being said, it's impossible to stay silent about this, as Only Baseball Matters noted last week:
"There is nothing fair about this anymore, nothing at all. And forget about fair, how about the astonishing abuse of power we’re seeing here. Barry Bonds didn’t kill anyone, he doesn’t smuggle cocaine into high schools, or rape little girls. He used something to make himself better at what he does for a living. He took steps to improve himself. Regardless of whether you think it was right or wrong, whether you believe that it is the government’s job to tell us what is legal or illegal to take to make us happier, stronger, faster or just plain high; what Bonds did is in no way commensurate to the level of money being spent, and quite frankly, laws being broken, in chasing him down.

"Make no mistake, standing by and watching (the U.S.) government do this without a word of protest will haunt us. This is a targeted witch hunt, a black man who is being taken down because a government employee – a man whose salary is paid for by you and me– IRS Agent Jeff Novitzky, decided he wanted to take him down because he was an, 'arrogant asshole.'

"Not to mention, this investigation, costing between $30 and $50 million while our economy is crashing like the Hindenburg, is the height of absurdity. Twenty federal agents raiding the home of a 60-year old woman, in an effort to pressure Greg Anderson to testify? Really?"
It's a little glib to just expect the Obama White House to step in and say, no more. It should not be Priority One, but the new POTUS has said it's not the governnment's business to regulate what athletes put in their bodies; it's up to the leagues themselves.

It seems like the people going after Bonds have nothing. They'll probably, like they did with Al Capone, get him on something barely related, and it will not be worth the time and effort invested. Shame on them.

Giambi's testimony lacks blunt force (Jonathan Littman, Yahoo! Sports)
I hope they have something better than this (Shysterball)
Why New Barry Bonds Witness Can't Be Trusted (Sports On My Mind, Jan. 30)
... Obscene (John Perricone, Only Baseball Matters)

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