Barry Bonds: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: March 27, 2006

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Well, spring training has arrived and so has Barry Bonds. The man that is 48 home runs shy of breaking the all-time home run record set by Hank Aaron comes into this season on the brink of immortality and on the brink of bad history in regards to Major League Baseball.

You see, the mainstream media would prefer to ignore the controversy of Mark McGuire and the obvious evidence of the cork bat specialist Sammy Sosa to focus their “Witch Hunt” on Mr. Bonds.

Add in to the equation the investigation of Bonds and steroids from commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB league office based on books that were written rather than substance and physical proof that you need to convict a person and you have a situation that makes Mr. Bonds “GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT”.

Bonds, a winner of seven Most Valuable Player Awards and an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner, has all of the credentials, stats and respect from his piers at one of the games greatest, but doesn’t seem to have nearly enough of “IT”(whatever IT is) to satisfy his critics.

All of the awards and accolades couldnt seem to keep Bonds from the center of the hottest and most controversial topic in baseball if not all of sports today. Steroids. The denials, the allegations, the evidence is talked about in offices, homes and sports bars around the country.

But why Bonds. All of the talk stems around evidence presented by Balco founder, Victor Conte, with track stars, olympic athletes and mainstream sports stars as well.

In baseball, Jose Canseco presented a “loaded gun” when he wrote a book entitled “Juiced” depicting many of his piers and the usage they did while he was a player in america’s pastime many of which I will discuss later in this article.

But with all of the rhetoric and dialogue, where is the evidence of Bonds guilt in this topic? In looking into this matter, I have not been able to uncover such that would warrant the kind of attacks from the media that are ongoing with no end in sight.

You’ve seen the books and heard the allegations but let’s take a moment to analyze the real facts:

— No evidence was ever found in Barry’s system, locker, home or belongings of any sort to this date.

— No player, coach, trainer or anyone else has ever been found to have given Bonds any steroid or performance enhancing drug. Even Balco Owner/founder Victor Conte has said he has never given Bonds any steroid or performance enhancing drug.

— The only thing Bonds is guilty of is unknowingly taking “the clear” or the steroid known as THG and said as much under oath at a grand jury hearing.

— Of all of the players known to been found guilty of taking steroids or performance enhancing drugs, none of them have named Bonds or said Bonds took anything period.

— Although several books are out talking about Bonds and steroid use, none of them have any concrete evidence on record that Bonds committed such an act.

Lets look at some other players.

— Mark McGwire: Mr McGwire, who although has not been found guilty of taking steroids has been known to have performance enhancemnet drugs in his locker although when they were discovered, were not illegal in baseball at the time.

Mr. McGwire was also named in Canseco’s book as one of the players taking steroids and even injecting Canseco many times during their days of playing together in Oakland. Mr. McGwire also did not help his public image when he refused to answer questions of steroids and steroids during his playing days in front of a senate committee hearing on steroids last year.

— Sammy Sosa Mr. Sosa has not only been found to have cork in his bat and denied knowning it was in there but he mysteriously forgot how to speak english at the same hearing that Mr. McGuire refuse to answers about his steroid use and the knowledge of steroids in baseball.

— Rafael Palmerio: Mr. Palmerio is the worst of the group. Palmerio had the proverbial egg in his face after appearing on capital hill at the same hearing as the two previous players mentioned and pointing to the national camera for all the world to see and proclaiming that he never took any steroids or performance enhancing drugs as accused in Jose Canseco’s book only to be shown as a fraud when word leaked out that Mr. Palmerio was appealing a suspension by Major League Baseball due to testing positive for the same illegal steroids that he antimately denied taking.

Now all of these players(McGwire, Palmerio, Sosa) have been featured in Mr. Canseco’s controversial book and critics of Canseco say that Canseco has no credibility based on his not so “boy scout” past.

But Canseco and the players and stories mentioned in his book should be taken serious and some of it should be accepted as fact as the Palmerio lies and the reluctance to cooperate from Sosa, McGwire, other players and Major League Baseball serves as guilt and evidence.

The Niekro brothers (Phil and Joe) have admitted to doctoring the baseball which is admitting cheating and one would think with all of the dedcades of baseball, the Niekro’s are not the only players to have used and illegal edge to win, succeed, build their career resume or get an edge in order to get to the Hall of Fame.

Yet with all of this, Bonds still remains the center of the entire steroid scandal. Why? if the physical proof isnt there and know one other than some San Francisco Chronicle writers have written, why do they continue to pursue the Bonds and his legacy with such determination and viligance? Some of you make think it’s racism, I don’t however. I believe Bonds is a victim of characterism.

Whether it’s because of the rocky experience that Bonds’ father Bobby went thru with the media in the past or the not so pleasant stories of the relationship his Hall of Fame godfather Willie Mays had with the media that may have been shared with him that has made Bonds a very “hands off” player with the reporters who cover him daily and other writers and sports show host accross the country.

There has also been talk of Bonds being selfish, jealous, arrogant, mean and not a team player. Most of these accusation unfortunately for Bonds have come from players he’s played with over his illustrious career and i’m sure a lot of it is well deserved because i’m sure Bonds brought a lot of the negative comments on himself.

I say all of these things to explain that Bonds is not going to win any “nice guy” of the year awards anytime soon. But is being a jerk grounds to attack someone because you don’t like him, his character or personality? I don’t think so.

It isnt a crime to be obnoxious, mean, jealous, arrogant or hard to get along with but it is a crime to use or distribute illegal drugs in this country. It’s also a crime and a violation of league rules to use or distribute illegal drugs, steroids or performance enhancing drugs. If that’s the issue or the crime that Mr. Bonds is being accused of then that is what should be the focus and if that is the focus, then the evidence should be tangible and concrete in order to convict Mr. Bonds.

No such evidence exist. We can argue, debate and criticize Bonds on many levels on many topics and i’m sure most of it would be warranted but convicting him of something that hasn’t been proven is unjust.

The law states that you are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY and not the other way around. It seems that Bonds is an exception to that based on the lack of quality in his character rather than the quantity of evidence.