As The ‘House’ Falls, The Only One Who Told The Truth Has Been — Victor Conte?

By Gregory Moore
Updated: October 5, 2007

Marion Jones, bottom right, now must face the music of lying to federal prosecutors in the BALCO investigation.

Marion Jones, bottom right, now must face the music of lying to federal prosecutors in the BALCO investigation.

SAN ANTONIO — Defiance and arrogance are probably two of the ugliest traits an athlete can possess but as we are all quickly finding out this week, they seem to be characteristics that the top athletes love to hold on to as if their lives depended upon them.

Well in actuality, in many of these cases those characteristics are the very reason why many athletes have fallen from “grace” in lieu of the BALCO scandal. The latest card to fall out of that house of cards is Marion Jones.

You remember Jones don’t you? The world’s fastest woman who defiantly told all of us that she was not a cheater and that she had never been to the lab where founder Victor Conte and his scientists cooked up the now infamous “clear and cream” synthetic steroids? You remember her vividly.

She was the athlete who said that her positive EPO drug test was a farce. And you definitely remember her as she told the world and ABC News that Conte was a liar and that she was suing him for $25 million for defamation of her name and career. Well now you can really remember her from her comments in a letter to family and close friends.

“I want to apologize to you all for all of this,” Jones says in her letter. “I am sorry for disappointing you all in so many ways.”

And thus another star is falling rapidly from the athletic spectrum. This is a major blow for those who wanted to believe that Jones was on the up and up in her innocence. Friends, colleagues and competitors of Jones have been stunned by her admittance but what is really ironic is that now Conte seems to be the one who has been telling the truth from day one.

In a November 2004 interview on 20/20, Conte told the world “After I instructed her how to do it and dialed it up, she did the injection with me sitting right there next to her, right in front of me,” Conte says. “Marion didn’t like to inject in the stomach area. … She would do it in her quad. The front part of her leg.”

Back when that interview was taken, Conte said that Jones took both the “cream and clear” and also took EPO, the steroid that was found positive in a urine sample a while back.

Jones, pictured here with Trevor Graham, repeatedly denied using steroids but admitted to family in friends in a recent letter.

Jones, pictured here with Trevor Graham, repeatedly denied using steroids but admitted to family in friends in a recent letter.

Now whether you believe Jones or Conte is a debate within itself but in the “court of public opinion”, even that court needs to hear the facts of the cases before it. With Jones’ admission to using steroids, the claims made by her former husband C.J. Hunter and former boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, are added credence to what Conte had said some three years ago.

Add Jones’ own admittance that she took the steroids willingly and that her claim of not knowing what it was becomes a very hollow excuse. An excuse she later admits in the letter about taking the supplements supplied to her by her former coach, Trevor Graham.

“Red flags should have been raised in my head when he told me not to tell anyone about the supplement program. I trusted him never thought I was taking performance enhancing drugs.”

Well, ignorance of the fact is no excuse for what Jones did. In reality ignorance by any athlete is no excuse for cheating. The reality of the situation is that when these athletes were taking these supplements, they knew full well that they were cheating and that the supplements were illegal both in their respective sports and in the realm of the laws of the society in which they are a part of.

Yet for some erroneous reasoning, people have thought that Conte had conned both the athletes involved and his suppliers/distributors. The main one who everyone felt sorry for was Graham and he is as equally dirty and guilty as Conte and BALCO’s other defendants.

Yet with all of that said, the sports world is still shocked and dismayed that the first lady of track would stoop so low to grab glory.

“This is a shame,” World Anti-Doping Agency Chairman Dick Pound said in a telephone interview yesterday. “This was America’s darling at the 2000 Summer Olympics. . . . I hope this will have a deterrent effect. It’s not merely cheating in sports, but now she has lied her way to exposure to penal sanctions.”

Jones’ fall from grace is something that may not even hit home with athletes though. Despite what Mr. Pound would like to see happen, athletes just aren’t “smart” enough to realize that cheating gets you nowhere in your career. Sooner or later, it is bound to catch up with you and all of that hard work on your image, your financial success and your ability of being marketable goes down the toilet.

Whether athletes want to believe it or not but the moment they decide to cheat their way into the record books and other accolades, they have sold their souls to the devil; plain and simple.

Marion Jones is not going to be the first high priced star to come forward and admit that she cheated in the Olympics nor will she be the last. Already several high priced athletes who were affiliated with BALCO have come forth and said they either knowingly or unknowingly took the products that Conte and his team provided. Steroid investigations across the country have already started linking various other dope pharmacies with BALCO.

Athletes who are cheaters will continue to lie and eventually they will be sifted out and caught. But you know what the irony in all of this is? The guys and gals who said they were cheaters and admitted openly to it are the ones who seem to be telling the truth.

First it was Jose Canseco and you see what happened in his testimony. Now with Jones on the verge of copping a plea with the federal government, it seems that Victor Conte was telling the truth as well. It just goes to show that whatever you were doing in the dark eventually comes to light; one way or the other.