Baseball has moved on from Barry Bonds. Players, besides Prince Fielder, are shrinking back to the size of regular humans, and the epic home run totals of the 1990s and early 2000s have subsided. But if fans are eager to push the years so obviously tainted by steroids from their minds, the courts have not forgotten.
In April a jury convicted Bonds in the belief that the baseball star deliberately responded circuitously when questioned about whether his former trainer ever gave him injectable substances.
The former slugger’s lawyers deny that failing to answer in a straight forward manner truly obstructs justice. “The government cannot seriously argue that speaking unintelligbly, or rambling, is a federal offense,” argued the lawyers in court papers filed in San Francisco’s US District Court.
A public figure, Bonds faces an uphill public relations battle. Though people like Mark McGwire have quite obviously refused to directly answer questions before congress, Bonds, as a part of the Bay Area Lab Co-operative steroid scandal, was called before a grand jury, where the legal stakes are higher.
When that grand jury asked him whether his trainer ever gave him substances to inject in himself, Bonds responded oddly, to say the least, by describing his childhood. He claimed that as a child celebrity his life had been strange and difficult.
According to the NY Daily News, Bonds said, “I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball but by my own instincts,” said Bonds, whose father, Bobby, played for the Giants, Yankees and several other teams. “I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation.”
Unsurprisingly, that maneuver did not sit well with the jury, which found that he had been evasive in a way that intentionally obstructed the trial.
However the trial, as a whole, was a win for Bonds, as the jury was deadlocked on three counts of perjury.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston will hold a hearing August 26 to consider whether she will overturn the original ruling.
Photo credit: Jessica Murz