Blog Entry

What does guilty verdict mean for Barry Bonds?

Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:37 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 7:17 pm

BondsBy Evan Brunell

Barry Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice on Wednesday, but the jury in Bonds' case could not come to an accord on the perjury charge which cracks the door open for his Hall of Fame chances.

While the government could still re-try Bonds on the three counts of perjury for telling the grand jury charged with making some sense of the whole steroid mess in 2003 that he did not knowingly use steroids or human growth hormone, the main takeaway from today is that the steroid era is most definitively not over.

Everyone thought that once Bonds was strung up on guilty counts or found innocent, that it would help to bring the steroid era to a close. But as has happened time and time again, somehow the one solution that ends up continuing the saga popped up again.

Bonds' obstruction of justice charge essentially means that Bonds made the grand jury's job investigating the steroids scandal back in 2003 that much more difficult. The government had contended that Bonds was evasive and misleading, which spurred the charge, and the jury has agreed. However, it's a rather odd charge to come back guilty on -- if Bonds wasn't found guilty of lying, how exactly did he obstruct justice?

The vagaries therein are perplexing. Can you really ding Bonds and consider the fact he lied based solely on the obstruction of justice charge? No -- if you assume he was telling the truth, he still could be found guilty of obstruction of justice just by being an overall uncooperative witness and/or the circumstances demanding that he essentially obstruct justice by parroting a skeptical claim that he took steroids, but did not knowingly do so.

Unfortunately -- or fortunately if you're happy the government effectively flushed millions of dollars down the drain and may want a Round 2 -- the jury's indecision on Bonds' perjury counts means we simply can't rule out the possibility Bonds was telling the truth. Hey, everyone knows that Bonds took steroids, that's not the issue. The issue is Bonds' claim he had no idea what he was taking even though his home run output doubled, his hat size exploded and... um, well, there was "shrinkage" in a certain area of his body as his ex-mistress testified.

As long as it's possible Bonds was telling the truth, his Hall of Fame case still stands -- and could even be bolstered by the news out of court. On one hand, you will have voters believing Bonds was a Hall of Famer even without steroids. On the other hand, you can add in those who feel that it's impossible to discern who juiced, so why not treat the era as a whole and vote for whoever belongs, period? (Hey -- who knows who took amphetamines or not in the '70s or drugs in the '80s?)

And on this mysterious third hand humans don't have, should Bonds be penalized his chance at immortality because he didn't know he was taking steroids? That's the can of worms that we've opened here, and you can bet that there will be voters who vote for Bonds based on his effective acquittal of these charges. Even if the federal government decides to hold another trial, between the indecisiveness of the first jury and the bangup job that Bonds' defense lawyers did, nothing can be assumed anymore. And for that reason, you can bet Bonds will linger on the Hall of Fame ballot for a long time, and with enough time, it's completely feasible to see Bonds enter the Hall, especially as voter turnover happens and moves to the younger contingent, a group that appears more willing to consider the case of tainted stars.

Yes, it's bordering on ludicrous to assume that Bonds didn't know what he was ingesting. If trainer Greg Anderson wasn't so adamant about refusing to testify, he would likely provide all the evidence needed to put Bonds behind bars. And yet... since he does not, we can't assume that such evidence exists. Remember words like "innocent until proven guilty" and "preponderance of doubt" that you may have learned way back in junior high? Yeah, well, that still applies. And right now, Bonds continues to stand innocent of the charges that could have slammed the door rather emphatically on the steroid era. (Well, until Roger Clemens' own perjury case comes along in the summer, but that would have just been a sordid epilogue.)

Instead, we're left to sift through the mess. Again.

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Category: MLB

Since: Aug 27, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:58 pm

Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

That's quite possibly the most retarded comment I've ever read about the guy

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:53 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:50 pm

Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

I think many people may miss the point of this trial. Yes, it seems fairly obvious to anyone who has watched Barry Bonds progress (in physical stature) over the years that he had some sort of aid, likely in the form of HGH. I'm not going to opine on whether or not he's the greatest batter of all-time, whether or no he should qualify for the Hall of Fame because of these allegations. (and now one conviction)
However, despite whatever the truth may be for the matter of perjury, common sense does not apply to a trial by jury. In a criminal court room, it's not whether Bonds likely committed perjury. It's whether or not the prosecution can prove that Bonds committed perjury beyond a resonable doubt. I'm sure many of you do know and acknowledge this. Many understand it. However, I feel there are still a few souls here or there that are simply ignorant of criminal (and civil, for that matter) trials. 

In our justice system, however corrupt or unfair we may feel it to be, it is not whether we have a gut feeling someone committed a crime, or whether we even actually know without a doubt that someone committed a crime. It's still whether the prosecution can prove this fact or not.
In a case such as Bonds', which is almost entirely based on anecdotal evidence and lacking vital physical evidence (for instance, a video that may show Bonds being injected with HGH or something similar), it is difficult for a jury to say definitively whether Bonds lied or not.
Bonds has had excellent legal counsel, which afforded him the advice and preparation to guard his statements by using lines such as "I never knowingly ______." Statements such as these are difficult to prove incorrect. Isn't it possible, even if a remote possibility, that someone could be dumb enough to allow their "doctor" (or trainer, even though he denied this fact) to inject them with something without asking questions? It might just be possible. Should we believe it? No. 

Unfortunately, though, it is not about whether we believe Bonds or not. It's about whether the prosecution met or overcame the burden of proving he lied about "not knowingly using PED's." It is difficult, when one considers exactly what the burden of proof is, to convict someone of lying about "knowingly" doing something. Essentially, the only way to, without a doubt, prove someone "knowingly" did anything is by presenting critical physical evidence such as an audio or video tape which clearly indicates the intent of the defendant. 

I understand how the jury could have failed to reach a verdict. I don't know that Bonds could ever be convicted of perjury for his statements, because it just seems that, no matter how much anecdotal evidence the prosecution has, without a 'smoking gun'-type piece of evidence, they cannot overcome the doubt that is cast by the inability for people to truly know the intention or to truly know the thoughts of another person. 

Since: Nov 23, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:50 pm

Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:49 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:48 pm

Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

Let's establish some things:

1) Bonds is the best non-pitcher of the past, oh, 25 years. Hit, run, field, hit for power. Best hand-eye (swing) coordination. Not sure how -- if he did use roids, remember he never tested positive -- strength helps hand-eye coordination, flexibility, etc. Most likely it doesn't.

2) Assuming he did use roids -- knowingly or unknowingly, and with the rules changing constantly there is A LOT of gray area -- so did probably half of the league. IF a roid hitter hits a home run off a roid pitcher (even though the roids probably don't help much, if at all...), where's the advantage?

3) Doesn't the federal givernment have better things to do than conduct a witch hunt on MLB players when MLB itself didn't even poutlaw these until, what,  five years ago? If your league says it's okay, do you even think to check federal law? Maybe MLB and the feds should get on the same page to end all confusion among players concerning what is legal and what is not.

Bonds is the best player of my lifetime (I'm 35). I think it is disgraceful to question his numbers -- he worked hard in the weight room, whether he was using roids or not (and he may not have known -- neither that nor if he was using them has been established). all of this crap is tarnishing the shine on his career, and that is horesesh1t. He was the best in a long time and if he isn't a first-ballot HOFer, it shows how fickle, stupid and vindictive the press is. So he didn't give great interviews... forget it. He was the best. Honor him.

Since: Nov 16, 2008
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:46 pm

Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

I wish this was part of our national debt reduction strategy. 

Barry Bonds took steroids, so did hundreds of others.  Bonds was the best player in the league and openly disliked people, Bud Selig, and the media.  This makes him public enemy #1 and the only person targeted in this ridiculous Army-McCarthy hunt of "saving" a sport the owners allowed to blow-up for their sake in profits.  Look in the mirror MLB, Bonds was a product of the MLB environment. He just chose not to smile for milk ads like Ken Griffey Jr (who gained at least 60 lbs in his career without question), or belt homers while their faces fell off, ala Sosa and McGwire.  

After all this time and money, all they can nail him with is the same thing Ray Lewis got for killing two people.  Two jokes at work, our court system and sports morality.  Give me a break.... 

Since: Feb 16, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:41 pm

Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

steelersfan: I believe that Andersen is either already released, or scheduled to be quite soon.

Since: Apr 12, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:41 pm

Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

Does this mean he is finally going away?

Since: Jun 1, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:40 pm

Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

He was released a week ago... No more jail time for him, unless they go to another trial.

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