Bonds indicted

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Tim Kawakami
Friday, November 16, 2007
— There were a hundred, a thousand, probably a million ways out of this prison trap for Barry Bonds, and he chose none of them.

No, instead Bonds basically invited and dared the government to come get him, and the government came and got him Thursday with a monumental announcement that he was being indicted on federal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

He allegedly lied to a federal grand jury and obstructed the investigation—even Bonds isn’t allowed to do that, though a judge and jury will decide for sure.

This is not like blowing off team rules or playing whenever the heck he wanted to play—though Bonds thought it was.

Why did Bonds do it this way, when smarter men such as Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Shane Mosley testified about their knowing use of steroids to the grand jury several years ago?

Because he is Barry Bonds and he never believed he could be touched by the things that affect and disable normal mortals.

He’s Barry Bonds—home run king, franchise player, demigod—so he was going to prove that he was above everything. Bonds thought he was protected, especially while his friend Greg Anderson sat in jail, refusing to testify about Bonds.

Bonds was wrong.

This is the greatest miscalculation of Bonds’ life, but it’s also perfectly symbolic of his whole misguided life.

I flash back to February 2004, just a few months after his November 2003 grand-jury testimony, when we didn’t know what he said and Bonds faced the media in Scottsdale, Ariz.

I was there. Bonds was peppered with questions about steroids, and even then, I realized that the fury and likely falsehoods he provided to us probably were exactly what he was like before the grand jury.

I’m sure I was right. Today, I’m very sure.

“All of you guys lied, all of you guys in the story or whatever have lied,” Bonds said to us then.

“Should you have an asterisk behind your name? All of you lied. All of you have said something wrong. All of you have dirt. All of you. When your closet’s clean, then come clean somebody else’s. But clean yours first, OK?”

Later, Bonds said: “Cheating? I don’t know what cheating is.”

Finally, the line that hit me hardest: “You know, the part that I lose sleep over is my family. There’s no facts on Barry Bonds, but should I blame you? Who should I blame for the things that go on that my kids have to listen to? Who should I blame?”

The government knew whom to blame.

From the moment the feds lined him up in the massive Balco investigation, all Bonds had to do was tell the truth, remember that he wasn’t above the law and drop the petulant posturing just once, when it really counted.

Bonds could’ve told the truth in November 2003, could’ve fessed up in 2004, could’ve stepped up and accepted accountability even in 2005 or 2006, probably without this kind of titanic government response.

But he didn’t do any of that. He couldn’t do that. He’s Barry Bonds, who used to be above it all, so he kept stonewalling and fighting and (probably) lying.

Bonds could be headed to jail, and not the Los Angeles Angels, and yet he had every chance to avoid this. How obvious is that?

Last updated: 10:18 am Friday, December 21, 2012

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