Saturday, September 14, 2013

Say It Ain't So Joe: Fallen Baseball Star Barry Bonds' Obstruction Conviction Affirmed


As baseball season comes to a close, it is worth mentioning a recent legal development touching on a contiuing problem in America's pasttime.  Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals  for the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion written by Judge Mary Schroeder (and joined by Judges Michael Daly Hawkins and Mary Murguia), affirmed former Major League Baseball star Barry Bonds' obstruction of justice conviction for an evasive response to a question before a grand jury investigating the use of performance enhancing substances in baseball.

Speaking in terms that a baseball fan can well understand, Judge Schroeder begins the opinion:

"Barry Bonds was a celebrity child who grew up in baseball locker rooms as he watched his father Bobby Bonds and his godfather, the legendary Willie Mays, compete in the Major Leagues. Barry Bonds was a phenomenal baseball player in his own right. Early in his career he won MVP awards and played in multiple All-Star games. Toward the end of his career, playing for the San F rancisco Giants, his appearance showed strong indications of the use of steroids, some of which could have been administered by his trainer, Greg Anderson. Bonds’s weight and hat size increased, along with the batting power that transformed him into one of the most feared hitters ever to play the game. From the late-1990s throug h the early-2000s, steroid use in baseball fueled an unprecedented expl osion in offense, leading some commentators to refer to the period as the `Steroid Era.'"


The suspension of a group of players, including stars such as Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, earlier this summer shows that MLB has much to do to clean up the game.



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