The Ethics of Nailing Barry Bonds

Is Barry Bonds getting the Al Capone treatment? Should we care?

Baseball’s all-time home run king Barry Bonds is finally on trial for perjury and obstruction of justice relating to his 2003 testimony before a grand jury that he never knowingly used steroids. It looks like he may get convicted too, even though the one man who could harm him most, his trainer and childhood pal Greg Anderson, once again has refused to testify and is in jail for contempt of court. (Many—including me— believe that Anderson has a promise of a pay-off from Bonds.)

Essentially everyone who isn’t actively trying to protect Bonds, completely ignorant of the facts of his career, or mentally handicapped knows he was lying and knew it at the time of the grand jury hearings. Barry has been both lucky and relentlessly dishonest, however, seemingly happy to spend the millions he made while cheating and permanently damaging his sport, and pleased with himself for retiring in possession of baseball’s most prestigious home run records, the most homers in a single season, and the most homers in a career.  That Bonds achieved these, and several of his Most Valuable Player awards, while enhanced with the surreptitiously induced body chemistry of a Bulgarian weight-lifter in the 1972 Olympics doesn’t seem to faze him at all. Meanwhile, critics are dredging up the old rationalizations to defend Bonds, none of which apply to his current fix. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson

From the “What was he thinking?” files:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says that he is considering whether to pardon Henry McCarty, a.k.a. William Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid (1859-1871), because in 1879 one of Richardson’s predecessors, Gen. Lew Wallace (who, among other things, presided over the trial of the Lincoln conspirators, headed the military tribunal that condemned the Confederate commandant of the infamous Andersonville prison camp, and wrote Ben-Hur,)  reneged on a deal to grant Billy amnesty in exchange for some helpful grand jury testimony in the prosecution of vigilantes.

Of course, when Billy didn’t receive his pay-off quickly enough, he escaped from jail and killed two deputies in the process. He was that kind of guy. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week

“You gotta understand, there were only 28 people who had my job in the whole world. And thousands of people wanted those jobs, and every year, there were guys trying to take my job. So I needed to do anything I could to protect my job, take care of my family. Do you have any idea how much money was at stake? Do you?”

Former Mets and Phillies star Lenny Dykstra, explaining why he used banned and illegal anabolic steroids throughout his career Continue reading