Barry Bonds, is among the most vilified sportsmen in history. Lance Armstrong, among the most revered.
Barry is on pace to break Hank Aaron’s home run record sometime in 2007; he has won the NL MVP Award a record 7 times. Lance is the most successful cyclist in history; in 2005 he won the Tour de France for a record 7th consecutive time.
Barry is thought to have started using steroids in 1998 to compete with lesser (but juiced) sluggers such as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. It is alleged that he "doped up" massively for at least the next 5 seasons. Lance is believed to have started using steroids and other performance enhancing drugs the same year, initially to rebuild strength following extensive chemotherapy (as he successfully battled cancer), eventually to win.
Since 1995, Lance has been associated with the controversial trainer, Michele Ferrari – nicknamed "Dr. Evil". On October 1, 2004, an Italian court convicted Ferrari of two doping-related offenses, sporting fraud and the unlawful distribution of medicines. Many of Lance’s colleagues have since accused him of doping, including 3-time Tour de France winner, fellow American Greg LeMond.
Since 1998, Barry has been associated with The BALCO labs and not one but two controversial trainers, Greg Anderson and Victor Conte. On September 3, 2003, Federal officials raided BALCO's offices in Burlingame. CA. Conte has since cooperated with Federal agents by implicating 27 star athletes, including Bonds, as having received performance-enhancing drugs.
In 2004, reporters David Walsh and Pierre Ballester published LA Confidential, a well-documented retrospective book detailing Lance’s doping regime. Lance is alleged to have injected the steroids in his ass.
In 2006, two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams published Game of Shadows, a well-documented retrospective book detailing Barry’s doping regime. Like Lance, Barry is alleged to have injected the steroids in his ass.
Steroids are a Category III controlled substance under federal law. But while federal law outlaws the possession, manufacture, and distribution of steroids, it does not outlaw their use.
Until the end of the 2002 season, steroids were not tested for or subject to punishment under the rules of Major League Baseball or the Basic Agreement between the league and the Major League Baseball Players' Association.
Though steroids were outlawed, and tested for, in other sports, including professional football, cycling, and in the Olympic Games, baseball had not yet taken those steps. In fact before 2006, a Major League Baseball player could not be permanently banned for steroid use.
If guilty, Lance was breaking all of the laws of his sport…
If guilty, Barry was breaking none of the laws of his sport…
Though, steroids do not guide a bat to the ball… Barry, the greatest slugger of his and perhaps any generation, is loathed and resented. Though, steroids do propel cyclists up mountains more quickly... Lance, a journeyman, allegedly transformed by dope into a superstar, is given every conceivable benefit of the doubts that have swirled aroung his heroic feats for years, and just this week recieved his 4th straight ESPY as [would you belive it] "Male Athlete of The Year", trading barbs about urine tests with Will Ferrell. As of yet there is no movement to qualify (or disqualify) Lance’s achievements with an asterisk, as seems to be the will of the sheep when it comes to Bonds.
WHY THE DOUBLE STANDARD?
While, Lance (who in retirement makes $16.5 million a year from Coca-Cola, Subaru, Nike and Bristol Meyers) was patriotically destroying foreign competition, Barry, who seldom smiles for the camera, or plays nice with the fans or pundits (and as a result has little to endorse but his own talent) was unapologetically usurping an American icon - Babe Ruth.
Perhaps protesting the absence of the requisite Gump-grin, sportswriters, sportscasters, and sports-legends have anointed Barry 'surly' en-mass, and fan-fanatics pound sports-talk radio stretching 'surly' via 'cheat' to 'Judas' and beyond.
Recently, a Dodgers-capped-cabbie with powder-puff white skin, spat a vicious sermon on Barry at me through random teeth, crawling from Hollywood to LAX. His parting barrage was: “Bonds, is an uppity Nigger that don't belong anywhere near Cooperstown [Site of the Baseball Hall of Fame] or the Babe"
To the cabbie and a multitude of bigots, it's not about the dope... It's a given that athletes, moguls, and presidents cheat... It's about race and knowing your place.
Apparently, and thankfully, Barry does not know his.