Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sordid tales in the Barry Bonds trial

By Tom Grant
PhD student, Center for ETHICS*

The mistress of Barry Bonds told a sordid story about the ballplayer's physical changes during the years that he was allegedly taking steroids.

As you can read in the Twitter reports from George Dohrmann, Kim Bell testified that Bonds developed acne, suffered sexual problems and began making violent threats toward her. In tears, Bell testified Bonds threatened, "He would cut my head off and leave me in ditch.... Would cut out my breast implants because he paid for them," according to Dohrmann.

Bell also testified that Bonds directly acknowledged using steroids. "He had an injury on his elbow, big lump, but started out loose conversation, how it got that way, he said cuz of steroids," Dohrmann tweeted. 

Here's an AP story about the trial discussing those issues.

In opening statements, Bonds' attorney admitted that Bonds used steriods, though the did so without the knowledge he was using them. Supposedly, he was being duped by his trainer into thinking he was using flaxseed oil and arthritis medicine.

But when Bell testified about the dramatic changes in Bonds' physical and emotional condition, there's no question but that Bonds and those around him must have recognized that this was no side effect of flaxseed oil. These are classic side effects of steroid use.

And young athletes should see this as a powerful reminder of the consequences of the drug. Yes, Bonds got bigger and stronger. Yes, he will be remembered as the home run champ. But in our minds there will always be an asterisk beside his name reminding us that he was also that man who threatened to rip off his girlfriend's breasts and failed in his bedroom performances.

Is winning worth that? And even if it was worth it to Bonds, what was the price for those around him?

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