Barry Bonds vs. Kobe Bryant: One Story Matters A Lot More | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Barry Bonds vs. Kobe Bryant: One Story Matters A Lot More

Two sports stories dominated the landscape yesterday.

One was the non-conclusion/conclusion of the Barry Bonds steroids trial. The other was the non-apology/apology by Kobe Bryant for a homophobic slur.

Both of the stories touch big pictures of the sports world but one should be given much more thought and attention the other one.

Barry Bonds has been a target of a government investigation that started in 2002 with the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) federal probe. The fallout for Bonds has been well documented since Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote their 2006 book Game of Shadows.

While Bonds has been the best known athlete to take a fall from the BALCO investigation he is hardly the only one. Sprinter Marion Jones and football player Bill Romanowski were two of the most famous among the players.

USA TODAY has a well-documented timeline of events since BALCO was founded in 1984. Feel free to immerse yourself in this timeline if you are unfamiliar with the investigation.

Bonds was indicted 2007 and the US government spent millions upon millions on this trial in hopes of convicting Bonds. The money spent by the government to stop cheating in sports has only produced a three jail time sentences.

Victor Conte the founder of BALCO only received four months jail time, Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds' trainer, got three months jail time but sprinter Jones got six months of jail time the longest BALCO related sentence.

Bonds was originally indicted on 11 charges that were later reduced to five and before the trail was reduced to four charges. After this long seemingly never ending story the jury in the Bonds case were only able to reach a verdict on one charge, obstruction of justice.

The jury could not reach an agreement on the three other perjury charges and a mistrial was declared on those three charges. The government after spending years and millions of dollars will more than likely only achieve probation for Bonds.

While the government decides on retrying Bonds on the remaining three charges, soon the Roger Clemens' trail is about to start. No telling how much money the government spent on Clemens.

Also the government is investigating Lance Armstrong, once the most tested man in sports who the French government tried to find charges of doping, and what about Mississippi State's own Rafael Palmeiro who denied steroid use to congress then failed a drug test.

Here is a tip for the government if they serious want to reduce spending. How about stop wasting time and money on athletes who cheated.

Let the respective leagues police themselves. If sports league and fans want to deny drug use, talking to you here NFL, then so be it.

The only people who are hurting themselves in this case are the athletes themselves. Society has a whole has not been damaged by what the cheaters have done in the sports world.

That brings us to the real story of this past week. The Kobe Bryant non apology/apology after he was caught on camera using a gay slur.

In a game against the San Antonio Spurs, Bryant was given a technical foul about the midway point of the third quarter by referee Bennie Adams. Bryant then walks to the bench and throws a fit while yelling across court to get Adams attention before the drops his "f-bomb".

Bryant released a statement on Wednesday saying:

"My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period," he said. "The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone."

Read the statement again and this time try to imagine that someone had used a racial slur towards Kobe and the statement above was their apology. Does it give you different type emotion on the situation?

You now it would.

Not once in that two sentence statement does Bryant say the most important words: "I was wrong and I am sorry." I do not believe fans or media would give a pass to player making that statement if the slur was racial.

In the world of sports, homosexual players stay in the closet until their playing careers are over. Actions like this, and ESPN almost giving Bryant a free pass, reminds these players that even in 2011 they have to keep quiet on their sexuality.

Amazingly the WNBA, who has had several players come out while playing, has been silent on this situation. Those WNBA players who are gay should call out Kobe as fellow basketball players.

The media's (namely ESPN) saying, Bryant's comments come in the heat of the moment is horrible. On the court/field emotion is a big part of sports but that does not excuse what Bryant did.

No one should get a free pass for what they say by using the excuse it was in the heat of the moment. In everyday life we do not give free passes for what people say in the heat of the moment in an argument.

Yes, there is unsavory language at a sporting event and there always has been. In locker rooms and on the field/court things have always been said.

My father always told me to leave "locker room" talk where it belongs: in the locker room and the field/court. After leaving those two places he expected me to conduct myself accordingly where my words could be overheard.

Players and media have blamed the fact there was a camera on Bryant at the time of his actions. This is another weak excuse.

Does it bother anyone besides me that Derek Anderson took more flak from the media for laughing on the sideline during a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers? Anderson was raked over the coals for laughing but everyone seems to lining up to excuse Bryant's actions.

I have also heard the excuse that Bryant is just a young guy full of emotion. Do not forget that Bryant came into the league at 18 years old straight from high school.

He has been in the media eye for a very long time and has dealt with scandal before now. Bryant was accused of sexual assault in Colorado before being exonerated.

Bryant is 32 years old. That is the same age I am. There is no way in any type of situation would I at the same age as Kobe be given a pass for saying the same thing.

Bryant did release a second statement saying:

"The comment that I made, even though it wasn't meant in the way it was perceived to be, is nonetheless wrong, so it's important to own that," Bryant said.

Bryant added: "The concern that I have is for those that follow what I say and are inspired by how I play or look to me as a role model or whatever it is, for them not to take what is said as a message of hate or a license to degrade or embarrass or tease. That's something I don't want to see happen. It's important for me to talk about that issue because it's OK to be who you are, and I don't want this issue to be a part of something or to magnify something that shouldn't be."

Still Bryant leaves out some of those important words: "I am sorry".

NBA commissioner David Stern released a statement condemning Bryant's slur.

"While I'm fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated," he said. "Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society."

The NBA then fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 dollars. Kobe not able to leave things alone had this to say about the fine.

Saying that the league's fine is "a judgment call that they decided to make and I'm going to abide by it," Bryant also said he would appeal.

Appeal? Really now, Kobe. So much for the talk about owning your actions.

Many have speculated that the NBA Player's Association appeals every fine but this is one fine the NBAPA should leave alone.

Not just for PR reasons but to let the GLBT community that a fine this large is justified. Kobe and the NBAPA have gotten this all wrong.

There were two major stories in the sports world this week. Bonds conviction does not matter.

Kobe's free pass and slur does matter. Not just in the sports world by society as a whole.

Previous Comments

ID
163157
Comment

I strongly believe Barry Bonds is innocent. It is not unusual to bulk as you age. I weighed 180 in college and as I aged and became more handsome and virile I went up to 280. No one has accused me of steroids. I can do everything better at 280 than I did 180. Kobe Bryant is a wussy-head. Who else would buy a several million dollar ring to do a job a one million dollar ring can do. He needs to stop calling people out of their names. Saying I'm sorry and was wrong is so easy to do.

Author
Walt
Date
2011-04-15T16:56:03-06:00
ID
163170
Comment

Walt, The only way Barry Bonds is not guilty is if life is a Dr. Seuss Book. Like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas Bonds hat size grew three sizes over a year. Only unlike the Grinch, Bonds never had a change of heart and became a better person. Maybe he should have grown his "heart" by three sizes and not done PED's.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2011-04-17T11:05:37-06:00
ID
163172
Comment

Too much time and too much money have been spent on Bonds and other athletes with similar charges. The probable end does not justify the mean. Why should a country in dire financial straits have to pick up the tabs for situations that do not harm its citizens. It should, in my opinion, be the expense of the leagues to police their own. Drug testing is suppose to be a given: Did Bonds slip through the cracks? Let's move the focus to saving Medicare, Medicaid, family planning clinics, education and attention to our country's crumbling infra-structure. These are better investments and would yield a bigger bang for our bucks. This will really hit the ball out of the park!

Author
justjess
Date
2011-04-17T20:01:57-06:00
ID
163173
Comment

Justjess: For a long time Major League Baseball did not test for PED's (Performance Enhancing Drugs). That is how players like Bonds got away with cheating. The NFL and the NBA test but the players do not want full testing. I wrote that leagues should police themselves. So I agree with you.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2011-04-17T20:06:32-06:00
ID
163175
Comment

@Bryan Flynn Our solution sounds simple. Let's get this show on the road. LOL!

Author
justjess
Date
2011-04-17T20:54:58-06:00
ID
163181
Comment

Kobe Bryant is a wussy-head.----- Walt Oh brother, if this isn't just a wonderful example of freedom of speech being stretched! This is a slur against that man's head! How dare you Walt!

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-04-18T13:27:01-06:00
ID
163183
Comment

Jess and Bryan, I totally concur with you guys on the government should be focused on more pressing issues, i.e. budget deficit, medicaid, social security, etc. etc. However, I don't think they should get all the blame for conducting the investigation. People that sit on the judicial committee, do have constituents to answer to, and they did receive numerous complaints - indicating that steroid use was out of control in MLB, especially when the records start falling faster than a Bugatti on the autobahn. If they didn't investigate the matter, you would have people complaining about the government not taking any action. It was a catch 22, damned if you do and damned if you don't

Author
Duan C.
Date
2011-04-19T06:33:02-06:00
ID
163184
Comment

Duan C., I am not sure how many people overall wanted the government to investigate baseball. After the 1994-95 strike baseball made a deal with the devil. Fans were angry and did not want to comeback to baseball. So, they decided they would look the other way while players took PED's and started blasting home runs. Fans are not alone in this. Fans decided to ignore these power outburst as well. As a young 19 year old kid even I got caught up in the home run derby between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire. It brought fans back but slowly the numbers started to roll in and everyone took a step back. The idea of true athletic accomplishments was suddenly stained. And a few baseball purist (mainly in the media) decided it was time to clean up baseball. I really believe the average fan did not care what was behind the curtain. The wizard to them was all powerful and did not need to be seen in true form. Congress then got involved and wasted time with hearing but unless you were a super sports guy like me (or in the press) you didn't care about hearings. The public had already turned their attentions on to football. In the belief that they were watching a clean sport. But that is another argument for another day. It was not catch 22. Instead of anyone demanding the government to look in to baseball. They should have demanded MLB to look into baseball. For MLB to clean itself up. Millions of tax payers dollars would have been saved that way. Sometimes leagues should be held accountable for the things they do and not be allowed to hold shams of hearings and trials.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2011-04-19T12:10:14-06:00
ID
163185
Comment

"They should have demanded MLB to look into baseball. For MLB to clean itself up" That's like wall street trying to regulate themselves, how can you expect them to do that when the bottom line is profitability? "Sometimes leagues should be held accountable for the things they do and not be allowed to hold shams of hearings and trials" Who is supposed to hold them accountable, "themselves". It's a good gesture, it's the moral thing to do, it sounds nice - but it's not realistic. And a few baseball purist (mainly in the media) decided it was time to clean up baseball. And those few were the ones controlling the paradigm. You said you didn't care one way or the other about the hearings, but yet you then turn around and say "they should have demanded MLB to look into baseball" How can we demand something of someone, but yet say we don't care one way or the other? That's a catch 22, because it's a contridiction.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2011-04-19T12:50:44-06:00
ID
163187
Comment

Duan C., Comparing baseball to wall street is like comparing apples to oranges. The finical makeup of baseball is different than that of wall street. In fact most MLB teams say they do not make a profit. The bottom line is winning. That is how you make a profit. That is why the Yankees spend more than anyone else. They put a winner on the field and make money. Fans should demand that leagues police themselves. It is not the nice thing to do but the right thing to do and it is realistic. How many careers and lives were cut short by using PED's. Even after a player retires he can still be used as a draw at the ticket counter. Why would you want to hurt your product, in this case the players, for a small profit now? Long term thinking says protect your product for long term gains. That is what MLB did after the 1994-95 strike. They put the short term in front of the long term. I did not care about the trials because I read up on what would happen if these players were convicted. The most they would get was probation. Does a conviction after spending millions matter that much if the person being convicted only gets probation and never truly found guilty of using PED's. I am not as small minded as ESPN's Rick Reilly who is some how happy he now can "type the phrase "Barry Bonds, convicted felon" the rest of my life." As a fan of baseball, I wanted testing but the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) fought testing. The owners wanting to bring fans back for money after the strike did not push testing. Now there is testing but fans should have been pushing testing all along. Drugs has been a part of baseball since the 1970's if not longer. No one seemed to care until the precious home run records were being assaulted at record rates. Were was the outrage then? There was none. The funny thing is if your a baseball fan, Duan, I bet your contradicting yourself if you did not want baseball cleaned up sooner. And by they I mean the fans. Not the government. But if fans want to look the other way, and they did, they should not act betrayed when they find out how the magic really works.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2011-04-19T13:22:31-06:00
ID
163188
Comment

"Comparing baseball to wall street is like comparing apples to oranges. The finical makeup of baseball is different than that of wall street." But they both have the same bottom line, profits - the only difference is the way and means of obtaining. "There was none. The funny thing is if your a baseball fan, Duan, I bet your contradicting yourself if you did not want baseball cleaned up sooner." I am a true sports fan, a true Cleveland sports man - so my attitude towards certain sports topics, are always against the grain of the mainstream. Should there be a playoff for college football , should players be allowed to use performance enhancing drugs, should college players get paid, do black quarterbacks receive more ridicule over white quarterbacks out of college. I can pretty much guarantee you, Bryan, your the negative to my affirmative and I'm the negative to your affirmative. With that said, if I didn't care about the hearings, then why should I care about MLB cleaning the league up sooner than later, when all I want is for my Indians to continue doing what they are doing now, leading the league in wins. You don't want to admit this, but I gave you credit for pointing out whats more important and what the government should be focused on. But I differ with you on the government wasting its time and money with the probe and long term vs short term focus.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2011-04-19T14:04:58-06:00
ID
163190
Comment

Queen, I bet you're a Lakers' fan too. I don't have a team anymore since Akeem Olajuwon stopped playing with the Houston Rockets. Magic Johnson is my favorite basketball player of all times though. The Hornets and Chris Paul are finto do that thang on the Fakers. I say the Hornets will win the series in 6 games otherwise the Lakers will win. Duan I have to go to Cleveland in June for 4 days. What is there to do there besides going to Canton for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and run for your life otherwise? How many guns do I need and are the Indians really any good since Albert Joey Bell? Barry Bonds didn't bulk up as much as Babe Ruth who weighed 300 plus. Why no one was accusing him of being on steroids. Bonds should be left along and allowed in the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first vote. He should be given credit for getting better as he aged. If Bonds used any steroids or enhancements it was by accident. You can't help what others unknowingly does without your consent and knowledge. You know this Bryan. Stop listening to the wrong people. Have I ever told you anything wrong? Now Roger Clemens is another story. No one can be that dominating at that position for all those years unless he is on something illegal. Clemens personal life is also a testament that he was using body and mind-altering substances. I say keep Clemens out of the Hall of Fame with Mark McGuire who was too chicken to lie and Raphael Palmero who lied and got caught. If I'm not making any sense, it's not the first time.

Author
Walt
Date
2011-04-19T16:46:01-06:00
ID
163191
Comment

Duan C., I know you gave me credit for pointing out what is more important. Since we agreed on that I did not see a need to address it. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree. I am not sure how you feel on the list of subjects you posted about but I will tell you mine. Yes, there should be a playoff in college. No, players should not be allowed to use PED's, only God given talent. No, college players should not get paid. Every quarterback receives scrutiny coming out of college (remember Tim Tebow last year).

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2011-04-19T16:48:57-06:00
ID
163202
Comment

Walt since your going to C'-town, I can give you three of my favorite food spots to check out - I highly recommend you try a Polish Boy from Hot Sauce Williams - get the whole sandwhich dipped, then you should try a super stacked corn beef sandwhich from Slyman's, and then go to Mr. Hero and try a Roman Burger. If my Tribe continue's to maintain the momentum through June, I definately say check out a game. Being right on the lake makes for some comfortable summer weather. Bryan as always, we will have to agree to disagree. College playoffs agree, players and PED's - dependinding on the sport, we disagree, College athletes, basketball and football players, to me are student workers, basically their doing work study for the university simply off the money they generate - me and you definately disagree. As far as college quarterbacks and scrutiny, yes they all do - but there is a difference between the levels of scrutiny for black and white quarterbacks. Mike Mayock, to some people, has a great eye for talent. He gave the negatives on Tebow, then he gave the mighty encouraging words of "he can develop into a great and he should not get passed on". The scrutiny Tim Tebow received I would consider constructive criticism. Cam Newton is the same exact kind of player Tim Tebow was, spread quarterbacks that depended on their athleticism to complete plays. Do you know Cam Newton is being compared to Jamarcus Russell, now if that is not an insult, I don't know what is? Personality wise they (Tebow & Newton) are different people, different players - but talent wise they both have something to offer on the next level. But Tebow was given the green lights by the pundits, yet Cam Newton has an attitude problem and can't learn the NFL quarterback verbage? But Sam Bradford, who basically came from the exact same kind of play calling system was smart enough to pull off the challenge? C'mon man! I can give you more stories, but that will take all day. Just for the record, down the road, I was thinking about doing a documentary on the Black Quarterback.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2011-04-20T06:51:09-06:00
ID
163204
Comment

Duan C., Check out my story on Academics and Athletics, if you want to think about college players being paid. There is some very good stuff in there. I do not know why you think any sport should be allowed to use PED's. But that is for another day I guess. Cam Newton has been under some scrutiny but some of it he brought on himself if the stories out of Florida are true. His dad, and I think him as well, tried to get money from schools. Tebow is still getting scrutiny from Mel Kiper Jr and Todd McShay. Even Hall of Famer John Elway, now back with the Broncos, has publicly said he does not think Tebow is the guy. Did you watch the Jon Gruden quarterback series on ESPN U? He asked Newton point blank what kind of long verbage did they have at Auburn. Newton said they didn't. So Gruden told Newton, he would have to work hard to learn NFL play calling. To me that is not a knock if it is true. Bradford played in a pro-style offense his first couple of years in college. That makes a big difference, even if you do not think so. The only comparisons I have heard about Newton to Russell is that both had/has a ton of talent. The worry is will Newton want to just rely on his athletic ability and not put in the work. Ryan Mallett has been hit with a ton of criticism including drug use. The drug rumors have even caused Mallett's parents to come out and refute them. Mallett has been knocked for being too tall, too slow, drug use, not clutch at the end of games, poor decision making. I could go on and on. It think it would be great to do a documentary on black quarterbacks. There have been some done but a detailed doc has not been done. But while your saying black quarterbacks are under more scrutiny remember: Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round.

Author
Bryan Flynn
Date
2011-04-20T09:13:45-06:00
ID
163219
Comment

Queen, I bet you're a Lakers' fan too. ---- Walt All day, every day; during my sleep and when i'm awake!!! No doubt! Absolutely! Fa SHO!!!!!!!!

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-04-20T12:12:15-06:00
ID
163251
Comment

Down with the faking Lakers. Open sesame here comes the Hornets.

Author
Walt
Date
2011-04-21T16:59:14-06:00

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