—–By Greg Michael
San Francisco Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada gained fame and fortune, and made hundreds of thousands of dollars on their book that could destroy the careers of some of the biggest stars in the game of baseball. Their entire book was based on illegal leaks of grand jury evidence and private medical records of individuals.
If the players were minor leaguers, and not Barry Bonds, and Jason Giambi there would not have been the market for their smear book. Bonds denies knowingly taking steroids, but admitted using creams and concoctions provided by trainer Greg Anderson, who was indicted along with Conte of BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative). Bonds thought the meds were liniment and flaxseed oil.
The press is not a judicial branch of government; it is free enterprise, the free press. Most of the newspaper’s content is entertainment, local political arguments, gossip and sports. It is not a noble cause to illegally smear successful athletes, as is being orchestrated by the French media and sports organizations to defame Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis.
An Orlando reporter states the simple truth: “The Chronicle reporters knew the risks when they made a promise they have to keep. Setting that vow aside, it would be easy to avoid jail. Just tell the judge who fed them the information.”
To leak grand jury information ruins the court proceedings. The leak could be from one of the possibly guilty BALCO defendants, a friend of the Chronicle editor or the reporters. It could be a washed up baseball player who has everything to gain and nothing to lose by smearing bigger stars. Just follow the money. One who didn’t benefit was Bonds. I think history will side with Bonds, because history now takes in the research of citizen journalists on the Web, and not just the mainstream news.
This week, Barry Bonds was able to tie Hank Aaron’s NL home run record in the same city where Aaron started and ended his career.
Bonds’ hit his 733rd homer Friday night in Milwaukee. Yet Bonds’ hometown paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, plays up its reporters as the heros for illegally leaking medical records and grand jury comments.