Report: Bonds Admitted to Using Substances
Friday, December 3rd 2004, 10:53 am
News On 6
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Barry Bonds testified to a grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring, but said he didn't know they were steroids, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.
Bonds told the federal grand jury last year that Greg Anderson, his personal trainer, told him the substances he used in 2003 were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis, according to a transcript of his testimony reviewed by the Chronicle.
The substances Bonds described were similar to ones known as ``the clear'' and ``the cream,'' two steroids from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative at the center of the steroid scandal.
Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains, said the leak of grand jury testimony was an attempt to smear his client. Grand jury transcripts are sealed and the Chronicle did not say who showed them the documents.
``My view has always been this case has been the U.S. vs. Bonds, and I think the government has moved in certain ways in a concerted effort to indict my client,'' Rains told the newspaper. ``And I think their failure to indict him has resulted in their attempts to smear him publicly.''
Calls to Rains' office from The Associated Press went unanswered Thursday night.
Tony Serra, Anderson's lawyer, said Anderson ``never knowingly provided illegal substances to anyone.''
The revelation of Bonds' grand jury testimony was one of a series of developments in the BALCO probe, which led to indictments against four men in February.
ABC News and ESPN the Magazine released excerpts of interviews with BALCO founder Victor Conte, one of those charged in the case, in which he says he watched Olympic track star Marion Jones inject herself in the leg with human growth hormone. Jones' attorneys denied she ever used performance-enhancing drugs. Conte's interview with ABC's ``20/20'' program was to air Friday night.
And sprinter Kelli White, who has been banned from track for two years after admitting use of several banned substances, broke down and cried Thursday as she recounted in an interview the first time she used THG, a once-undetectable steroid that BALCO is accused of providing to elite athletes. White's comments appeared in the Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and USA Today.
On Thursday, the Chronicle reported Yankees slugger Jason Giambi told the grand jury he injected himself with human growth hormone in 2003 and also used steroids for at least three seasons.
Before the Bonds story was even published, U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said his office was concerned about the leaks to the Chronicle and asked the Justice Department to investigate.
Dozens of elite athletes testified before the grand jury last year, including baseball stars Bonds, Giambi and Gary Sheffield, and track stars Jones, White and Tim Montgomery.
The probe led to some athletes being banned from the Olympics and left a cloud of suspicion over others, such as Jones, who were allowed to compete despite the investigation.
But Bonds is the biggest star of all, the holder of baseball's single-season home run record of 73 in 2001 and the man who could break Hank Aaron's career homer mark of 755 as early as next year. Bonds ended last season with 703 homers and won his record seventh NL Most Valuable Player award.
It is uncertain what punishment, if any, Bonds could receive from baseball, which didn't have penalties for steroid use until last year.
While discipline is spelled out for positive tests and criminal convictions from 2003 on, admission of illegal steroid use is not addressed, possibly giving baseball commissioner Bud Selig an opening to punish Bonds.
Selig repeatedly has called for year-round random testing and harsher penalties, but management and the players' association have failed to reach an agreement. The contract runs through the 2006 season.
``I've been saying for many months: I instituted a very, very tough program in the minor leagues on steroids in 2001. We need to have that program at the major league level,'' Selig said Thursday in Washington, D.C. ``We're going to leave no stone unturned until we have that policy in place by spring training 2005.''
Prosecutors confronted Bonds with documents dating to his record-setting season of 2001 that allegedly detailed his use of many drugs, including human growth hormone, steroids and insulin. He said he believed he only used legal products to treat arthritis and fatigue.
Bonds danced around questions, saying he couldn't explain a calendar with the name ``Barry'' on it; he had never seen a bottle that says Depo-Testosterone; he had never heard of the drugs Clomid, modafinil and trenbolone; and he couldn't pronounce EPO.
Bonds testified that he didn't think any of the substances worked but kept using them out of loyalty to Anderson, the Chronicle reported. He also said he never consulted with the Giants about what Anderson gave him.
``No way ... we don't trust the ball team,'' Bonds said. ``We don't trust baseball. ... Believe me, it's a business. I don't trust their doctors or nothing.''
Sheffield testified to the grand jury that Bonds arranged for Anderson to give Sheffield ``the clear,'' ``the cream,'' and another steroid from Mexico, but also said he did not know they were steroids, the Chronicle reported.
Bonds said he never paid Anderson for drugs or supplements but did give the trainer $15,000 in cash in 2003 for weight training and a $20,000 bonus after his 73-homer season.
Bonds said that Anderson had so little money that he ``lives in his car half the time.'' Asked by a juror why he didn't buy ``a mansion'' for his trainer, Bonds answered: ``One, I'm black, and I'm keeping my money. And there's not too many rich black people in this world. There's more wealthy Asian people and Caucasian and white. And I ain't giving my money up.''