Thursday, November 15, 2007

Barry Bonds Indicted; Better Late Than Never.

The feds finally got around to indicting Barry Bonds for perjury and obstruction of justice. (Here.) The indictment is available on MSNBC. (Here.) It's about time.

I've written more than a few times before about the importance of holding Bonds accountable for his cheating. (If you're interested, you can read the posts at my old blog, misteramericano.com. Here.) The bottom line for me is this.

Like it or not, sports in America, especially baseball, is much more than just a game or a business. It's an iconic activity where our culture plays out our notions of fair play, competition, ethics, and character. If Bonds is never held accountable for using steroids, then a cheater will go down in American baseball history as the greatest homerun hitter of all time. That is not good for our culture because it undermines the value we place on integrity and fair play and because it nourishes cynicism.

Bonds may be a scapegoat for the entire steroids era, but Bonds is the guy who broke the most important hitting record in baseball. Who really cares what happens to the players who weren't as great as Bonds cheated himself into becoming? We can paralyze ourselves out of doing the right thing based on a sense that it's not fair to single out Bonds and let others get away with their own misdeeds. But it's an entirely appropriate allocation of resources to go after the most notorious offender and use that person as an example.

If we're lucky, this investigation will spread wide and baseball's dirty secrets will finally be revealed as facts rather than as rumors. Anybody who paid any attention to the mafioso-like arrogance on display when baseball executives and players testified before Congress over the past two years has to recognize that Major League Baseball needs a comeuppance.

In the meantime, it will be good to see Bonds on the defensive for his cheating and it will be even better if he has to pay for it. Bud Selig take note, what's good for Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose, is good for Barry Bonds.

-tdr

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