Think about this for a moment. Oh, and make sure you read this entire post, if you're going to read it at all.
Let's say you are living near an area where they are building a bridge. A very impressive bridge, one that rivals the size of the Golden Gate Bridge, modern and imposing. On the very day the bridge is being completed, you happen to have a day off and decide to check it out up close. As the work crews are finishing, the architect, crew foreman, and head engineer walk up to you.
"What do you think of it?" they ask you.
"It's beautiful," you reply.
"Do you think it'll hold up?" they ask.
Now, how would you reply to that question? The architect, foreman, and head engineer are asking you, who have no real knowledge of bridge building, if this new bridge will do its job.
I know how I would react. Something along the lines of, "How the heck should I know if it'll hold up? I don't know anything about engineering, contruction, or architecture. You're asking the wrong guy."
Would I be going too far to assume that those of you who are as ignorant as I in these fields would answer in the same, general fashion?
If this is true with my hypothetical bridge example, then why are so many people willing to give their opinions on the subject of steroids and their effect on the human body as it relates to major league baseball?
I'd make another assumption that the vast majority of the people discussing this issue do not hold degrees in either chemistry or biology, and are not major league baseball players. Yet in every discussion I've had on this topic, those who believe steroid use, without a doubt, gives players an unfair advantage -- they argue so passionately, so ardently, that one would swear they were an authority on the subject. And how much reading, how much research have they done, really? I mean, the people with degrees in those fields have gone to school for eight, ten years just to be able to study more in those fields. Eight to ten years, just so they can start learning more. Yet people are arguing facts related to these fields after, maybe, an hour or two of reading on the subject? Color me skeptical.
Don't get me wrong, I have an opinion, too. It's almost impossible not to form an opinion of some sort, as we humans are wont to do so even when we have next to no knowledge of the subject.
My opinion? Quite frankly, I believe that Bonds likely did take some sort of steroid substance, and that he probably had an idea of what it was when using it. However, I also believe it unlikely that the use of steroids could give a player a significant advantage over his competition.
My problem with Barry Bonds, if it were proven he did knowingly take steroids of some sort, would not be the consumption of the drug itself, it would be with the idea that he himself thought it would give him an advantage. Although technically, by the rules, it wouldn't have been cheating, it's close enough in my book. I'd be as hard on Bonds as many others are now.
Despite my opinion, I will not engage in crucifying Bonds without proof. The court of public opinion is against Bonds, but that is supplied mostly by the media's prosecution of him.
If you do not think the media, in general, is biased against Bonds, you are living in a cave, and really should come out and get some sunlight. How do you treat someone who's been a jerk to you for a decade? Do you still treat that person the same as day one? Of course you don't, you become biased against that person. Keeping this bias in mind, do you not think it would influence the flavor of stories about him, influence the columns written about him? Sure, Barry is still a jerk -- I've thought so for many years, personally -- but him being a jerk doesn't make him guilty of anything. Let's think here for a second. We've got Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Ken Caminiti, and Jose Canseco as suspected or known steroid users.
Um, don't you think there's liable to be a few more than that? A few more, at least, who right now are happier than a sow in a mudbath that Bonds is taking 80% of the spotlight just by himself? A few more who will now get away scott-free, because most of the nation is fixed on proving one man guilty, instead of attacking the real problem -- steroids itself.
That would be like you robbing a bank for $100,000 but the police not investigating your theft because some other guy stole 2 million dollars. That wouldn't happen in real life, would it?
Another problem I have is with the arrogance of the media, believing that simply because they ask the question, Bonds should answer, and by golly he should be polite.
If someone accused you of stealing, and asked you questions about it repeatedly over the course of months...
Wouldn't you be surly? Wouldn't you be angry? Wouldn't you have an attitude? People are using Bonds' attitude as a condemnation of his guilt, which is the most idiotic thing I've ever heard. People are at their angriest, their most combative, when accused of something they did not do, not when they're guilty.
I've written quite enough on this subject, and I've got to quit. I hope I've given you all some food for thought, though, and hope that we will all endeavor to get hard, indisputable facts before forming an unwavering opinion on how Bonds should be perceived.
For now, I believe we should be neutral. Personally, I want to see the man swing a bat, not hold press conferences.