July 21, 2019

Mr. President: It’s Time to Let Bonds and Clemens Fade Away

June 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Dear Barack,

I know how big a sports fan you are, so I’m sure you saw yesterday’s court decision to throw out key evidence in the perjury case against Barry Bonds. Your prosecutors have not commented on whether they will continue to try the case or fold. So before they can decide to waste more taxpayer money—$50 million and climbing—chasing after a soon-to-be 46-year-old baseball player, I’m urging you to order them to stop.

No, actually, I’m begging you. I also hear that your assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington is about to indict Roger Clemens for lying to Congress, so would you please put an end to that, too. If you need the quick background, ask the head of your criminal division, Lanny Breuer, who was representing Roger in this case before you brought him in to help clean up the mess left by your predecessor.

Yes, I know you guys offered Roger a plea deal and he turned it down. But what’s to be gained here? Even if Roger was clean, no one is ever going to believe him. George Mitchell and the media has taken care of that. I have no love lost for the Rocket—hey, Roger and his camp stopped returning my calls after I defended him last March—but Clemens has been in exile for the past two years, just about the time he’d have spent in jail on this charge. Do we really need to waste the Justice Department’s time and more of the taxpayers’ money here, too?

And while I still have your attention, would you please tell the judges in the California Ninth Circuit of Appeals to have the Balco prosecutors return the list of positive test results and urine samples taken from MLB in 2003. You know, the “A-Rod List” that was leaked to the media last spring. (By the way, how is that leak investigation going?) I know most of the baseball media and fans want to see who else is on that list, but three federal judges and the appeal court itself have already ruled baseball players have civil rights just like the rest of us. Let the union and MLB dispose of the results and samples as they collectively bargained to do in 2002. It’s time to put this one to bed, too.

Now, I know outing baseball stars will grab the media attention again, and you probably wouldn’t mind a day or two off from the BP mess, both wars, and the latest Congressman who says you offered him a job. (Geez, are you that tough to work for?) But you’re above the politics of distraction, right? (Please say yes. I’m begging here again.)

And I know Rahm and Gibby will tell you the Republicans will howl about the sanctity of telling the truth before government officials. (Yes, I’m laughing here, too.) Just remind them if that were the case, a good chunk of Congress, the head of the Fed, and most of the industry leaders you’ve been parading through Washington lately would be facing perjury charges, too. Let’s all try to be grown ups on this one.

But if you’re really itching to throw a few people in jail—and I certainly don’t blame you if you do—we’d have your back if you went after the criminals in Big Oil, Wall Street, and all those loveable regulators who’ve been screwing around on the job while the rest of us have been getting royally screwed. Just say when.

So let’s see if we can get this baseball stuff all wrapped up by July 4th and enjoy the All-Star game with a little peace of mind. I know your friend Bud Selig would appreciate that.

Thanks for listening.

All the best,


Jon Pessah writes on the intersection of sports & culture. He is a regular contributor at TrueSlant (http://trueslant.com/jonpessah) and a founding Editor of ESPN The Magazine. He Tweets @jonpessah.

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