The lawyer for Major League baseball's all-time home run king Barry Bonds says that his clinet did nothing wrong and never knowingly took illegal steroids. The denial does nothing to clear the cloud around the man who is chasing the all-time home run record.
At an afternoon news conference Friday, Michael Rains said that Barry Bonds never knowingly took illegal steroids. "Barry had no reason to believe, not one reason in the world to believe that he was taking anything illegal," he said.
The news conference followed a report in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper that said Bonds told a grand jury he used a clear substance and a cream his personal trainer Greg Anderson gave him. Bonds testified that Anderson told him the substances he used in 2003 were flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis. According to the report, Bonds said he did not know the creams contained steroids.
Anderson was later indicted in a drug probe involving a San Francisco area laboratory BALCO. On Thursday, the newspaper reported New York Yankees' slugger Jason Giambi told the same grand jury that he took steroids and other performance-enhancing substances.
The reports are based on a transcript of testimony in the BALCO steroids case. Such testimony is typically sealed, but leaks to local newspapers have been common throughout the case.
Bonds has continually maintained his innocence, saying during this year's Spring training that he never knowingly used steroids. "My family and all the people around me know the truth. And you know guys I don't think we really are going to have to talk about it when all the testing comes out. And it will come out and you will be able to see it and there will not be any questions after that point," he said.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says that Major League baseball's policy on steroids needs to be tightened. "When it comes to the issue of steroids, there is no equivocation; we need a very tough policy," he said.
Baseball's current policy puts players in a treatment program for a first offense. If a player under treatment fails another test, is convicted or pleads guilty to the sale or use of a prohibited substance, that player is subject to discipline.
Any player failing his treatment program can be suspended without pay for 15 days and fined $10,000. Fines and suspensions increase to a maximum of one-year without pay with a $100,000 fine for the fifth offense.
The head of the World Anti Doping Agency - Dick Pound - has called Major League Baseball's plan "a joke" because it does not treat the problem seriously enough.