About half an hour after this post goes up on Niners Nation, opening statements will begin in the case of the United States v. Barry Lamar Bonds. The Barry Bonds perjury and obstruction of justice trial goes back roughly eight years to his testimony to the BALCO grand jury. It's taken eight years and several amended indictments to finally get this case to trial, but at least it has begun. A twelve-person jury was empaneled yesterday and the trial is expected to last three to four weeks.
I bring this up now for a couple of reasons. The first is because I will actually be covering the trial for SB Nation Bay Area. I was able to score a media pass to the trial and so I'll be spending a few days a week in the courtroom here in San Francisco observing the trial. More importantly I'll be blogging and tweeting live from the court room. I've got a dedicated story stream over at SB Nation Bay Area and I'll also be tweeting through the morning until lunch time. I'll have some updates in the story stream, but check out @sbnbayarea for more frequent updates. Tomorrow is primarily the opening statements so it won't get too crazy. However, with Jason Giambi and others set to appear over the coming weeks, it could be quite the circus.
The second reason I bring this up is because of the issue of performance enhancing drugs and the NFL. When it comes to busting athletes using steroids and other drugs, it seems like baseball is the big hitter. When a player tests positive in baseball it's a bigger deal than in other sports. After all, Shawne Merriman tested positive for performance-enhancers and people really didn't bat much of an eye. If an MLB Rookie of the Year tested positive for steroids there would be a huge uproar.
Given the physical nature of football and the unbelievable size of football players compared to other athletes, are we talking about a sport and fanbase that is more open to turning a blind eye to this kind of thing? There has been some discussion about beefing up drug-testing but in the current CBA negotiations the primary discussions are about money. Will we see a stronger drug testing policy come out of this negotiation? Or is the state of testing such that it will take some time to develop it?
There really are tons of questions surrounding this subject, so this is as much an open thread on the subject as anything else. I know people who have no problem with performance-enhancing drugs, and others who think it's the worst thing imaginable for professional athletes. Where do you fall on this spectrum?