On the eve of the day Major League Baseball's home run king is scheduled to receive his sentence for 2003 obstruction of justice charges, BALCO founder Victor Conte released a statement supporting Bonds and condemning the federal case against him.
NEWS: Bonds to be sentenced for obstruction charge Friday
Conte says he believes Bonds was "selectively prosecuted," and that the case was not the "best use of the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars that were spent."
Below is Conte's official statement:
Obviously, the BALCO case brought about a greater public awareness regarding the rampant use of drugs at the elite level of sport, which is a good thing. Although anti-doping efforts have improved, the testing is still relatively easy to circumvent.
I do not believe that those legally involved in the BALCO case were treated equally. Usually, those at the top of the food chain in drugs cases receive the greatest consequences. However, that's not what occurred in the BALCO case. There were major drug suppliers involved who cooperated with the prosecutors and received no consequences whatsoever.
It also seems that the athletes with the biggest names who could possibly bring more headline news were treated far differently than the others. For example, I've read all of the athletes' grand jury testimonies in the BALCO case. Most of them lied at some point during their testimonies. Whether they told big lies or small lies, most of the athletes told some kind of lie to the grand jury. I have no doubt that Barry Bonds was treated differently than other athletes involved. It's likely because he was the highest profile athlete of all. Based upon the evidence, it appears to me that Bonds was selectively prosecuted.
As the BALCO case comes to a close, I do not think it was the highest and best use of the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars that were spent on the case, especially during the current economic crisis.