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Is Barry Bonds Witch Hunt Necessary?

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OPINION-EDITORIAL

By Leland Stein III –

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared a mistrial on the three charges that MLB homerun king Barry Bonds made false statements when he told a grand jury in December 2003 that he never knowingly received steroids and human growth hormone from trainer Greg Anderson.

The decision from the eight women and four men who listened to testimony during the 12-day trial left more questions than answers. Charged with four federal felony counts, he was found guilty of one obstruction of justice.

Did Bonds use steroids?

Maybe, but it seems like almost everyone did. If you believe former slugger Jose Canseco, who seems to have been right about all of his claims, about 70 percent of the big leaguers were on the using.

In 2003, Bonds did testified in front of a grand jury that he unknowingly used “the cream” and “the clear,” compounds used to relax a person’s muscles. Federal agents do not believe him, so in 2007 Bonds was indicted on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice.

Where is the Tea Party scream bloody murder? In tight fiscal times why are we letting the government spend over $10 million to go after a baseball player for something that happened eight years ago?

Would putting Bonds in jail make life safer for my children or I? Heck no! With crime running rampant does expending all these resources change anything? The man has not beat up any old ladies or car jacked anyone. If anything he only hurt himself.

I do not want my federal government spending millions of dollars of our tax money chasing a harmless baseball player, who conviction would be a fly on an elephant’s behind in terms of improving the quality of life for Americans.

Is race a factor in this?

It is interesting that the only athlete to go to prison so far over steroids is former track star Marion Jones, who is black. Even though the majority of baseball players are white, a black baseball player is the one who was facing prison time.

A White US cyclist Tammy Thomas only got six months house arrest in 2008 for felony convictions of lying to a grand jury about steroids.

You tell me what is happening here. Are we going back to the old axiom: “Justice is just us?” Another reason the Feds are wasting my money to get a baseball player is that they are mad at him for being him?

A defense lawyer for former slugger Bonds suggested at his federal perjury trial that “cagey” prosecutors tried to set him up during his 2003 grand jury appearance and were miffed that the former San Francisco Giant refused to be intimidated.

Two “highly trained” prosecutors fired questions at him, tried to mislead him, and “clearly tried to intimidate him,” Allen Ruby, Bonds’ lead lawyer, told jurors in closing argument. But Bonds was “not intimidated.”

“A lot of the venom in the government pursuit here is because he was not intimidated," Ruby told reporters. “He did not say, ‘Yes sir.’ He was not subservient.” He also denounced “some of the pettiness” that really is at the root of this important proceeding.

Ruby said prosecutors used unreliable witnesses to corroborate other unreliable witnesses.

Among them, Ruby said, was Kathy Hoskins, who shopped and packed for Bonds and testified that she once saw Bonds’ personal trainer inject him in the navel.

Defense lawyers argued that she was trying to protect her brother Steve Hoskins, who became a government witness against Bonds after Bonds complained to the FBI that Hoskins stole money from him.

Cristina Arguedas, another defense lawyer, told jurors that government agents failed to make proper reports or document evidence and withheld information from the jurors.

“How much time and money have they spent proving that Barry Bonds had acne and bloating… and impotence, and -- their favorite subject -- testicle shrinkage,” Arguedas said.

She reminded jurors that Bonds was taking prescribed corticosteroids, which had most of the same side effects as anabolic steroids, but prosecutors never told jurors that.

At one point, Arguedas raised the topic of “jury nullification,” a term used for times when jurors ignore the law and decide a verdict based on their view of justice.

“This is a false statements case, let’s all remember that,” Arguedas said. “I’m here because Kim Bell admitted she committed perjury about the size of Barry Bonds’ testicles.”

Kimberly Bell, Bonds’ girlfriend of nine years, told a grand jury that Bonds’ testicles shrank by half as a result of steroid use. She admitted during the trial that her statement was inaccurate and explained it was just an estimate.

What’s the point in all this? The Feds manufacture a case on two women’s shaky retorts . . . give that $10 million to my school district or me please.

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com.

Kings and Ducks Earn NHL Playoff Births

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By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Staff –

Cross town rivals and fierce Western Conference competitors, the Kings and Ducks never coast when they take the ice against one another.

This years final two hockey games for both clubs, gave fans a taste of the intensity of NHL’s second season to come, the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The speed and the hits on display in Anaheim and Los Angeles were proof that the rivalry is alive and well.

These teams really don’t like each other.

As the teams took to the ice against each other on Friday and Saturday night, the issue of who would finish ahead of the other in the division was up for grabs. The difference would also decide home ice advantage, in the first round.

Goal keeper’s Jonathan Quick of Los Angeles and Dan Ellis of Anaheim were solid behind the net. Ellis had 23 saves and stopped all but one attempt. Quick had an impressive 26 saves, however, he was unable to save two off the stick of Teemu Selanne as the Ducks beat the Kings 2-1.

With shouts of “one more year” the Anaheim faithful would be thrilled if future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne decided to play into his 40’s. The Kings, for one, probably wish he would have retired before his two goals on Friday night.

After 81 regular season games, the Western Division had several scenarios for teams to make or miss the playoffs, in their last two games.

Imposing center, Ryan Getzlaf suffered facial lacerations and was out of the Duck line-up for over a month. To pick up the pace, Anaheim’s Corey Perry simply scored a league leading 50 goals on the season. He is a strong candidate for league MVP.

The Ducks are healthy again, have home ice advantage as a 4th seed and may be poised to make a strong playoff run, like they did in 2007, when they won the cup.

The Kings will have to overcome the season ending injury to Anze Kopitar to make their playoff run. As a lower 7th seed, they will not have home ice, however, they draw San Jose, which is only a 45 minute taxi ride aboard Southwest Airlines.

In the end, no team in the Western Conference may be able to handle Vancouver, if they do get that far. The Canucks did draw a physical Chicago team for round one.

For Southern California fans, this marks the first time that both local teams have made the playoffs, in the same year. The seeds have been planted, the road to the Stanley Cup will begin on Tuesday.

Downtown Riverside Host Streetball Hoop Fest To Celebrate Sports And Leadership

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The streets of downtown Riverside serve as the sports backboard to the 2nd Annual Xcel Hoops 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament, May 21-22 in downtown Riverside. The family friendly outing is a celebration of sports, scholarship and entertainment featuring age bracketed competition for youth aged 8 to 80.

Demonstrations by UFC Gym and special guest appearances by the LA Clipper Girls, current LA Clipper players, and Harlem Globetrotter alum, Ron ”Teddy Bear” Knight, highlight the tournament and illustrate the event’s overall theme of leadership and personal development. In addition to the 3 on 3 tournament match ups, the event features a half court shooting contest with a $10,000 prize. The Game Truck and a Kid Zone will also be on site.

“We are hosting a unique tournament in southern California,” notes Dennis Brown, event organizer. “It is more than a high energy experience for the players. It involves the schools, parents, community based organizations and the sports community.

Everyone will walk away learning something or giving something,” he adds. In line with the organization’s mission, Xcel Youth Sports, Inc. will sponsor 100 students from local school districts by waiving their registration and fees.“We want the students to share in the fun and excitement but also show them the importance of developing positive attitude, good sportsmanship and effective leadership. This will be something that they will never forget,” says Brown.

Xcel Youth Sports, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting leadership and healthy living though sports and competition and hosting youth and adult programs in Louisiana and southern California. For more information, contact Dennis Brown at (909) 606 -1129 or visit www.xcelhoops.com.

Government Drops One Charge Against Barry Bonds

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(Reuters) - Federal prosecutors dropped one of five charges against Barry Bonds on Wednesday as the baseball home run king's lawyers rested their case without calling any witnesses.

Bonds has pleaded not guilty to perjury charges stemming from his denial to a grand jury in 2003 that he had ever knowingly taken performance-enhancing drugs.

The attorneys for both sides said they would give their closing arguments on Thursday, followed by jury deliberations in the case, one of the last strands of a probe into steroid use in professional sports that stunned the nation.

Bonds entered the court smiling on Wednesday, pausing to greet friends and family in the front row before taking his seat with his attorneys.

Government prosecutors had filed four charges that he lied to a grand jury pegged to four specific statements, as well as an obstruction of justice charge.

On Wednesday, the prosecution bowed to an argument by Bonds' attorneys that there was no evidence for one of the charges against the slugger -- that Bonds lied when he said he never "took anything" from his personal trainer prior to the 2003 baseball season.

"No, no, no, not at all," Bonds told the grand jury. "Not at all."

Based on the context, Bonds' answer could be narrowly understood to mean that he never took the "clear" and the "cream," a specific preparation of drugs meant to increase an athlete's testosterone in a way that could not be detected.

But the prosecution never presented evidence that Bonds used that specific drug before the 2003 season started, defense attorney Dennis Riordan argued.

Or Bonds' answer could be broadly understood to mean that Bonds never took any substance at all from his trainer -- even a hot dog, Riordan pointed out. In that case, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said, the answer is so vague as to be meaningless.

The grand jury was investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative whose head pleaded guilty to dispensing steroids to professional athletes.

Bonds hit 762 home runs, more than any other player in the history of Major League Baseball. While playing for the San Francisco Giants, Bonds broke Hank Aaron's 33-year-old career home run record in August 2007.

Three months later, a grand jury indicted him on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Bonds told the grand jury he did not knowingly use steroids or human growth hormone and said he never questioned the flaxseed oil, vitamins, protein shakes and creams his trainer supplied him.

The prosecution's decision to drop this charge leaves four others. The first three are charges of giving "false statements." First, he said, "not that I know of" when asked if he took steroids. Second, he said, "No, no," when asked if anyone had given him an injection other than a physician. Third, he said, "No," when asked if his trainer ever gave him anything he understood to be a human growth hormone.

Nick Cannon Appears at Rialto High School

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TV star attends pep rally is “Principal for a Day”

By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –

The students of Rialto High School were treated to a special day with the well known entertainer and television host, Nick Cannon.

The unique appearance was provided by the United States Army and radio station 99.1 FM. The station sponsored a contest to promote student participation on it’s website. Rialto students were the clear winners.

Rialto Superintendent, Dr. Harold L. Cebrun Jr. was so pleased that the radio station had provided such a wonderful opportunity for the students.

Cannon, known for his role in the classic film “Drumline”, rap music and TV hosting was a big hit with the students on Monday.

Cannon’s natural high energy connects well with the student body as he encouraged young people to reach for their dreams.

Rialto High School is a high spirited campus. The majority of students seem to be involved in a program or activity offered by the school. Sports, Naval ROTC and a variety of student organizations were represented at the pep rally.

The honored guest was treated to outstanding performances by the Rialto High School Marching Band, the pep squad and the drama department.

Cannon, a multi talent has not only survived in a tough industry, he has developed himself into host for NBC. Cannon is a young man who appears to be in control of his destiny, a theme he encourages others to follow.

In a special moment, the outstanding varsity girls basketball team was introduced and provided personal time with Nick. The ‘Lady Knights‘ (34-4) are the most successful basketball team in the school’s history.

The girls won the Southern Section CIF Championship on March 5th in Anaheim. On March 19, at USC’s Galen Center, the Lady Knights, on a last second shot by Janae Sharpe, won their State Regional and played in the State Championship in Sacramento.

Cannon currently hosts NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent’ as he and his wife Mariah Carey are expecting their first child.

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