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Jones: Innuendo Equals Reality

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By LELAND STEIN III

When does innuendo turn into reality? What is reality? The line between what’s real and what’s a perception is getting more convoluted everyday.

Even respected news mediums are reporting information that’s yet to be substantiated, while condemning individuals without clear provocation – only innuendo is necessary.

I know I’m only talking about sports and sports are games that entertain us; yet, there seems to be an encroachment that will permeate beyond sports and creep its way into everyday life. Once law is enacted on the books, it’s law.

When one can be convicted — either in a court of law or by public opinion — by mere mention of an accusation, then it is something we all should take notice of.

U. S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is silently taking away many of our civil liberties under the guise of fighting terrorism. This subtle change in law is creeping its way throughout American life. The conservative movement is overwhelming our sensibilities.

The need to convict, condemn, accuse and vilify someone for something is the call of the day.

I say all this as a direct result of the recent call by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (the U.SA.D.A, did you know there was such an agency spending our tax dollars?) and the Senate Commerce Committee for exclusion of worthy Olympic athletics from competing in the 2004 Athens Games based on accusation, no matter if they have failed a drug screening test or not.

Most people do not have a real connection with the fortunes of the athletes involved; they only read about the outcomes, and then exclaim, “Wow! How did that happen to such-and such?”

When the Balco — Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative — steroid witch hunt found its way to Olympic champion Marion Jones, I could only cringe.

How do we process all the information coming from publications that most consider gospel?

Most just ingest the negative scribings and they then become reality by sheer quantity of mention and respect for the publications that unleash innuendo.

I’ve known Jones since she was a high school phenomenon in Thousand Oaks, California. She has always been great!!!

Many that are quick to accept the negative urgings of the witch hunt movement do not know her. If they knew that she still holds national high school records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, they would reevaluate the negative information they ingest.

I was present her senior year when she won California State titles in the 100 and 200, as well as the long jump.

The lady is just a natural athlete; she did not just become great on a steroid whim.

In fact, Jones accepted a basketball scholarship to North Carolina in the face of her superior athletic prowess in track. Many at the time called her crazy, stupid and out-to-lunch for not putting track and field first.

No matter, in her first year at North Carolina, she helped lead the Lady Tar Heels to the NCAA Women’s title. It was NC’s first and only title.

Jones is simply magic. She has that special something that only God can give.

Now Jones, who has returned to the sport that was her special calling after college and dominated the sport like only she can, is seeing her star diminished by innuendo and a government probe that has gone out of control.

The Balco Center was the world’s best nutrition center, but has fallen in the face of the government probe.

The government called hundreds of athletes to testify, but somehow Jones and baseball legend Barry Bonds have become the focal points, although neither have tested positive for steroids, nor have they been legally accused of ingesting the dreaded banned substance.

No matter, based on the talk radio circuit and the media spin coverage, most do not know neither has been convicted of any wrongdoing.

It’s been reported by San Francisco and San Jose papers — each in competition with the other — that Victor Conte, the lab’s founder, in a memorandum has accused Jones, Bonds and others; however, Conte recently noted that he has never given Jones or Bonds steroids. He notes the Federal investigators have fabricated the stories and there was never a taped interview that affirms the allegations.

Jones’ lawyers have called the unsubstantiated leaks "character assassination."

The United States Olympic Committee has cajoled for the U.S.A.D.A to produce full documentation so that those that are guilty or innocent can be determined.

The fact of the matter is Jones and Bonds are just too good to be true for those that want to convict and slander somebody, anybody!

Leland Stein is a veteran journalist/columnist; he can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com

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