Burning the Bond holder
Sports stars are put on a pedestal once they prove their skillset is superior to most. They enjoy all the plaudits that go with being a top class athlete, and rightfully so. However, when things go wrong, it can be quite a fall from grace.
By Declan Whooley
Stanley Teitelbaum in his book ‘Sports Heroes, Fallen Idols’ believes the main reason top class athletes find themselves in controversy is due to their surroundings.
“Sports heroes frequently develop unrealistic views of themselves that are encouraged and reinforced when an adoring world treats them as elite,” the author said. Sounds a little like Nicklas Bendtner only he isn’t really elite.
This week JOE brings you five stars who have had their reputations severely damaged, starting with a notoroius baseball player.
As easy name to remember for an unforgettable character. Most people know the name of one of baseball’s most successful ever players, though his fame soared to a global audience after his court conviction surrounding the use of steroids last year.
Barry Bonds seemingly had it all. The son of an All Star Major League player, his accomplishments put him up as one of the greatest to ever grace the game. He has a record 7 Most Valuable Player awards, 14 All Stars and holds records in career home runs, season home runs and career walks (of the baseball nature of course), breaking some Babe Ruth records along the way. I could go through more accolades, but you get the drift, he was pretty tasty.
With such talent came some of the most lucrative contracts ever awarded to a sports professional. In 1993 he signed a contract with the San Francisco Giants worth a then record $43.75 million over six years. His next contract was worth $90 million, while in 2005 season his salary was $22 million – second only to Alex Rodriguez. By the end of the following year he had amassed a career fortune of $172 million.
In 2003, Bonds’ trainer Greg Anderson was indicted by a grand jury with supplying anabolic steroids to athletes, including leading baseball players. There were no drug tests in the sport at the time, but rumours began to surface linking Bonds to possible use of banned substances. In December he claimed he used a clear substance and a cream for nutritional purposes, as prescribed by Anderson.
In November 2007 Bonds was indicted on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice following his evidence three years previously. He had also tested positive for steroids in 2000 which only came to light at around the same time. Bonds was convicted in April last year on the obstruction of justice charge. The man with a degree in criminology was sentenced to 30 days of house arrest, but the appeal is expected to take over a year.
His agent Jeff Boris had expected ‘widespread’ interest in his client when his contract with the Giants ran out in 2007, but he did not have a team for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He never officially retired as he is close to breaking more records, but his time as a Major League player looked over, even before the drugs controversy.
His recent defence of Lance Armstrong as ‘the greatest cyclist of them all’ has not endeared him any further given the Tour de France’s public perception following his drug scandal, though unlike Bonds, all his records have been stripped away. Bonds has always defended his actions, as is evident in the following exchange with reporters, with an ‘eye for an eye’ type attitude. His prickly behaviour with the media was a constant feature throughout his career.