Thursday, September 28, 2006

Can't Bonds Just Go to Jail Instead?

So Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada are going to jail. Williams and Fainaru-Wade are the two reports who wrote Game of Shadows and proved once and for all that Barry Bonds, among others, used the cream and the clear. They're going to jail because they won't reveal who leaked them Bonds' and others' sealed grand jury testimony.

For not being tattle-tales, they get to go the the slammer for 18 months. (All the different names for prison in the world and I pick 'slammer.' I sound like a detective from the 40s.)

Now, I can see both sides here. The government needs to know who the leak is - the US government can't have supposedly confidential testimony made public knowledge. It undermines the entire legal system. They government is trying to get to the bottom of something, and they need to be able to go about it discreetly and privately, if for no other reason that to let its "informants," for lack of a better word, speak freely.

On the other hand, Williams and Fainaru-Wada (Did you ever notice they are always credited in this order, even though it isn't alphabetical? I swear its so the writer can put of typing 'Fainaru-Wada,' even if just for a second longer. It really is a chore. I'm going copy and paste style from here on out.) are just doing their job. And this is the best way to go about it: a source is more likely to come forward if he or she can remain anonymous and avoid the wrath of the government. No way they get this information any other way.

I understand Williams and Fainaru-Wada's principles, I really do. But this isn't revealing the location of a case-breaking witness or hiding details in a crime or anything even remotely serious. This is about cheating baseball players. Jerks, too, by most accounts. They are really going to throw away a year and a half of their lives over this? Really?

If I was in their shoes - and thank God I'm not - I'd drag this out as far as possible, and then once they were driving me to the jail - if it eventually got that far - I'd crack. "Alright, boys, the gig is up. Whaddya wanna know?" ("The gig is up"? What decade am I living in?)

I'd apologize profously to my source, but I'd have to give him up. There's just no way I'm going to jail over some guy who leaked information. It's just not happening. I mean, don't either of these guys have families? Friends? A fantasy football team? Do they have no other reason to be on this earth other than to report on MLB's steriod scandal? Seriously, think about what they are throwing away and how long they are throwing it away - and then think about what they are throwing it away over. No one in their family is even slightly upset they are going away for a year and half because of Barry Bonds?

(Imagine being one of these guy's kids and tattling on one of your brothers or sisters? Good God. What would he do? Send him to his room for 18 months?)

Isn't there anything they can do about this? Can't they just plead the fifth? Isn't that what its there for? If you can't plead the fifth, when can you? Why doesn't everyone who pleads the fifth get sent to jail then?

Here's what I'm curious to know: Just how long would the government have to send them away for to make them give up their source? 5 years? 10? 25 to life? How set in their principles are they? I'd be curious to know, because if these guys can just do 18 months at the drop of a hat, well...makes you reconsider sports reports, doesn't it?

Think about it. How long would you go away to jail? I couldn't even do a day. I'm serious. There's just too many dudes like my man to the left over there who would wanna cuddle at night. Maybe if it was a ridiculously luxurious white-collar prison, maybe a day. Maybe. Just being honest.

And their source. When he leaked this information, he knew there was a chance of this, principles and promises be damned. He took a risk, too. So he can't be completely mad if they rat him out. Well, he can. But surely he can see where they are coming from.

By the way, how nervous do you think this guy is right now? He's probably still walking around the court house, gossipping over the water cooler: "Yea man, I kno...this is crazy. Wonder who it was? Any ideas? No? None? Good,, man, me either." He basically owes these guys his life. They could ask him to be their butler, and he really couldn't refuse, could he? Better than being in jail.

Again, I understand their principles. They made a journalistic, ethical promise to a source, and they feel compelled to keep it.

It seems to me like there was a competion between the government and the reports as to who could do their job better, and the reporters won. Now the government is pissed, and is going to get its way, one way or the other.

And to be honest, I think sending them to jail is absurd - the players and trainers cheated and broke the law; the informant leaked information he was forbidden to and broke the law - and the two reports go to jail? That doesn't quite add up.

But still: its the law. They knew it was the law. And they don't really have to go to jail; one name sends them on their way home. But they are choosing to do so almost entirely to make a point.

Hey, I commend them for it. I'm just saying I couldn't do it. Not in a million years.

3 comments so far. Might as well add your own.:

point23 said...

your blog sucks. die.

TheNumberZero said...

Like the Dips say...


Freckles said...

You need to stop reading those detective books, see. Also, who would go to jail if they speeled the beans.