Barry Bonds testified to a grand jury that
he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who
was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring, but said he didn't
know they were steroids, the San Francisco Chronicle reported
Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steroids known as "the cream" and "the clear," which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season. According to Bonds, the trainer told him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player's arthritis.
According to government attorneys, BALCO founder Victor Conte has identified the designer steroid THG as "the clear." A testosterone-based ointment was identified as "the cream." Olympic sprinter Tim Montgomery testified that Conte used flaxseed oil containers to send "the clear" to athletes.
According to a transcript of Bonds' Dec. 4, 2003, testimony reviewed by the Chronicle, prosecutors confronted the slugger with documents allegedly detailing the steroids he used -- "the cream," "the clear," human growth hormone, Depo-Testosterone, insulin and a drug for female infertility that can be used to mask steroid use.
Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains, said the leak of the testimony
was an attempt to discredit his client. Grand jury transcripts are
sealed and the Chronicle did not say who showed them the documents.
Rains described Anderson and Bonds as close friends who had been
training together for about the last four years.
"Greg knew what Barry's demands were. Nothing illegal," Rains
said at a news conference in Oakland. "This is Barry's best friend
in the world. Barry trusted him. He trusts him today. He trusts
that he never got anything illegal from Greg Anderson."
Even if the substances Bonds took were steroids, Rains said they
were not banned by baseball at the time and the slugger believed
they were natural. Bonds also maintains the substances did nothing
to aid his rise as one of the game's greatest home run hitters,
"Barry was tested several times this year and the results of
those tests were negative," said Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris.
"He put together statistically one of the most remarkable
seasons ever," Borris said in an interview. "There are people in
this world whose sole purpose is to try and figure out ways on how
to undermine the accomplishments of others."
Giants spokesman Blake Rhodes said the team wouldn't comment and
directed all questions to the commissioner's office.
Tony Serra, Anderson's lawyer, said Anderson "never knowingly
provided illegal substances to anyone."
Before the Bonds story was even published, U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said his office was concerned about the leaks to the Chronicle and asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate.
The Justice Department is reviewing whether to
initiate an investigation into the leaks, but no decision has been made, department spokesman Mark Corallo said.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told The Washington Post Friday that he will introduce legislation in January that mandates drug testing standards on professional sports if baseball players and owners don't adopt a stringent crackdown on steroids on their own.
"Major league baseball players and owners should meet immediately to enact the standards that apply to the minor leagues, and if they don't, I will have to introduce legislation that says professional sports will have minimum standards for testing," McCain said. "I'll give them until January, and then I'll introduce legislation."
In response to the continuing BALCO disclosures, Commissioner Bud Selig said:
"As I have repeatedly stated, I am fully committed to the goal of immediately ridding our great game of illegal performance-enhancing substances. The use of these substances continues to raise issues regarding the game's integrity and raises serious concerns about the health and well-being of our players.
"I am aware the Major League Baseball Players Association is having its annual meeting with its Executive Board of player representatives next week. I urge the players and their association to emerge from this meeting ready to join me in adopting a new, stronger drug testing policy modeled after our minor league program that will once and for all rid the game of the scourge of illegal drugs."
Prosecutors also questioned Bonds about "doping calendars" and other documents showing he used illegal substances that were seized from Anderson's home in a September 2003 raid. But the slugger denied knowing the drugs were steroids and said he had no knowledge of the doping calendars, which contained his name and notes about performance-enhancing substances. He also said he had never discussed steroids with the trainer; had never asked what the products he was given contained; and was certain Anderson wouldn't give him illegal substances without his knowledge.
"Greg and I are friends," Bonds told the grand jury, according to the Chronicle. "I never paid Greg for anything. ... You're going to bring up documents and more documents. I have never seen anything written by Greg Anderson on a piece of paper."
Bonds said that, to his knowledge, Anderson had only given him legal drugs to treat his arthritis and fatigue, which were especially bad when the Giants would play a day game after a night game. He said the trainer brought the substances to the Giants' clubhouse, where Bonds would use them.
"It was in the ballpark ... in front of everybody," Bonds testified. "I mean, all the reporters, my teammates. I mean, they all saw it. I didn't hide it."
However, Bonds testified that the products didn't help ease his suffering, and eventually he stopped using them.
"And I was like, to me, it didn't even work," he said. "You know me, I'm 39 years old. I'm dealing with pain. All I want is pain relief, you know? And you know, to recover, you know, night games to day games. That's it. And I didn't think the stuff worked. I was like, 'Dude, whatever,' but he was my friend.
"... If it's a steroid, it's not working," he told the grand jury.
Bonds' former teammates Armando Rios, Benito Santiago and Bobby Estalella, as well as former Oakland A's Jason and Jeremy Giambi, have admitted using performance-enhancing drugs provided by Anderson. All the players said they knew Anderson because he was Bonds' trainer, and all five also testified because they were offered immunity as long as they told the truth to the grand jury. But prosecutors warned the players, including Bonds, that they would be charged with perjury if they were discovered lying under oath.
According to the Chronicle, Gary Sheffield also testified that in 2002 Bonds arranged for him to receive "the clear," "the cream" and "red beans," steroid pills manufactured in Mexico. Sheffield further stated he was never told he was using steroids; that Bonds was using both "the cream" and "the clear"; and that he had no dealings with Anderson directly.
"Nothing was between me and Greg. Barry pretty much controlled everything," Sheffield testified. "... It was basically Barry (saying), 'Trust me, do what I do.'
"...I know I've seen Greg give Barry the same thing I was taking," Sheffield said. "I didn't see him taking those red beans, but I seen him taking this (clear) and this cream here."
Bonds has maintained he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs. But the Chronicle has reported that Anderson, in a secretly recorded conversation, claimed Bonds had used an "undetectable" steroid in 2003. Conte and BALCO vice president James Valente also told investigators that Anderson gave steroids to Bonds, although both have since denied making those statements.
According to the Chronicle, Bonds testified that he reconnected with Anderson, a childhood friend, in 1998 when he decided to replace his trainer at the time, Raymond Farris. He and Anderson began training at a gym near BALCO, and Anderson also began giving him "vitamin and protein shakes," Bonds said.
Sometime in 2000 or 2001, Bonds testified, Anderson persuaded him to undergo testing at BALCO in an effort to market Conte's legal nutritional supplement, ZMA. Bonds said Anderson eventually began giving him several supplements, "multivitamin to vitamin E to omega 3s to, you know, ZMA -- the ZMA that BALCO had -- to liver pills to oxygen ...
"But I had no doubt what he was giving me, because we were friends" Bonds said.
Bonds testified that he met Conte a few times but never paid for the supplements, instead doing an ad endorsing ZMA for Muscle & Fitness magazine. Bonds said he couldn't explain an invoice stating $450 for blood tests; when asked about documents stating he had paid $450 for a bottle of Depo-Testosterone, Bonds said, "I have never seen this bottle or any bottle pertaining that says Depo-Testosterone."
According to the Chronicle, prosecutors questioned Bonds about several other documents, including some that suggested he was using the steroid trenbolone and modafinil, an anti-narcolepsy drug used as a stimulant. Bonds said he had never heard of those drugs. Another document read, "Barry 12-2-02, T, 1 CC G -- pee."
"T could mean anything," Bonds said. "G could mean anything. And pee could probably mean anything."
Bonds also testified he didn't know about documents indicating BALCO had begun screening his blood for both nutritional deficiencies and steroids in 2001. Bonds did say, however, that in 2003 he became suspicious of baseball's steroid testing program and asked Anderson to have him tested.
"We got tested two times this season unannounced," Bonds tesified. "I don't trust baseball. They say it's anonymous, but then they put your name on it. So I don't trust baseball. So I asked Greg ... 'I want to know what baseball's doing behind our backs.'
"I never saw the papers, never saw the results. Greg just said, 'You're negative,'" Bonds said.
According to the Chronicle, Bonds said he never paid Anderson for drugs but said he paid him $15,000 in 2003 for weight training and a $20,000 bonus after his 73-home run season.
"I paid him in cash," Bonds said. "I make $17 million."
Bonds also bought Anderson a ring after his record-breaking season and another ring to commemorate the Giants' 2002 World Series appearance.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.