Much Ado About Nothing

The latest announcement about Barry Bonds and his legal matters basically allowed all formats of media to bury the lede if they so chose. It’s a matter of semantics and phrasing, essentially. The headline reads:

“New indictment against slugger Bonds unsealed”

But further down in the USA Today copy (hat tip again to D-Wil at Sports on My Mind) and if you happened to catch ESPN’s quick bite with its legal analyst Roger Cossack, you will happen to catch the buried lede: there are no new charges in this indictment; rather, it is simply a re-filing of the original, cleaned up at a judge’s orders in February. Cossack described the filing as “an imprecise manner” and “old wine in a new bottle.”

And yet you have this as the lead item for outlets, with nothing of note happening in the actual case. Bonds likely won’t see a courtroom until next year for the charges, still based on accusations he lied about alleged steroid use on the stand. I just heard Bill Pidto read a teast on ESPN News that stated “new charges filed against Barry Bonds,” when there was no such thing — it’s either sloppy on behalf of the writer or producer (and believe me, your average broadcast TV writer or producer is not exactly the best with legal jargon) or intentionally deceptive.

Given the rumblings last week about the MLBPA looking into the possibility of collusion regarding Bonds not even receiving an offer to sign with a major league franchise this year, it seems conveniently timed. (I would not actually allege this; there’s too much stretching to do right now.)

If you’d like to read the indictment, which basically turns five counts into 15, here it is.

New indictment against slugger Bonds unsealed [USA Today]
Barry Bonds’ “New Indictment”: Same as the Old Indictment [Sports on My Mind]

Photo: Lester Cohen

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