In the public eye, the use of steroids or any other sports performance enhancement drug is like a man taking erectile dysfunction drugs to enhance performance. No one seems to care. In the sports world, the use of steroids and other sports enhancing drugs is banned. They demean the sports and performance of those who play by the rules. None of this matters in the public view which may say a lot about how we feel about sports. I think it says less about sports than it does about how we judge what is important to us in the legal system.
The money spent by the Justice Department to bring down athletes like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens is astronomical and in the millions. Fortunately, the Justice Department passed on bringing charges against Lance Armstrong although the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is now pursuing charges against him. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is jointly funded by the US Olympics and the federal government. The case is not a criminal one. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles ended its two year investigation of Armstrong in February and refused to bring charges.
The Roger Clemens trial did not generate a strong opinion either way. Clemens was on trial for lying to Congress about taking steroids. Even the jurors hearing his case didn’t seem all that interested. Two were dismissed for sleeping throughout the trial. And one fell asleep during closing argument but was allowed to remain. The jurors stayed awake long enough for 4 hours on Monday when they delivered their not guilty verdict on all charges.
No one seems to play by the rules these days. And that doesn’t just apply to sports. The people who should be investigated, indicted and put on trial are the Wall Street bankers, banks and financiers who illegally bilked our system out of billions and brought it down with the worst economic collapse since the depression. That includes many of the sub- prime mortgage companies who unscrupulously caused the foreclosure crisis while lining their pocketbooks. Many of these banking companies also illegally enhanced their performance in the financial world. Yet, the Justice Department has failed to go after them.
If the Justice Department ever gets around to indicting and placing on trial the wrongdoers who illegally caused our financial failure, the public will stay awake and pay attention. Somehow, the system looks the other way when it comes to the financial institutions that do wrong and enhance their pocketbooks at the cost of everyone else. If these crooks are ever put on trial, everyone will sit up, stay awake , listen and pay attention.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She also writes for the Huffington Post.