The terrible injustice against Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada must be addressed.Three hours prior to my introduction to my first college class, I watched CNN as one of the most unjust and unreasonable jail sentences I have seen in recent history was passed down. The trial pertained to two San Francisco Chronicle sports journalists and the authors of the book “Game of Shadows”. This book was a very in-depth look at the world of anabolic steroids and the major players in the BALCO (Bay Area Laboratories Co-Operative) scandal.
As many already know, anabolic steroids have become a cancer in the world of baseball. It seems like all the previously worshiped athletes have been uncovered to have taken part in the disgrace of America’s pastime. Through all of that, Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada wanted to uncover the kingpins of the scandal to show the world how grim sports have become, and who is responsible. Yet their pursuit of the truth needed some fuel, and the only way to uncover the major players in the BALCO scandal was to do something illegal. It was the receiving of stolen Grand Jury testimonies that led Williams and Fainaru-Wada to be sentenced to 1½ years in prison, thus being the injustice that I wanted to present.
The founder of BALCO is Victor Conte. He knowingly distributed his different types of anabolic steroids to hundreds of professional athletes and trainers. Last year when he was sentenced to jail for his distribution, it was only for four months. The comparison of sentences between Williams and Fainaru-Wada and Conte is the unreasonable aspect that I mentioned earlier. Instead of being praised for their work in showing the world the most notorious man in the growth of steroids in sports, they are to serve a jail sentence fourteen months longer than the man responsible.
I feel that it was important for Williams and Fainaru-Wada to stand up for what they thought was the right thing to do and not give up their source. It is an unspoken rule in journalism that the journalists do not reveal their sources in effort to protect the ones that gave them the info. It is important to know that although receiving the Grand Jury testimonies was illegal, it gave everyone who wanted to know a chance to see what the world of steroids is all about. It is doing something wrong when it is the right thing to do, as convoluted as that may seem. Another instance of this is Woodward and Bernstein and their investigation of the Watergate scandal. What is interesting about this is that Watergate was a much larger scandal, because instead of professional athletes and trainers, Watergate uncovered the illegal activities perpetrated by the most powerful man in the world.
Woodward and Bernstein had a source, who was known as Deep Throat, yet never revealed who it that actually was. They also never served any jail time. They single-handedly forced the President of the United States to resign, yet never cooperated to the people who demanded to know who gave them their information. That is the most famous precedent for protecting Williams and Fainaru-Wada I can think of, and I also feel it is valid.
Williams and Fainaru-Wada will not serve any time until their case is presented to a Federal Appeals Court, and I hope that these two men have their case overturned and stay out of jail. They showed the public the bad people involved in poisoning athletes all over the country, and they should be treated accordingly.