He is back in jail again, for being loyal. Or being a bit crazy. Or because, as some believe, we are a world of skeptics and some day he will be paid for his silence.
Greg Anderson is the man no one can understand.
Except he’s remarkably disciplined, perhaps principled. He’s also the individual Barry Bonds is fortunate to have by his side, if not literally, since Barry is in a court room and Anderson is behind bars.
“Everyone’s negotiable,” was an observation of Muhammad Ali. Greg Anderson doesn’t seem to be.
He won’t sell out. He won’t give in. And even the government lawyers driven to extremes by Anderson’s stubbornness, for his refusal to be the key witness in this incredible waste of money, must admire his persistence.
The case is listed as “USA vs. Barry Lamar Bonds,” seemingly a nation, 320 million people, against one man. But there’s a second man, Anderson, who grew up with Barry, who trained Barry, who prosecutors contend provided steroids for Barry, and who continues to protect Barry by taking jail over taking the stand.
Tuesday, in the federal building on Golden Gate Avenue, Anderson, as he had indicated three weeks earlier with only a headshake, refused to testify in the Bonds perjury trial. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered him sent to custody for a third time.
Out to beyond the East Bay Hills to a federal facility where he’s spent many months. Often working in the kitchen. Not a word, just a routine.
This is what we know about Anderson, that when he was 10, his father was shot during a gambling dispute. That he played middle school baseball with Bonds on the Peninsula. That he wanted to be a major leaguer and attended Fort Hays State in Kansas, but realized he would never be, well, another Barry Bonds so he drifted toward weight lifting.
Anderson, at 45, is a year younger than Barry. He became one of three trainers for Bonds, specializing in lifting weights. The government alleged through the BALCO connection, Anderson began providing Bonds with performance-enhancing drugs. He’s a key figure in the case. The key missing figure.
In 2006, in 2007 and now again in 2011, Anderson wouldn’t squeal on his pal, under oath or in conversation. He continues to be found in contempt. He may he cited for obstruction of justice. So far it hasn’t mattered. The jail time has added up to more than a year. Anderson will not be broken.
This is what we read, what we hear, that there has to a payment, maybe into the millions, promised to Anderson.
What other motive could there be for Anderson’s refusals? Especially to protect Bonds, who could at times be arrogant and abrasive?
But the world is not all materialism. There are people who find reasons for their choices other than money in the hand. Maybe in the future, after the trial, after the jail time, Anderson explains his reason, not that he is under obligation to do so.
For now, we’re simply going to have to listen to those who do testify and wonder what is going through Greg Anderson’s head as the trial of his friend, Barry Bonds, proceeds without him.
Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.