This is an article from the April 25, 2011 issue
The NBC and MLB Network broadcaster has an issue with some of the reaction to Barry Bonds being found guilty of only obstruction of justice.
Dan Patrick:What was it about the Barry Bonds trial and aftermath that drew your ire?
Bob Costas: It's definitely not about Barry Bonds. What irks me is that people just can't come to terms with what is obvious. Some continue to try to soft-peddle the impact that steroids had on the game. You'll hear [critics say] there was cheating in every era. Yes, there was. But this was the most effective form of cheating. It's only steroid use that completely distorted the game ... that didn't just give guys an edge but transformed them. And at the top of that list is Barry Bonds. When you see [Giants pitcher] Matt Cain say that the verdict proves that Barry Bonds did nothing wrong, you say to yourself, maybe [Cain] should stick to pitching and stay away from deductive reasoning.
DP:Who do you consider the single-season and alltime home run kings?
BC: Roger Maris. Hank Aaron.
DP:I don't think a Hall of Famer uses performance-enhancing drugs at any point in his career. Do you think some players who did use should get in?
BC: Your feeling, and the feelings of others, is: I don't care if you hit 800 home runs and the last year of your career you used and you were caught, you're out. I can appreciate that argument. On the other hand, I also think it's plausible for someone to make a distinction between the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens—who were clearly Hall of Famers before they ever [were accused of] juicing—and someone like Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire, who I don't think would have had Hall of Fame credentials had they not used steroids.
DP:Is Barry Bonds a Hall of Famer?
BC: After withholding the vote the first couple of times, yes. I would vote for him eventually.
BC: Same deal.
DP:There's no hard evidence that Sosa used.
BC: Yes, but the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. You have to make a distinction between a court of law and the standards of evidence there. But in the court of public opinion you have more than enough information to reach a reasonable and fair conclusion that Sammy Sosa's performance was not authentic.
BC: My feeling is that, as long as nothing additional surfaces, the overall body of work will be good enough that he could get the benefit of the doubt—and you could say even without that he could achieve Hall of Fame status. You get into a different situation with a guy like Rodriguez, who will have a long career where he's apparently putting up Hall of Fame quality performances poststeroids.
DP:But with A-Rod we have real evidence.
BC: If someone doesn't want to vote for A-Rod, I wouldn't say they're wrong. But I'm inclined to vote for him because you could say that a portion of what he did was influenced by performance-enhancing drugs, but pretty clearly he would have been a Hall of Famer without them in any era.
• Make-up Call
Kobe Bryant talked to me about the impact of getting caught on camera using an antigay slur during a game versus the Spurs on April 12. The Lakers star said he took full responsibility for his remarks toward referee Bennie Adams and that they were "stupid and ignorant." Bryant admitted he had used that particular slur before on the court, but now he wants to help eradicate it. "It's about getting that message out there to kill that word," Bryant said. If the cameras weren't pointed at him at that moment, none of this would have come out, and I hope Bryant isn't handling this incident just to make it go away. Because of who he is, Bryant has a unique opportunity to raise awareness about hateful language. He can start by working with gay rights groups after the season when this story has disappeared from the sports pages.
• Line of the week
Buck Showalter on how the Orioles would have been viewed for a possible story at ESPN, where he was an analyst before taking over as Baltimore's manager last season: "I've been in those meetings where they go, 'Listen, the Orioles aren't going to be in this for very long, so let's go ahead and do a piece on them.'"
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Jake Locker talks about where he expects to go in the NFL draft.
2. Derek Fisher on the Lakers-Hornets series, NBA labor issues.
THE FINE PRINT: The NFL released its list of most popular jerseys. Troy Polamalu was No. 1. At No. 11, a surprise, U.S. District Court judge Susan Nelson.