The Barry Bonds case again shines the light on domestic violence among athletes. There is a long history of domestic violence allegations against famous players including OJ Simpson, Chris Benoit, and Adrian Peterson. However, Barry Bonds might be the first professional to face federal charges for his accusations. Although he was tried for perjury and obstruction of justice, those charges centered on his denial of the use of performance enhancing drugs. At trial, Bonds told a grand jury he had not knowingly taken steroids and was not lying when he said that in testimony before the committee.
It was noted by prosecutors that Barry Bonds’ ex-girlfriend testified that she saw him with needles while at her house. She also stated under oath that Barry Bonds once grabbed her by the hair and hit her head against the floor, among other things. Barry is accused of being jealous of other men who approached his girlfriend so he allegedly began to beat her up starting at 2 months after they moved in together. Barry’s lawyer stated, “The government knows it cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Barry Bonds lied about taking steroids.”
At this time Barry is facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Barry Bonds, the most decorated player in baseball history, is among several athletes who have been accused of domestic violence. Some examples are OJ Simpson, Chris Benoit, and Adrian Peterson. Unfortunately it seems that the problem is getting worse with each new case that comes to light. Barry’s trial shows that professional sports seem to lead toward domestic violence more than other careers do. Barry was once quoted saying “I told her if she ever cheated on me I would kill her. Barry has never publicly said whether he used steroids or performance enhancing drugs but there are many allegations about him having done so.
There are many cases where an athlete uses physical abuse when his girlfriend or wife cheats. Barry Bonds’ story is not so different from the other well-known athletes who have been caught in domestic abuse cases. Even though Barry’s trial does not have anything to do with his past allegations of being on steroids, it seems to be another example of how Barry has gone against the criminal code in his life.
Domestic violence, commonly referred to as “battering”, is typically defined as any act of abuse or aggression that can result in physical harm. Barry Bonds has been accused of domestic violence with several different women throughout the span of his life, including one he dated for nearly five years who had an infant daughter with Barry. Barry was arrested on three separate occasions for spousal abuse against this same woman, but only sentenced the first time he pleaded guilty. Barry’s second alleged victim was also pregnant at the time she claimed Barry had hit her.
Barry denies that there was ever a violent encounter between himself and either alleged victim. Barry Bonds’ first incident involved an argument between himself and his girlfriend over what television show they were going to watch. This escalated into Barry throwing the remote control at his girlfriend, which hit her leg and caused her to bleed. Barry was arrested for spousal abuse, which he pleaded guilty to (he was not sentenced) and the woman declined to press charges further.
Barry’s second incident occurred at Barry’s vacation home in Lake Tahoe. His girlfriend alleged that Barry went on a rampage through their house after she didn’t answer the phone when Barry called; Barry refuted this claim by saying he only acted aggressively towards his girlfriend after she threw a potted plant at him first, which according to Barry injured his knee. As seen above, Barry did plead guilty to this charge but was never sentenced due to having spent less than 72 hours in jail.
Barry’s third incident occurred at Barry’s house, where Barry initially claimed his girlfriend instigated a fight by throwing a lamp at him. Barry changed his story later on to say that he pushed the woman out of the room, which Barry claims was not violent because he states that there were no marks or bruises left on her body from the encounter. Barry’s girlfriend went to the police station but did not press charges against Bonds due to how quickly it had been since their last fight and also because she believed Barry would be truthful about their relationship being an isolated incident.
In 1991 Albert Belle, a Major League Baseball center fielder for the Cleveland Indians, pleaded guilty to one count misdemeanor assault and battery after dragging his ex-girlfriend down a flight of stairs and then punching her in the back of the head. He received a sentence of 30 days in prison, six months home detention, and three years probation. In 1994 Belle was arrested for stalking his ex-girlfriend, as he called her more than 900 times trying to make amends or get her back.
Less than two weeks after this incident, Belle ended up violating his restraining order against the same woman by getting physically close enough to her at a church function that she called the police out of fear. Barry Bonds’ third victim also reported multiple incidents where Barry had stalked and harassed her even though Barry’s initial arrest involved only one instance of battery (he pushed his girlfriend; she never reported any injuries). In Barry Bonds’ case there is a strong correlation between Barry’s alleged victims being pregnant and Barry’s aggressive behavior.
Barry’s first victim was six months pregnant at the time, his second victim was also six months pregnant, and Barry Bonds’ third alleged victim has a child that is nearly five years old with Barry. The results of domestic violence can range from very light physical items such as bruises to severe injuries such as broken bones or internal bleeding to even death–and there are always signs of physical abuse on women who have suffered domestic violence.
Some of these signs include chronic headaches, recurring stomachaches or nausea, frequent complaints about sore throats or coughing up blood, changes in eating habits (such as eating less than normal), fatigue, weight loss an increased appetite (which could be a sign that the victim is eating to deal with her stress), and changes in sleeping patterns (such as trouble falling or staying asleep).
Barry spent five days in jail for Barry’s second domestic violence incident, which may have been enough for Barry to realize Barry’s potential consequences if Barry were to get arrested again. Barry was charged with knowingly attempting to injure another person, assault with a deadly weapon–the remote control–and battery causing serious bodily injury.
As seen above after Barry’s third alleged incident, his girlfriend never pressed charges against him even though Barry threatened one of their children in an argument that escalated into Barry getting physical. With this information it appears that there are three possible reasons why Barry never got convicted for any of these incidents: Barry’s girlfriend would not press charges, Barry reached a settlement with his alleged victims to keep the incident out of the public eye, or Barry got one of his friends in law enforcement to throw the case.
Barry Bonds has also had two paternity suits brought against him by different women—the first was settled out of court and Barry claimed that this woman was extorting money from Barry after Barry had already given her $80,000. The second came about when Barry’s daughter (with whom Barry has no contact) sued Barry for failing to pay child support even though he wrote her mother a monthly check for $5,700.