What do the following names have in common: five-time Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones, former NFL player Bill Romanowski, and MLB Home Run King Barry Bonds? Victor Conte. Conte is the founder and president of Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO). BALCO has been linked to almost every big sports name in recent years with steroids.
(BTW, that picture above is of Conte and his daughter) Conte entered guilty pleas in July 2005 to one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids and a second count of laundering a portion of a check; he was sentenced in to spend four months in prison and another four on house arrest. That’s not bad compared to what the other athletes he was linked to went through: Marion Jones became the first woman to claim five medals in an Olympics when she won three gold’s and two bronzes in Sydney, she had to give those all back, and most notably, Barry Bonds who is the Home Run King in all of baseball and will not be a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame like he should be with those records.
Victor Conte, the Former CEO of Balco, joins XTRA San Diego to talk performance enhancing drugs in sports, what he thinks of athletes that put up great numbers today, what his thoughts are on the books written about him and the steroids era in sports, and what he thinks of sports drug testing presently.
Asked why anyone should listen to him since he spent time in jail and distributed steroids:
“I am just trying to do what I can to bring about awareness, in some small way a chance to redeem myself. I certainly have lots of regrets and feel very sorry about everything that I did. I would like to do what I can at this point and from this point forward to help create positive change.”
Asked if athletes are putting up monster numbers now, if he is skeptical that they are clean now:
“Absolutely and it starts with the ineptness of the anti-doping policies and procedures, the loopholes are so big that you can drive a Mac Truck through them. If you don’t test these athletes repeatedly during the offseason and have transparency and fully disclose what the testing is all about, PED’s certainly work. I will never say everyone, but I believe once you get to that point the overwhelming majorities of an Olympic or world championship final are using some type of performance enhancing substance or method during their preparation for the competition.”
Asked how big of a problem PED’s are in the NFL presently”
“It’s a massive problem. When the congressional hearing took place and the executives from the NFL came before those members it was a joke. They simply pulled the wool over their eyes. They represented themselves of having this excellent anti-doping program and that they really didn’t have this problem and they got a green light or a free pass. They just don’t do sufficient testing during the offseason when the athletes use the drugs. So you can’t have a message to the players that the front doors to the barn are closed but both the side doors and back doors are wide open and expect to have these athletes not use drugs.”
(This post was written by Zach Krantz of WQAM in Miami)