Book: Conte urged athletes to keep quiet about 'roids

Updated: March 23, 2006, 3:39 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds juiced out of jealousy, Gary Sheffield followed his training buddy's lead and Jason Giambi did it to please his perfectionist father who loved the game, according to a new book.

Bonds denies jealousy claim
In an upcoming episode of ESPN Original Entertainment's show "Bonds on Bonds", Giants outfielder Barry Bonds denies being jealous of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and others, Daily Variety reports.

"Anyone who knows me knows I'm not jealous of anybody," Bonds says, according to Daily Variety, in a scene from the show. "I'm proud of what Mark McGwire did; I'm proud of what Sammy did. They lifted the game."

Bonds also denies that he was in Ken Griffey Jr.'s house at the time another new book, "Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero," alleges Bonds told Griffey Jr. and others that he was going to take steroids given the attention that McGwire and others who he believed were taking steroids were getting.

"Game of Shadows," which centers on Bonds' allegedly extensive drug regimen -- steroids, human growth hormone, insulin and more -- also undercuts Sheffield's claims that he took designer steroids unwittingly.

The book says BALCO's performance-enhancing drugs were used by several athletes, including track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, NFL players such as Bill Romanowski, and sluggers including Bonds, Sheffield and Giambi.

Sheffield has admitted that he used a cream two years ago but said he did not know it contained illegal steroids. The authors, however, say Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, put Sheffield on injectable testosterone and a human growth hormone in 2002, and later sold him designer steroids known as the "cream" and the "clear."

Sheffield adopted Bonds' heavy training program when he visited the San Francisco star after the 2001 season and lived in his home in Hillsborough, Calif., for two months, according to the book.

Though the two had a personal falling out, Sheffield wanted to maintain a relationship with Anderson so he could keep getting the drugs, the authors wrote.

On Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., Sheffield denied using any drugs mentioned in the book.

Wrap: 'Game of Shadows' authors
"Game of Shadows" authors Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams stopped by ESPN.com Thursday afternoon to discuss their book and the steroids scandal. Read the transcript

"What can I do? I'm not going to defend myself my whole life," he said. "It doesn't matter to me. I don't have anything to say. No need to. It is what it is."

The book describes how Bonds started using steroids because he was jealous of the attention paid to Mark McGwire's home run race with Sammy Sosa in 1998, and felt he needed to bulk up significantly to compete with the St. Louis Cardinals' slugger. Bonds broke McGwire's single-season record with 73 home runs in 2001.

Bonds used a vast array of performance-enhancing drugs for at least five seasons beginning in 1998, according to the book, written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters. Excerpts from the book, scheduled for release Thursday, were released earlier this month.

The book also says Bonds tried to shield himself from the unfolding BALCO scandal. It quotes Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative defense lawyer Troy Ellerman as saying attorneys from the supplement company met "three or four times" with Michael Rains, an attorney for Bonds.

"There wasn't any payment involved, there weren't any threats, there wasn't any quid pro quo, but he made it very clear that Barry would appreciate it if we kept him out of it. And we had several discussions about how Mike Rains knew what the score was -- and that is that he knew Barry was using," Ellerman said in the book.

"Shadows" also claims BALCO founder Victor Conte encouraged clients to keep quiet and claim they were taking flaxseed oil if asked by authorities about their use of a designer steroid known as "the clear," among the designer steroids distributed by BALCO that were said to be undetectable.

Bonds reportedly told a grand jury investigating BALCO in 2003 that his trainer said he was giving him flaxseed oil and arthritis balm. Bonds didn't acknowledge reporters while getting dressed for the Giants' exhibition game against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Giambi, the 2000 American League MVP when he played with Oakland, developed a relationship with Anderson during a baseball exhibition trip to Japan in 2002, by which time he had signed with the Yankees, the authors wrote.

The book said Giambi wanted to learn "what was Anderson doing to keep Bonds playing at so high a level. Could Anderson help Giambi, too?" Giambi later flew to Bay Area and met Anderson at a gym, and that the pair went to the hospital to have Giambi's blood drawn and take a blood and urine sample to BALCO.

The book said Giambi tested positive for Deca-Durabolin, and that Anderson advised the slugger he would fail baseball's new drug test, which was starting in the upcoming season.

Anderson then started Giambi on a cycle of testosterone, saying the hormone would clear his system before he was tested by the league. Calendars seized by government agents show Giambi took drugs similar to Bonds.

"I have nothing to say. I haven't seen it," Giambi said at New York Yankees camp in Tampa.

The book, which also implicates Giambi's brother Jeremy, said Giambi wanted to succeed at baseball in part because of his perfectionist father who loved the sport.

An unidentified lawyer quoted in the book claims Conte concocted several "cover stories" following the raid, among them recasting an alphabet code used for supplement distribution so that "C" on doping calendars stood for Vitamin C, not the "cream."

Conte also reportedly told athletes never to admit that Conte told them a substance was illegal or banned.

"Admit nothing, he advised," the book says, detailing the period following the September 2003 federal raid of the BALCO firm in Burlingame, Calif. "The government had nothing on him, and if everyone just played dumb they could all beat the case."

A trial that could have forced dozens of athletes to testify in open court was avoided when Conte and Anderson pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to distribute steroids and money laundering in a deal with federal prosecutors.

Robert Holley, who represented Conte during the investigation, said he would not comment on the accusations.

"It's such a can of worms that it would be unprofessional to talk about it after a case was over," Holley said Wednesday.

Baseball did not have a joint drug agreement with the union banning steroids and other performance-enhancing substances until September 2002. Bonds, who has never failed a drug test given by baseball, has previously denied using steroids.

The seven-time National League Most Valuable Player enters this season with 708 homers, seven shy of passing Babe Ruth and 48 from breaking Hank Aaron's career mark.

The book, based on a two-year investigation by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, includes an extensive summary of the authors' sources, including court documents, affidavits filed by BALCO investigators, documents written by federal agents, grand jury testimony, audio recordings and interviews with more than 200 people.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press