Poll: Giambi should be suspended

Updated: February 19, 2005, 10:23 AM ET
ESPN Research

An ESPN survey conducted this week shows the majority of people polled believe Giants slugger Barry Bonds knowingly used steroids and lied to the federal grand jury in testimony about steroids.

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Bonds reportedly told the grand jury he believed the substances given to him by his personal trainer were flaxseed oil and arthritis balm and only later learned that an FBI probe showed those substances to be steroids.

But a little more than 50 percent of the respondents to ESPN's scientific survey said Bonds was not telling the truth in the testimony, and 56 percent said Bonds knowingly took steroids.

Most people polled believed Bonds remains worthy of Hall of Fame induction in the future (52 percent of respondents and 68 percent of baseball fans among respondents) and that if he breaks Hank Aaron's home run record it should be recognized as a legitimate mark (44 percent). However, the steroids scandal led significant numbers to respond otherwise -- nearly 30 percent (and 22 percent of those who were baseball fans) said Bonds was not a Hall of Famer and 36 percent said a Bonds record should not be recognized. Bonds has 703 home runs, and every eligible player with more than 450 home runs has been inducted into the Hall.

Moreover, about 42 percent of respondents said the steroids scandal had ruined Bonds' reputation.

Barry Bonds
ESPN poll: Bonds' home run total has been boosted significantly by steroids.

Most of those polled indicated steroids had a positive effect on Bonds' home run totals. About 35.7 percent said he would have less than 600 homers without the aid of steroids. Another 13.4 percent said he would have between 600-699. About 26 percent said his home-run total would not be changed.

Most of those polled took a much harsher attitude toward the Yankees' Jason Giambi and Major League Baseball leadership.

More than 72 percent of those polled said Giambi should either be suspended or banned from the game after he reportedly told a federal grand jury that he took steroids.

Major League Baseball was selected as the least trustworthy of sources on the steroids issue. Only 15 percent of respondents picked Major League Baseball as the most trustworthy source when asked to select among players, Major League Baseball and media. The players fared best on this category at nearly 40 percent. A little more than 20 percent selected the media. More than 25 percent of respondents selected "none of the above."

Jason Giambi

Also, more than 57 percent of those surveyed said Major League Baseball leadership had knowledge of Bonds' steroid use in the majors well before allegations became public.

Overall, however, the game itself fared better in the survey. Slightly more than 57 percent of respondents said their interest in baseball was not diminished by the steroid issue; only about 16 percent said it had been. Also, most people (44 percent to 33 percent) indicated that baseball will not be severely hurt by the steroids scandal.

Most respondents ranked the use of performance-enhancing drugs as an important issue for them.

  • About 62 percent said they cared whether players used performance-enhancing drugs.

  • More than 50 percent said the players' use of performance-enhancing drugs was more unethical than players or managers betting on the game of baseball. (That number was split more evenly when baseball fans were broken out -- 45 percent said drugs were more unethical, 44 percent said gambling was more unethical.)

    Respondents also were asked to weigh in on Jose Canseco's allegations about steroid use regarding Mark McGwire and other major league stars. Most -- about 43 percent -- believed only Canseco's admission that he used steroids. Only 34 percent believed all of the other allegations made in recent television interviews and his book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big."

    In the ESPN survey, conducted by the Connecticut firm Markitecture, 603 people were interviewed by telephone from around the country. This survey is accurate within four percentage points.

    Do you believe Barry Bonds knowingly took steroids?

    Yes		56
    No		23
    Don't know	21

    Do you believe Barry Bonds was telling the truth in testimony about steroid use he reportedly made to the federal grand jury?

    No 		50.2
    Yes		26.9
    Don't know	22.9

    In light of recent reports about Barry Bonds and steroids, what is your view on his future Hall of Fame candidacy?

    He should be a Hall of Famer	52.3
    He is not worthy			29.3
    Don't know			18.4

    If Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's home-run record, it should not be recognized because I believe Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs.

    Disagree		43.5
    Agree		35.9
    Neither		17.4
    Don't know	3.2

    Barry Bonds reputation has been ruined by this scandal.

    Agree		41.9
    Disagree		35.7
    Neither		19.8
    Don't know	2.6

    If Barry Bonds had never taken performance-enhancing drugs, how many home runs would he have today?

    599 or less		35.7
    No change: 703		26.4
    600-699			13.4

    Jason Giambi reportedly told a federal grand jury he used steroids. What should baseball do about this?

    Suspend him		58.1
    Nothing			19.6
    Ban him 			14.1
    Don't know		8.2

    Which group do you believe most when it comes to information on the steroids issue?

    Players			39.6
    Media			20.3
    Major League Baseball	14.9
    None of the above		25.2

    Major League Baseball had knowledge of Bonds' use of steroids long before the public ever heard of this?

    Agree		57.6
    Disagree		16.7
    Neither		19.8
    Don't know	5.9

    My level of interest in Major League Baseball has been significantly diminished because of the steroids scandal.

    Disagree		57.1
    Agree		16.1
    Neither		24.6
    Don't know	2.2

    Baseball will be severely hurt by the steroids scandal.

    Disagree		43.8
    Agree		33.2
    Neither		21.5
    Don't know	1.5

    I don't care whether major league players are taking performance-enhancing drugs.

    Disagree		61.6
    Agree		25.3
    Neither		11.9
    Don't know	1.2

    Which do you think is more unethical, players or managers betting on baseball or players using performance-enhancing drugs?

    Players' drug use		50.5
    Gambling on baseball	37.9
    Don't know		11.6

    How much of Jose Canseco's allegations about steroid use in baseball do you believe?

    Only comments about himself		42.8
    All of it				34.1
    None of it			11.9
    Don't know			11.2