We know we've touched on this already, but after several conversations about it this weekend, we're still fired up about it, so we're bringing it up again.
Here's the timeline of Barry Bonds' steroid "revelations:"
• March 7. Sports Illustrated publishes an excerpt from "Game Of Shadows." Revelation: Bonds took steroids at a dangerous, not-even-advised-by-his-own-doctors rate for a period of several years, including the season he hit 73 home runs. The documentation is impeccable and exhaustingly comprehensive.
• March 9: After two days of light coverage — including the great moment when the "CBS Evening News" led with the Bonds' steroids story and "SportsCenter" didn't — ESPN continues to frame the debate not about whether or not Bonds should be punished for steroid abuse, but instead whether Bonds is lying or the book is lying. Pedro Gomez pops up occasionally to inform us that Bonds has no comment at this time. Revelation: ESPN is protecting its investment in the Bonds' reality show; much sturm und drang between ESPN's news division and its Original Entertainment division.
• March 14: With the "Game Of Shadows" story already in danger of falling prey to the 24-hour news cycle — and props to several Deadspin commenters for predicting that would happen — ESPN suddenly discovers that Bonds might have done steroids ... and you can read about it in this week's ESPN: The Magazine. ESPN buys an excerpt from Jeff Pearlman's new biography of Bonds and runs it as their own big scoop. Revelation: Bonds had a conversation one time where someone — not Ken Griffey Jr. — heard him tell Ken Griffey Jr. that he was planning on someday maybe thinking of considering the possibility of doing steroids, perhaps.
• March 18: We have a conversation with two casual sports fans about Bonds, and they are able to recall the details of Pearlman's scoop about Griffey, but not those involving "Game Of Shadows." Revelation: The average fan still only gets their sports news from ESPN. Also, when you hit your head against concrete, it hurts.
We don't mean to pile on. But when you hear people talk about the ESPN monopoly, this is precisely what they're referring to.
ESPN's Barry Bonds "Scoop" [Deadspin]