Bonds' trainer peripherally links Tom Brady to BALCO scandal
By Teri Thompson
New York Daily News
NEW YORK - For the most part, the NFL has avoided the intense scrutiny that has plagued Major League Baseball in the BALCO steroid era. But those days may be nearing an end. One of the NFL's biggest names - New England quarterback Tom Brady - has peripherally emerged in the BALCO investigation.
Federal prosecutors Thursday will try to convince a judge to throw Barry Bonds' personal trainer back in jail for refusing to testify, this time before a newly assembled grand jury that is reportedly also investigating track coach Trevor Graham and other athletes. In a statement to prosecutors about his intentions to keep quiet, Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, invoked Brady's name, effectively dragging the three-time Super Bowl winner into the biggest steroid scandal in U.S. sports history, saying the two had spoken over the phone but never made further contact.
Several NFL players have emerged in the BALCO investigation, along with numerous baseball players, but none with the star power of Brady. Even if Brady is only remotely tied to Anderson and BALCO, he could find himself subject to the questions of the government, as have numerous other athletes. Brady was mysteriously absent for several days near the start of training camp. No reason was given for his absence.
"I had only one brief conversation with Tom Brady regarding a potential future workout," Anderson said in the statement to prosecutors that was included in court documents unsealed in San Francisco Wednesday. "I never had another phone conversation with him and never discussed it with anyone."
Paula Canny, an Anderson attorney, said Brady's name appears along with "10 to 20" other athletes that Anderson's grand jury subpoena lists as people the trainer should be prepared to answer questions about. Canny said investigators may have gotten Brady's name from Anderson phone records seized by the government, though Anderson doesn't refer to any other athletes in his brief statement.
Brady attended the same Bay Area high school as Bonds. His agent, Donald Yee, couldn't be reached for comment, and the Patriots declined comment on Anderson's statement. "I don't have any information on it," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said. "I'm not going on hearsay."
Anderson has refused on four different occasions to testify before federal grand juries investigating Bonds. He was released from prison on July 20 after serving 15 days for refusing to testify, but only after that grand jury's term expired. "I will not ever make statements about other people," Anderson said in the June 23 statement filed with the court. "That has always been my position and will continue to be."
Prosecutors plan to ask U.S. District Judge William Alsup Thursday to send Anderson to prison if he stands by that policy.
Government lawyers are investigating whether Bonds lied under oath when he told an earlier grand jury he didn't know whether the substances given to him by Anderson were steroids. The grand jury probe also reportedly is focused on whether the Giants' slugger paid taxes on the sale of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sports memorabilia.
The grand jury is also reportedly looking into the possible involvement of Graham, the track coach of Marion Jones and Justin Gatlin, who tested positive earlier this year for elevated testosterone levels.
Anderson previously served three months in prison after pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering stemming from the government's investigation of BALCO, which allegedly supplied Bonds and other elite athletes with performance-enhancing drugs.
© 2006, New York Daily News.