By Lynn Saternow

The Italians have the right idea. No, I’m not talking about drinking red wine with pasta.

I’m talking about viewing use of steroids by athletes as a crime.

As we saw at the Winter Olympics when police raided a house to search for steroids and drug paraphernalia, they take this stuff seriously. It’s time we did the same in the United States.

Our sports associations, from the NFL to Major League Baseball, have been failures when it comes to controlling drug use. It’s time the police get involved. Possession of steroids without a prescription is illegal.

I bring this up concerning the release of the book “Game of Shadows.” While I haven’t read it yet, some excerpts have painted a picture of players like Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield as knowing users of performance-enhancing drugs.

Why is it that two newspaper reporters are able to unearth all this information and the police haven’t? They back up their research with documentation from several areas, including U.S. Grand Jury testimony.

Apparently, if what is published in this book is true, Bonds not only used steroids knowingly, he lied about it to the grand jury. Supposedly, according to the book, he also used money from autograph signings to buy a house for his girlfriend and didn’t declare it on his income tax.

These are crimes. If you or I did such a thing, we would probably be in the slammer.

Bonds, once again revealing himself as a jackass, sued to deny the authors (Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams) from gaining profits from the book because they published “illegally obtained grand jury transcripts.” On Friday, a judge refused to put a restraining order on the authors from making a profit and said the lawsuit, which still can go on, has very little chance of succeeding. No kidding! Even Barry Bonds isn’t bigger than the First Amendment.

It was another stupid move. Notice he didn’t sue to say what was printed was incorrect. This only validates what the reporters have written.

Federal officials need to investigate what is written in this book. If charges should be filed against Bonds and others for their use of steroids or other crimes, so be it.

It’s time for Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB to step up. They need to investigate and if what’s written proves true, Selig should declare that Bonds cheated and any records he holds will be erased from the record books. They banned Pete Rose for less. They ousted Shoeless Joe Jackson on questionable proof of fixing a World Series.

We need to send a message to young people that cheating in sports and use of steroids won’t be tolerated. A good way to do it is start making arrests for anyone who tests positive for steroids.

If you can be charged with drunken driving by the amount of alcohol in your blood, the same can be done for steroids!

Lynn Saternow is sports editor of The Herald.

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