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This is gonna be big

Ah, now it all makes sense.

A little more than a month ago, in between folding the laundry, changing our newborn’s diaper and making sure our 5-year-old had enough to do that she wasn’t bored, I caught out of the corner of my eye what appeared to be an impromptu press conference with one of the United States’ most celebrated track and field athletes.

There was Marion Jones breaking into my daily dose of ESPN News, reading a prepared statement and then fielding questions on the ongoing BALCO investigation and what connections she had to the four men who were indicted earlier this year on federal charges of illegally distributing steroids – and, she clearly appeared to be ticked off.



It seemed odd at the time.

I wondered why Jones would call for a press conference only to once again declare she has never tested positive for steroids because she has never used steroids. And why did she suddenly seem so hot under the collar about her rumored use of performance enhancing drugs? After all, her name had popped up in the BALCO case long ago. There didn’t seem to be any actual news that would require calling a press conference.




But now things seem, at least to this journalist/Mr. Mom, to be much more clear.

The date of that press conference was June 16, a little more than a week after her ex-husband C.J. Hunter, a once Olympic hopeful shot-putter, was questioned by the Internal Revenue Service agent – and apparently (See AP story) testified that Jones had, in fact, used steroids.

Jones’ press conference, in retrospect, now looks quite a bit like a pre-emptive strike against anything coming out of Hunter’s interview with the IRS – that is, of course, assuming she had caught wind of his being interrogated.

Of course, Jones’ lawyers went on the attack immediately after Hunter’s testimony was leaked Thursday, casting him off as just an ex with an axe to grind.

And if C.J. Hunter, who himself tested positive for steroids four times, was the only “bad company” Jones had kept, maybe I’d be willing to accept her attorneys’ argument.

But, of course, that’s not the case.

Let’s not forget that her current boyfriend, world-class sprinter Tim Montgomery, is facing a potential lifetime ban from track and field for steroid use.

And, of course, Jones has already admitted that she has connections with BALCO and its founder Victor Conte, one of the four facing federal charges.

Conte, as we all know by now, apparently has some major dirt to dish. His attorneys have publicly stated that he will name names in the investigation, if he were to be granted immunity.

It’s those names, of course, that we sports fans want to know.

How many names?

How prominent are those names?

Who’s clean? Who’s dirty?

Perhaps, we’ll never know.

Or maybe, we’re on the verge of one of the biggest stories in sports history. Either way, I’m going to stay tuned – of course, amid wiping our baby’s bottom, folding a basket full of towels and finding the lost mates to these darned socks.

ooo

Brian Hamilton is the Sports Editor at The Union. He may be reached via e-mail at brianh@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4240.


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