|Tammy Thomas, banned for life in 2002 after testing positive for a steroid and physically ravaged by the masculinizing drugs she took, was found guilty on Friday of lying to the same grand jury that Barry Bonds faced concerning the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO) performance-enhancer distribution fiasco.
Thomas was the first defendant in the BALCO mess to go to trial, making the score a quick 1-0 in favor of the prosecution.
The drug she tested positive for, norbolethone, toiled in obscurity for nearly four decades after its 1966 invention, but numerous athletes have submitted urines dirty with the androgen in the new millennium. It is probable that its revival is owed to the presumption that it would be less detectable using modern tests that target more contemporary substances.
As the Chron story notes, Thomas was found by a physician to have undergone many of the classic virilizing changes women steroid users experience, and to a remarkable extent.
Thomas evidently had to shave like a teenage boy — or an adult — owing to hirsutism; grew hair on her chest; had a markedly deep voice; had “regression” of her breasts; and exhibited clitoromegaly.
Chemist Patrick Arnold testified that he supplied Thomas with the drug. Previously, Thomas had claimed she had never heard of him.
One twist of this sad tale is that Thomas is a law student (which is why she yelled at the jury “I already had one career taken away from me!” when the verdict was announced). Although she won’t be sentenced until July, there is no manifest reason for her to continue with her studies, as no state — not even Florida — is likely to admit someone convicted of perjury to its bar. Any felony would be damning enough, but perjury stabs at the very heart of the entire judicial process.
When Thomas first faced the grand jury in 2002, she had the option of receiving immunity in return for rolling on her suppliers. (Arnold would be convicted in 2006 for his dealing role in the scheme.) Yet she chose to lie. Now she’s throwing fits in a courtroom while her sentencing is on the docket. It is reasonable to speculate whether the obviously large doses of steroids this young woman received have not effected some lasting form of ‘roid rage.
So what we have is a person who, seeking an edge, has sacrificed her health, her sport, her freedom, her career, and her dignity, all before the age of forty. Don’t think it’s just the “pleasure drugs” like coke and meth that can take everything away from you.