Marion Jones Speaks on Oprah

Story written by EPelle

Disgraced and banned athlete Marion Jones made an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's television show today to talk about some of the troubles she has faced since "confessing" to two charges of lying to U.S. Federal investigators in a New York-based check fraud case and the BALCO case to which she had been ensnared the previous five years, but, unfortunately, her storybore no concrete information or revelation for folks seeking after the truth behind her steroids-taking.

Jones, who was linked in via satellite from her home in Austin, Texas, provided teary-eyed substance for Oprah's viewing audience, but could not find it within herself to state she took performance-enhancing drugs.
"It's been a long journey," she says. "But I cannot go on anymore with this baggage lying to the world, lying to God."
The untrained eye which looks at Marion Jones, a mother of two who confessed that she is "no different than anybody else except for the fact that you see me on the front page of the paper", has been blinded by the game Jones is playing with people just like them, and has become incredibly blinder by a group of supporters who, despite agreeing that her having lied to U.S. Federal authorities was wrong, nevertheless are holding fast to the notion that anything but home confinement for the convicted felon - who poses no immediate danger to society - is unjust.

Four years ago, Marion Jones held a conference call with reporters ahead of the Millrose Games in New York. Talk surrounded the BALCO connections which were dotted to Jones, and she grew tired of the innuendos, accusations and of defending herself against analytical evidence she had been involved in the drug scandal - just making its way to the fore of national news.

Said Jones, among other incredulous statements revealing her stance toward the ordeal:

“Nobody has ever said anything about Marion Jones using performance- enhancing drugs, and they never will. I'm not really concerned about having to clear the air over this next year. I don't feel responsibility to have to warm up anymore to the crowd or to the fans or to the media because I'm quite happy with how I stand in the public's eye.”
She was happy how she stood in the public's eye during a time when she was on un-detectable performance-enhancing drugs. Some of that public grew very suspicious of her, eventually, and she, as noticed above, flipped them the bird.

Now that she has been exposed to a certain degree -- though not fully, she wants forgiveness. Her fans, who seem to not have been slighted by the least in this matter, cite that she has paid back society and then some by asking that same public for forgiveness for lying (but not for having taken steroids).

Jones, who is unable to speak much of her past due to conflicts she will face in releasing information ahead of Trevor Graham's trial - information which has legal and civil consequences for Jones, chose instead to speak about the future, not dwell (avoid) on the past.

Jones withheld information from Oprah, who questioned her several times on the show regarding knowing that she was, indeed aware that she was lying, and offered up a point about moving forward into the future.
"I truly think that a person's character is determined by their admission of their mistakes and then beyond that, what do I do about it? You know, how can I change the lives of people? How can I use my story to change the lives of a young person?"
Marion Jones's character was forged long ago with her insistence on lying, cheating and using methods and means to get ahead which were unlawful and unjust. She revealed to Oprah that Jones's character has not changed insofar as she has not fully admitted to her mistakes, and wants folks to look the other way - much as some of her own fans are requesting of the U.S. government, which prosecuted her and is sending her to prison for six months.

Let's take a look at what that debt was, and what, exactly, she repayed her "debt":
  • Loss of Olympic medals: She was awarded five medals by method of fraud, and she did deliberately and intentionally cheat her competitors of the opportunity to not only win or place higher in the standings, but to receive with those distinguished accomplishments all that being a champion would entail - including 15 minutes of international fame. Her Olympic and World Championship medals were never hers to collect in the first place. Had she had been discovered at any time during the Olympic Games to have cheated, she would have forfeited her medal(s) and been expelled from the Games. She wasn't, and never would be, because she was on an intricately-woven coctail of performance-enhancing drugs which were unknown to testers, undetectable by virtue, and illegal. She used these for personal and financial gain, and knew the possibility of being discovered was little-to-none.
  • Times, distances, marks and places erased between September 2000 - 2006: She, by method of fraud and deception, did employ a tactic to garner such distinctions and cheat the rightful recipients of such fame, fortune and history. Ms. Jones, the clean athlete, simply has not existed during that period, and neither have her marks.
  • Loss of money: She, having collected honour through methods both illegal and immoral, was awarded money through contracts, appearances, sponsorships and earnings -- all of which was not hers to begin with. Ms. Jones spent her earnings -- which were paid under the premise that they were rightfully earned -- on personal items including house, home and an array of vehicles. Ms. Jones is facing a class action lawsuit by member organisations in Europe who paid her large sums of cash for appearing at their meetings and earning -- later discovered to have been by method of fraud -- prize money for recording fast times and setting unbeaten streaks.
  • Humiliation: Marion Jones, having spoken of a lie which she had harboured deep inside for an eight-year period, put herself in the public spotlight to face ridicule and its repercussions as news traversed across the continent and into the rest of the world; she, having once graced magasines and been the centre of public adoration, became the antithesis of esteem.
One needn't follow Marion Jones's footsteps to understand the degree of shame she has apparently faced; there is no need to walk a mile in her shoes to comprehend the troubles she has endured - and will continue to - as she heads toward a new life one calculated choice at a time.

Jones mentioned on today's show that she has not yet mentioned to her first son, "Monty" (Tim), that she is due to prison when a bed and a spot opens up at a minimum-grade facility the Department of Corrections sees fit to place her (likely FPC Bryan in Texas).
"My husband and I have spoken about how we're going to go about doing that. I mean, as you can imagine, it's a very sensitive topic, and we're not dealing with a 15-year-old here who perceives things a different way. We're talking about a 4-year-old who was upset this morning that I couldn't drop him off at school, you know? It's going to be challenging."
It would appear that Marion Jones has nearly hit rock-bottom, but, unfortunately for those who adore her past any semblance of sanity, steeper and more brutal mountains lay ahead for Jones to climb up and over insofar as Jones is still harboring untruths about her past - current actions which have an even greater consequence on her future.

Oprah was unable to probe Marion Jones any harder than taking a bleacher-seat approach to allowing Jones to hit the balls where she saw fit. Jones would have been better served today to speak freely to an audience which is still being misled by Jones's ambiguities and non-disclosures.

Then again, as stated yesterday, Jones faces a very formidable challenge as former trainer Trevor Graham's trial approaches.

What better way of communcating a message of personal freedom and release than to spill it all out for Oprah? Jones talked of loss, indecision, failure, reconciliation and of seeing her husband cry -- all stuff made for a show such as Oprah's.

Oprah missed a step here, however, and Marion Jones stayed a step ahead -- still in charge, still in demand, and still at centre stage.

The next stage Marion Jones will enter will be into the penal system as an inmate bearing khaki pants, a khaki top and prison issued shoes marking her as a newby.


Marion Jones to Appear on Oprah (16/1-2008)

Story written by EPelle

Oprah Winfrey has invited a convicted felon and cheat to grace her studios to discuss the legal issues that led to her six-month jail sentence for lying about steroid use and committing check fraud — Marion Jones's first interview since being sentenced last Friday to a six-month prison sentence.

Wednesday's show will air at 16:00 (4 p.m.) EST.

Was Oprah not once bitten already by Marion Jones (and Tim Montgomery, her ex-boyfriend with whom she has a previous child outside of her new marriage) when she hosted them as guests on her show, "World Record Winners"?

Was she not twice shamed when her telephone guest, the same Marion Jones — discussing the virtues of self-esteem — turned out to be a sham with serious sociopathic tendencies?

Now Oprah is up for a third time charmer with a woman many in America feel sorry for and want to reach out and touch. Oprah is making that happen for a woman who will say what you want to hear and ride out on a stream of emotions fit for the minute to add the finishing touches to her believability.

Oprah may discuss the charges to which Marion Jones was ultimately held responsible, pleaded guilty and for which she has been sentenced. Unfortunately, if Oprah is unable to be provided good research advice between today and tomorrow's program, she will miss out on a grand opportunity to put Marion Jones on the spot and frankly ask Marion for proof that she didn't dope from 1997-2000.

Oprah should request Marion Jones to prove that she is not lying about any other time frame in her history - not by method of Polygraph tests or the good words others put in, but concrete proof that Marion climbed up the international ladder fairly, squarely, and without the aid or assistance of any drugs - their legal status or discovery at the time she was competing notwithstanding.

Marion Jones won't be able to answer that question honestly, however, as what she states on tomorrow's show may be used against her by Trevor Graham's lawyers when his trial sets off in June. She has lost her right to plead the Fifth in Graham's trial insofar as she has pleaded guilty to the charges levied against her by the U.S. government.

Graham will likely state that Marion used steroids from 1997-onward in an effort which serves two purposes: 1) Keeping himself from perjuring himself; 2) Ensuring Marion is punished for having drawn a line in the sand pointing at Graham as the sole responsible party for her Sydney 2000 successes.

Marion Jones will appear on Oprah tomorrow in her first interview since being sentenced to six months incarceration at a minimum-security facility - the first one which opens that the government feels is suitable with respect to space and with consideration to her request to stay near to her family.

Oprah's international audience will hear Marion speak of having lied when she shouldn't have - something she'll likely say was "incredibly stupid", but she will not take responsibility for her drug-taking. Oprah needs to drive the sword through that myth and help Marion take responsibility for her own actions rather than avoid it and pass her woes off as being the fault of everyone else but her.

Otherwise, it will be a trip to the Doctor Phil show and a 10-minute-attempt-to-fix scenario which sees her say she's lied, but has never willingly cheated.


Marion Jones: What Awaits Her in Prison (Camp)

Story written by EPelle

Marion Jones will spend six months in custody locked up behind razor wires at a U.S. Federal Prison Camp - presumably FPC Bryan in Texas if the government grants her wishes to remain as near her family as possible. She's awaiting an open date to get on with her sentence and get out sooner rather than later, and has up until 2008-March-11 to report to authorities at the eventual location the Feds determine she best fits.

As far as prison camps are concerned, FPC Bryan appears to be one of the more calm stay-overs of the 27 penal colony Federal locations the U.S. Department of Justice has to offer Marion Jones.

There are no shortage of "insider" descriptions of FPC Bryan one is able to locate on Prisontalk.com - a portal used by a large number of women who have either gone through the U.S. penal system or who are headed that direction in life. I've picked one particular insider tip to help you gain a better understanding of what awaits Marion Jones as she bucks up and gets ready to head to what presumably will be her new home, FPC Bryan:

Before you go, develop a real sense of humility and park your "attitudes" at the door. Listen at least twice as much as you talk. Don't ask personal questions; the women will tell you what they want you to know. There are women who have been in Bryan for 5, 10, and 15 years. Forget whining too much about a short sentence. I have recently received a sentence of 51 months, and I have asked for Bryan. It seems like forever to me, but I keep thinking about those women who have been there for so long, and I try to keep it in perspective. However bad it looks like to me, there are many who have it much, much worse. That doesn't mean, however, that you and I won't cry and be overwhelmed at the beginning. It just means to keep in mind you are in prison, not on vacation.

There are between 800 and 1,100 women at Bryan at any given time. Of these 1,100 women only about 200 have a GED or high school diploma, and of those 200 only half have education above high school. The average age is about 32. Many people will be there trying to help you learn the ropes, when you have to be somewhere, what you wear, when, and who controls what.

If you have medical issues, take empty prescription bottles of your current medication. There is no guarantee that you will get the same medication. The BOP will probably disallow some, like Prempro, and substitute for others, especially anti-depressants. During your medical interview, maximize your problems, do not minimize. Anyone with any chronic condition (high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, etc) make sure they know about it, and how serious it is. The chronic condition designation will help exempt you from prolonged standing, working outside, or in the kitchen. There is no dentist on permanent staff; only comes in 1 or 2 days a month.

The first two months, be prepared to spend almost your limit of $290 for hygiene items, sweats to wear when you are not in khaki uniform, tennis shoes, extra towels, etc. After the first two months, you can get by on significantly less money. The phone is 300 minutes/months for $69. Stamps and laundry do not count toward your $290 spending limit. Bring as much cash as you can up to $290 to put in your account for that first month's expenses. It should be posted to your account in 2-3 days.

Be prepared for the BOP to want a minimum payment of $25 per quarter for restitution, if you have been ordered to pay restitution. Your counselor will look at how much you spend on commisary every month and determine what they "ask" you to pay (with some negotiation with you). If you refuse to pay, the counselor will put you on "refusal" and that will take you back to a base pay of $5.25 per month instead of the 12 cents per hour, and you will most likely lose you job and go to the compound to work sanitation or the grounds).

If you self-surrender through Receiving and Discharge (R&D), try to avoid Fridays because the commisary is closed and you will not have hygiene products over the weekend. On the day you report, try to get there early, even 8am if possible. When you get to R&D, you will have a seat just outside "control". The whole check in process is pretty self-explanatory. You will fill out a form that gives the address to send your belongings. They will keep your drivers license during your incarceration. You will disrobe completely and put it all in a box. Then you get a bra, underwear, khaki pants and shirt, socks and blue canvas deck shoes that distinguish you as a new prisoner as you are led to your unit. You will also be fingerprinted, photo, and given your ID that now makes you an official Federal Prisoner.

Then you get a bed bundle of pillow, blanket, sheets and pajamas. Either you counselor or your unit officer will come to see you, as well as someone from medical to do a short intake.

After you make your bed and it isn't past 1:00, you will go back to laundry where you will get shoes, 4 pants, 4 shirts, 4 khaki T-shirts, 4 socks, underwear and bras, 2 pair of pajamas, towels and washcloths and sheets. Be sure to beg for shoes not boots. All of this will be put in a mesh back that you take back to the unit. Make sure you ask for 8-10 hangers for your locker to hang up your clothes. If you don't want to tuck in your shirt, make sure you ask for shirts with squared-off tails. Also, try on everything. Don't assume that something is the same size just because it has a label with the same size.

Make sure you have you ID on you at all times!!! There are rules like not going outside the unit in anything other than regular shoes (the ice machine is outside the unit), you cannot walk on the grass, except in the rec area. The best idea regarding the rules is to imagine that someone is watching you at all times.

Most people get showers in the evening. Hang your towels on the foot of the bed and they should be dry by the morning. You cannot have anything out in your room during the day. Bed must be made by 7am.

There are four women to a room. There is a common room with tables and chairs, and three TV rooms. Just because a conversation is taking place in front of you, do not assume that you are part of that conversation. They will invite you to talk IF they want you to. Remember that privacy is in your head, it doesn't exist in prison.

You really can make a difference in your own life while you are in prison. But it is up to you to set your goals, believe and have confidence in yourself, and be willing to use the honesty needed to examine everything about yourself, your relationships, your actions, your emotions. Remember there is an end to your sentence, but don't focus on the end. The days pass with you keeping them filled with activity that makes you feel better. That may be exercise, reading, writing, tutoring, or crafts --- just do something!!

There is a rumor that if you die in prison, your paperwork will say "Escaped by Death" --- isn't that special!!!

(Original link; © 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 PrisonTalk.com All rights reserved. )

Marion Jones will with all plausibility not have escaped prison by any means, death notwithstanding. She's a smart woman who'll likely keep to herself and simply do her time; she'll remain as invisible when need be, and fit in with the right peopl at the right times - including the guards and counsellors.

The greatest challenge facing Jones will be her attitude - something she will need to have checked at the door.

As a (former) celebrity ex-millionaire, Jones will have no superior status in prison; she, the winner of five Olympic medals by method of fraud, will be classified as a white collar thief. She'll have to learn to play by two set of rules: Prison rules and prisoner rules; there won't be an opportunity to lie, cheat and steal her way through the six months governing her next stage in life. Breaking these rules can have consequences leading to banishments of different proportions, including life.

She won’t likely have a problem with knowing and keeping the administrative rules however, as she will be required to participate in the institution’s Admissions and Orientation programme to learn his rights and responsibilities, the institution’s programme opportunities, and that pesky little part about the institution’s disciplinary system should it ever come to pass that she’s required to have it used against her.

Prison has an opportunity to test how contrite and sorry Jones has been over her sins against society, but it may also be a place where she further learns how to keep secrets locked deep inside where no one - despite mounting pressures - can force her to unlock information which will harm her person or reputation.

Victor Conte treated his short-term prison sentence as a day-care centre and bragged about the fame and notoriety he had whilst locked away at Taft Correctional Institute outside of Bakersfield, CA for four months beginning 2005-December-1.

The most difficult Marion Jones has to brace for during this tough spell in her life is not the change of scenery, unfamiliar scenery and loss of freedom, rather the separation from her two sons and her new husband.

She’ll have the comfort of sharing with others to help ease the pain, but the separation won’t fizzle out no matter how much inner strength she has.

The same of her inner-strength and desire was true of her desire to avoid sitting in prison in the first place.