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June 2006
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Bias’ unintended legacy

I was beginning to despair as to whether any of the non-blog media would cover the real story about the aftermath of Len Bias’ death, but a couple have come through.
Kevin Litten of the University of Maryland’s Diamondback had contacted me about Len Bias, and I was able to steer him toward some alternate directions than what all the sports writers were doing. He managed to touch on the harsh mandatory minimums and got some good information from Eric Sterling, but neglected the racial implications.
The Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page did better. In Bias’ unintended legacy: Basketball star’s overdose hijacked by war on crack cocaine. Page repeats some of Dan Baum’s description of the hysteria at the time, and comments both on the fact that the new laws especially targeted crack (despite Bias using powder) and how the result was racially disparate.
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Note: The drug czar’s office didn’t particularly distinguish itself with its (hopefully unintended) headline: Len Bias: A Stunning Death Remembered

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