Mark Fainaru-Wada is an investigative reporter for ESPN. Prior to that, he worked in the same capacity on the San Francisco Chronicle’s enterprise team.
For The Chronicle, Fainaru-Wada and colleague Lance Williams began working on the BALCO steroids case in Sept. 2003. Since then, their investigative work has earned them a string of national honors, including the George Polk, Edgar A. Poe, Dick Schaap Excellence in Journalism and Associated Press Sports Editors awards.
In March 2006, Fainaru-Wada and Williams published “Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports.” (Gotham Books). The book became an immediate New York Times best-seller and prompted Major League Baseball to launch an investigation into steroid use in its sport.
In May 2006, Fainaru-Wada and Williams were issued subpoenas to testify before a grand jury investigating the source(s) of some of the information they published in The Chronicle and their book. The reporters vowed not to reveal their sources and were appealing their sentence of up to 18 months in prison when the government dropped the subpoenas in February.
Fainaru-Wada’s notable projects have included an investigation into the expanding influence of sports agents; an inside look at how scam artists use athletes to lure investors into bogus business ventures; and revealing profiles of the controversial owners of the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers.
He previously worked for the San Francisco Examiner, for which he wrote enterprise stories and covered Stanford football and men’s basketball. He also was a national sportswriter for Scripps Howard News Service, covering the Masters, Wimbledon and the Final Four. He has worked at the National all-sports daily, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel.
Fainaru-Wada is a graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.