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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Sportztyme!: Bonds vs. The Media

TVGeekSpeak.com isn't a sports blog. But when an athlete convenes the media and turns it into a larger-than-life story, it certainly qualifies as fodder for Sportztime.

Even if you don't follow baseball or sports in general, chances are you know who Barry Bonds is.

He will most likely become the second best home run hitter of all time this season...passing the legendary Babe Ruth with his 12th home run this season. You may also know he has come under scrutiny for allegedly obtaining his home run prowess through a steroid syringe.

Bonds held a press conference last week which amounted to little more than a rambling diatribe of whatever happened to be on his mind at the moment. Bonds will never win a Most Popular Player award, nor will he be honored as anyone's Humanitarian of the Year. His own teammates have never really spoken of him with warm thoughts, and one well seen clip showed him in a dugout shoving match with former Giants second baseman Jeff Kent during a game two years ago.

To boil down the steroids talk, Bonds has been implicated as using the banned substance to improve his home run totals. During last week's speech, he claimed (correctly, in my view) that steroids do not improve the hand-eye coordination needed to hit a baseball. But, they damn sure help it go 500 feet once it's been hit.

It didn't take Bonds long to throw out the race card. He claims that people are diminishing his accomplishments, in part, because he is African-American. But none of the saps that were actually at the press conference bothered to call him on it.

There is no doubt that racism still exists in this country... in some cases, just below the surface of politeness. But to question a black player's credibility or honesty is not being racist. To believe that a black player is a complete jerk most of the time is not being racist. To believe that has knowingly used steroids is not being racist. To question whether he has obtained his accomplishments legally and honestly is not being racist.

Bonds may someday pass the legendary Hank Aaron for first place all time. Aaron is a man who KNOWS what racism is. It's hate mail, death threats, different hotel rooms and bathrooms. It's ignorance, it's intolerance and it's not being given a chance just because of the color of your skin. Bonds has been given his chance. What he has done with it will be his legacy.

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