Sunday, December 9, 2007

Will People Please Stop Saying Barry Bonds Is Being Treated Unfairly Because of his Blackitude?

Meh. Guess that won't happen. Instead, let's just read more crap about why Mark McGwire is just as bad a dude as Barry Bonds. Take it away, Howard Bryant of ESPN.

Both men are in the position they are today -- Bonds perhaps facing prison, McGwire a fallen legend -- because they looked in the faces of powerful, law-enforcing, law-making bodies (never mind their millions of admirers) and did not convince the public they were telling the truth. Not only did they fail the public with the truth; the public believes they refused to tell it even when each was largely guaranteed that no matter what he said, no harm would come to him.

Well maybe no legal harm. Are we just going to count losing the respect of millions of American citizens and being perpetually labeled as a cheater as "harmless"?

And in the years that have followed, neither has been able to "man up." McGwire ran under the back porch and hid like a child, and he's been hiding ever since. Bonds bullied, went on the offensive to say he was being singled out because of his race, even though it is common knowledge in the game that Bonds is, at best, indifferent to other blacks in baseball.

Now let's pretend that McGwire and Bonds aren't white and black for a second. Let's imagine they're both fucking purple or something, I really don't care. If you have two guys that have been up to anything suspicious in any area of life, who is going to get the brunt of the public attention? The one who quiets down and doesn't say anything, or the one who drones on like a pompous jackass and acts like he's being mistreated? Bonds is an asshole. He's asking for the public eye and getting it. He's singling himself out. That's why he's the proverbial lightning rod of American attention. I'll even go so far as to say it's Bonds's own fault that people stopped giving a shit about Mark McGwire.

A common thread exists for both men; race is a secondary, but still important, spool.

Race is not important at all when it comes to lying under oath, which only one of these two men did.

McGwire did not exactly lie under oath

There you go. This is the primary difference, and the only truly significant one. "McGwire did not exactly lie under oath." We're going to be copying and pasting this line many times to remind Bryant of why Bonds is being remembered and McGwire isn't. Go on...tell us how he "sort of" lied under oath.

but he wasn't forthcoming that cold day in Washington, the day he stood under oath and verged on moral collapse, weighted by his guilt. That day, he grew as defiant as Bonds has ever been, his answers short, his tone quick and arrogant.

What a bastard. He wasn't being forthcoming! Quick, defiant, arrogant responses! None of this is equivalent, however, to: lies.

He looked into the faces of millions of his countrymen and women and under oath refused to defend one day of hard work, or any of his 583 home runs, against steroid allegations. He refused to say that even one single moment of his career came honestly.

So basically...he refused to lie.

He rejected his hero position then as much as he runs from it now. That's why, as a person of public substance, he's been finished for two-and-a-half years, having plummeted mercilessly to earth, a flaming, redheaded Sputnik, unlikely to return.

Bonds effectively dared prosecutors to take him down. He spent the past four years using his wealth, his talent and his position to buttress a defense that has gone no deeper than "because I said so." Exposing him was a challenge federal prosecutors readily accepted and one the public, tired of easy escapes by powerful people, hungrily relished.'re writing my point for me! Bonds literally challenged United States judicial officials. The public wanted to see him go down in flames because he's an arrogant asshole! It had nothing to do with him being black and McGwire being "a flaming, redheaded Sputnik". Great phrase there, by the way. Simply awesome. These two paragraphs alone should put any thought aside of the race card even being important.

They also are linked because they provide an unforgiving mirror for the American blemishes that do not fade. One is white, the other is black.

Other mirror. One is an arrogant asshole who committed perjury, the other is a once-respected guy who kept his mouth shut and decided not to make more waves than necessary. America chooses to hate: assholes.

There are many tributaries along this river of disgrace. They range from the thought that the federal government wanted to "get" Bonds more than the rest, to the flimsy notion that neither of them ever failed an official Major League Baseball drug test and so somehow both are $100 million victims, to the idea that Bonds' blackness is the reason he has been hit the hardest, been treated more harshly than McGwire, has received the least amount of public sympathy.

None of these issues lacks merit.

The last idea completely lacks merit becuase it's based on nothing but a wild allegation made by Bonds and the whims of a bunch of people ignoring the timing of the two incidents (one is after the start of steroid investigations) and the fact that Barry Bonds fucking challenged the judicial branch of the government of the United States of America to take him down. Oh, and this little detail.

McGwire did not exactly lie under oath

If you reverse the timing and actions of both men, the public forgets Bonds and zeroes in on McGwire. It's that simple, I swear.

Race plays a factor in every discussion between blacks and whites, whether it's about Friday night poker, Bonds, O.J., Michael Vick, Don Imus or McGwire.

I strongly disagree. Black people and white people can't discuss how Michael Vick was a dog-killing asshole without making a big deal out of the fact that Vick is black?

But it should be remembered that the Steroids Era has had many other faces, many other suspects, at least in public perception.

And it should also be remembered that the "baseball players who lied to a grand jury during the Steroids Era" has exactly one face in public perception.

There was Brady Anderson, who faced questions about his 50 home runs in 1996; and Sammy Sosa, who hit 60 home runs three times and didn't win the National League home run title in any of those years. There was Ken Caminiti, who admitted he won the 1998 NL MVP award on steroids

The 1998 NL MVP award was won on steroids, but by someone not named Ken Caminiti.

and David Wells, who in 2003 -- the old days of resistance -- said half of the game's players were using steroids. The Yankees forced him to retract that statement. There were Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro. Bonds has outlived them all as a productive, record-breaking player.

....and perjury-committing douche!

The difference isn't that Bonds has been treated differently because he happens to be black.

Thank you!

The difference is in how McGwire has been treated because he happens to be white

Oh no he di'int!

Let the record show that those two sentences make some level of contradiction, and that they should be thrown into the American Hall of Ignorance for all eternity, along with every fact HatGuy has ever tried to use in a column.

But since the second sentence leaves a little bit of a loophole for me to work with, I'll go with it. Sosa. Sammy Sosa. Sosa isn't white. Sosa essentially got the same treatment as McGwire, and even came back to play baseball again without facing extensive government pursuit or anything. How can you argue McGwire was treated differently because he was white when the guy who will be tied to McGwire's legacy for all eternity isn't white and got the same fucking treatment? If you ask me, he actually got off EASIER than McGwire because he was able to slip into irrelevance earlier.

and it started with the decided lack of bloodlust to pursue him after he folded before Congress

The difference in bloodlust might have had something to do with the fact that he didn't challenge prosecuters to take him down! Oh, and also, there's this....

McGwire did not exactly lie under oath

See how important that detail is?

The inescapable conclusion is that the two are the dominant faces of a disgraced era. Both were at the top of their profession. Both broke records that commanded the respect of the country beyond of the boundaries of their sport. Both had their moment under oath and didn't come clean. Their images define the times and us.

Second to last sentence ignores....

McGwire did not exactly lie under oath

Last sentence is a major exaggeration. I tend not to be defined by the images of Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire.

One is the black Bonds, whose "bad Negro" defiance inspires a certain kind of basic hatred toward him, especially when combined with his enormous wealth and unwillingness to play the hero game, even for the millions of fans who pay to watch him play. Bonds knows that only he stands in the batter's box. For him, his success is not a shared experience.

Is it possible....just MAYBE possible.....that his defiance is not interpreted by people in the "bad Negro" sense, but rather in a "this guy is a complete dickhead, it doesn't matter what the color of his skin is" sense? The "race card" wasn't prevalent until Bonds made it so.

The other is the white McGwire, less confrontational but equally suspect, with one special distinction

McGwire did not exactly lie under oath

I'm just kidding folks. I copied and pasted that second part. Bryant's special distinction is idiotic and stupid.

Too many fans and members of the press, especially, willfully deluded themselves with the McGwire myth, built by them because of their shared whiteness, their belief in his false purity.

This is it people. No white guys ever think other white guys do anything wrong. Every white person sees white skin and thinks, "gee, he/she must be pure!" This is just such fucking bogus bullshit. I don't know any other way to put this.

To turn on McGwire would be to admit he took steroids in '98, that the whole thing was a testosterone-fueled act. Unlike with Bonds, whose record-breaking years of 2001 and 2007 came long after the public had learned the joke was on them, it was too hard for them to outright reject McGwire. The legend became fact, so they printed the legend.

This part is legit. This is a significant distinction between the two situations. It's not as major as

McGwire did not exactly lie under oath

but it's important.

As whites are with McGwire, blacks want to believe in Bonds, to hold on to the different but similarly destructive myth that their shared blackness makes his problems the same as theirs. The racial prism through which the two men are viewed so differently will always say more about us as a whole than it ever could about the two of them.

I'm sorry Howard, but do you think that if a white asshole took the place of Barry Bonds, took steriods, shattered home run records, challenged federal prosecutors to find him guilty, and COMMITTED PERJURY, that he would be treated any different than Bonds? There are plenty of examples of racism in America. I won't deny it exists. It obviously does. But what you are doing is taking two men who have taken vastly different courses of action and complaining, that's right, COMPLAINING, that the lying, confrontational asshole isn't being treated the same as the guy who kept his mouth shut because the former is black. These are two men that have defined themselves and created their own status in the government/public eye by their actions. Plain and fucking simple.

But on this senseless day and the days to come, when Bonds' fate is in the hands of the law and McGwire has lost the only thing worth owning -- a reputation -- they are the same man, disgracing their sport and themselves.

The same. Except for one little detail.

McGwire did not exactly lie under oath


Andrew said...

When Bonds is found not guilty, can I rewrite some of your critiques?

I agree with your point - but you've convicted Bonds already, which is funny, because the justice system so are so vehemently protecting the integrity of is based on a little concept known as "innocent until proven guilty". So how are you any less hypocritical than the journalists which you trash?

John Foley said...

"Innocent until proven guilty" is the legal definition for Bonds. That is how the court sees him. As a private citizen, I can form whatever opinion I want, based on the facts as I know them. If I just go on the mountains of evidence that have been compiled against him, I view Bonds as a guilty man. I'm not saying to throw him in jail without a trial, which is the logical extension of what you're suggesting. No one here is saying that. You're making one of those straw man thingies. That's as phony as the "well he never failed a drug test" mantra. Gee, how do you fail a test that was never administered?
Babe Ruth never failed a breathalyzer test, but I'm pretty sure he was still a drunk.

pnoles said...

I'm confused about where I "convicted Bonds", Andrew.

Chris W said...

I think he means because you did not say "allegedly" before accusinig Bonds of lying under oath.

I think, though, as two-bit pundits, we are entitled to make logical leaps like that.

For instance, OJ is "not guilty" of killing his wife and her homeboy, but that sure doesn't mean I think he didn't do it...

Tonus said...

The whole McGwire/Bonds comparison is idiotic. McGwire went from being this super-beloved baseball legend whose enshrinement in the HoF was a formality and who had the world on a platter, to a disgraced man who is one of the poster children of the steroid era and was smacked down on the first HoF ballot. When you consider how popular he was before the steroid issue exploded, and how he is viewed now, it's a pretty amazing change.

If McGwire had been even a little bit like Bonds in his demeanor, he'd have been buried, white or not. He didn't get off easy, he got off relatively easy, and only because (1)he did his best to just disappear and (2)Bonds and Palmeiro and Giambi and BALCO took the spotlight from him.

Bleh, sorry. pnoles already made this point, but it's so stupid to see Howard Bryant stoop to the whole "they're treated differently because of race" schpiel. Did Jemele Hill ghost-write this column for him or something? Sheesh.

Qwerty said...

"inspires a certain kind of basic hatred toward him, especially when combined with his enormous wealth" -

Actually, it's his enormous head that creeps me out. I couldn't care less what his back statement says.

Qwerty said...

Bank statement, not back statement. Bank. Bank. Gotta learn to proofread someday.

dan-bob said...

"Flaming redheaded Sputnik"


Andrew said...

PNoles - I'm pretty sure that typing "COMMITTED PERJURY" was the last example of where you decided Bonds was guilty.

larry b said...

Qwerty- I love the irony of someone with your username making a typo. Muhahahahahahaha

Andrew- It's true that pnoles is judging Bonds quite harshly. But he's doing so based on the alleged criminal evidence that's been collected in the case, whereas many dumb journalists are simply making their case for Bonds based on race alone. Neither is the same as a thorough and complete trial in a United States Federal Court, but one is somewhat rooted in facts while the other is crazytalk. There's a significant difference.

And for the record, I bet Bonds is eventually found innocent. But I, based on what I've read in "Game of Shadows" and "Love Me, Hate Me", wholehearted believe that he is 100% guilty. God bless our justice system.

Jeff said...

New favorite label: "things jemele hill might say"

pnoles said...

Glad you like it, Jeff.

That woulda been a solid answer on the $25,000 Pyramid back in the day.

John Foley said...


Chris W said...

i can't believe THIS article is the only one we have under the "chanting usa! usa! usa! repeatedly" tag