an irony of Barry Bonds breaking the HR record

9 05 2007

A recent poll at ESPN.com revealed that blacks and whites are divided along racial lines on whether to support Barry Bonds if/when he breaks Hank Aaron’s career homerun record.  It’s sad that there’s still a racial divide in this day and time.  As Jemele Hill at ESPN.com said :

It’s too bad some people are more concerned with race than right.  Blacks have been unjustly persecuted in the court of law and public opinion, but supporting one lout doesn’t erase, compensate or change those injustices.  I realize everyone deserves a little blame for Bonds’ breaking the record.  And, in many ways, the most appropriate punishment for baseball is to see a hallowed record broken by its most significant alleged cheater.

I don’t know of anyone who would rather Bonds not break the record because he’s black.  For one thing, the current holder of the record is black, so I don’t see what difference it would make in that regard.  Some people suspect this, though.  Really, the main issue is because of the suspicion that he cheated by taking steroids.  (There’s also the fact that a lot of people don’t like his personality.)

Taking this conversation in a different direction, I want to focus on the second half of that quote.  I hadn’t thought of it that way until now.  I agree that baseball is largely to blame for allowing steroids to go on in baseball for so long.  The owners and general managers knew about it, but the sport was growing and they were making more money, so they didn’t want to make a big deal about it.  It is highly ironic that what is perhaps the most famous individual achievement in sports is about to be broken by someone who probably took steroids.

Commissioner Bud Selig doesn’t want to go to the game when Bonds breaks the record, nor does he want to make a big celebration of it, but as commissioner he has to do something.  How ironic… and appropriate… because this debacle is more his fault than anybody else.

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