October 25, 2002

Race and sportswriting: On one hand, as a colleague said, "it would make things a lot easier on everyone if Bonds weren't such a d-+k." At the same time, Bonds wouldn't be the first, and the treatment of black athletes versus white athletes is more the point of this article.

posted by jackhererra to culture at 10:25 AM - 4 comments

I like Bonds, but he's earned a lot of his negative reputation. He's been petulant and aloof with fans and the media for years, was in an ugly child support dispute with his ex-wife, paying only $240,000 a year in support for his two children while earning $8 million a year, and their sham prenup -- Bonds had an attorney present while she didn't -- led to a change in California law. None of this diminishes his amazing talent as a player, and I can believe he's a better guy than some of these anecdotes would indicate. However, they ought to be considered when talking about his reputation as much as possible race issues.

posted by rcade at 11:02 AM on October 25, 2002

No. He is aloof. He is more interested in self than team. He is also a supremely talented baseball player. Most articles I read about Bonds refer to all of those things. To suggest that Bonds isn't painted more sympathetically because sportswriting is a haven for "unreconstructed Boorish White Males" is, at best, simplistic and, at worst, stereotypical and racist.

posted by jmpeterson at 01:50 PM on October 25, 2002

Yeah. It's sports radio that's a haven for them. 'Least here in Boston.

posted by yerfatma at 08:23 AM on October 26, 2002

rcade, jmpeterson- Let's not forget Jeff Kent is very similar to Barry Bonds in his aloofness and selfishness (it wasn't Barry who violated his contract by riding a motorcycle and endangering the health of not only himself but his team...). For that matter, is Barry any more aloof, self-centered, womanizing (or connected to the mob) than Joe DiMaggio was? But I don't think it's a race thing entirely. While I think it hurts Barry's press that he's black instead of white, I think as rcade noted that even if he were Whitey McWhiteBoy he'd be getting negative press- I'd contend it wouldn't be as negative. Although the 2001 season seems to have thawed the press greatly, and they aren't as reflexively pointing out Barry's poor media relations every time they mention him hitting a home run. It's like that Mark Twain quote about how much his father had learned in 7 years; the image we are given of a player is shaped by the reporters' biases and thinskinned reaction to perceived slights. In turn, the players can turn sour on the press after enough misquotes or hatchet jobs by the likes of Reilly. Lastly, I point once again (for the umpteenth time!) to Joan Walsh's excellent article, "If Jeff Kent were Black".

posted by hincandenza at 02:12 PM on October 26, 2002

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