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Yes for Woods, But No for Bonds?

Posted August. 10, 2007 05:46,   


It was just as expected. Although 43-year-old Barry Bonds (San Francisco, pictured) set a new home run record on August 8, local media in the U.S. remained foul on his tarnished reputation. Sports Illustrated posted a column sporting the blunt title, “Sham? Maybe. Shame? Definitely.” Among the many cable channels, only ESPN delivered a live broadcast of the game. Even worse, the game’s rating dropped to 1.1%; lower than the 3%, when Tom Glavine (New York) recorded his 300th victory on August 6. Instead of watching a new historic record being established, TV audiences, about three times more than the audience watching the game of Bonds, chose to watch the 23rd record take place.

One ostensible reason lies in the suspicion of Bonds’ steroid use. Since several hits among his 756 home runs are alleged to be a result of drug-use, the records itself purportedly seems meaningless. Bonds’ rough characters may also have contributed to his record not being welcomed. But these reasons are not sufficient to disparage the highest home-run record of all time.

When Mark McGwire hit his 70th home-run and set the single-season record back in 1998, his every move was broadcasted by the media. Fox TV, a public channel, carried live broadcasts of every one of McGwire’s games, including his 61st homerun which surpassed the record set by Roger Maris. Back then, McGwire was taking androstenedione, a muscle strengthening drug which was forbidden in the Olympic Games, and although the media was aware of this fact, he was still a hero; even when suspicions arose surrounding his taking steroids after retirement.

Despite his promiscuous private life and arrogant manner, Babe Ruth is still cited as the all-time home-run king. Both McGwire and Ruth are of Caucasian origin. When the African-American player Hank Aaron broke Ruth’s record in 1974, he was blackmailed by many Caucasians and even received death threats.

The result of a poll in the U.S. in May showed that 52% denied Bonds’ home run record. While 75% of African-Americans backed him, only 28% of Caucasians followed suit.

Bonds aroused controversy during an interview with media in Boston, 2004, by saying bluntly, “This city is full of racism. This is why I am not playing for Boston.” Due to his wild disposition, many Caucasian fans gave him the cold shoulder.

The golf emperor, Tiger Woods, as the only African-American among his elementary school class, was hurt when his Caucasian classmates hung him from a tree. Such racial discrimination led him grow in strength and he subsequently became an international star, achieving respect from all areas of society. Unlike golf, in the field of Major League Baseball, there are plenty of outstanding Caucasian ballplayers as well as African American stars, with “gentle” attitudes. This is the reason why Bonds cannot become like Woods.

Bonds’ guilt has not yet been proved. The principle of “presumption of innocence” has to be kept. It is everyone’s right to dislike him according to personal taste or beliefs, but his record should still be valued.