We are starting to hear it. A bit louder and a bit more frequent. Barry Bonds is a victim of racism. It's the weakest possible deflection, injurious to those who truly suffer from racism. When something is watered down, it loses its bite and its power. We are seeing that here. It's one more step into the morass of denial, one more opportunity to come clean that was missed. This time it's from the mouth of Willie McCovey. And I find it odd.
I was surprised that someone who played the game and actually lived through racism as a player would claim that Bonds' situation is wrapped in racism.
Willie McCovey: "When everybody is accusing him and saying that this is a validation that he did something, I mean, he has never tested positive. We're supposed to live in a world where you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, and he hasn't been proven guilty of anything." McCovey, who hit 521 home runs, said that as a black man, Bonds was subject to more scrutiny. "I don't think it would be this big a deal if [Mark] McGwire was still playing and was in the same shoes chasing that record," he said.
Willie's statement is easily deconstructed. Bonds never tested positive because he used designer steroids that were undetectable. This has been well-documented. To choose to ignore the pile of evidence that keeps growing like Bonds hat size is just foolish.
It's hard to believe that a man that was a contemporary of Hank Aaron would use the word racism so loosely. I'll agree with McCovey that McGwire would not be the subject of as much scrutiny. Not because he is white. But because he was a fan favorite. Bonds is a well known grump, to put it kindly, and has been accused of making racist statements on more than one occasion. Bonds never cared for the fans. It was reciprocated. The color of his skin had nothing to do with it. It was more the color of his heart.
McGwire is no longer playing and was indeed torched for his wussdom in front of congress. If he was gearing up for another season at spring training right now he would be getting bombarded with questions all the same. And Tony La Russa would be making Louisville Slugger's stock soar he'd be busting so many fungo bats.
Save cries of racism for those who truly need it. There is no oppression of Bonds because of race. It's because he is a cheater who has yet to face the truth and own up to it.