Thursday, March 30, 2006

It's not a black thing

Thursday's USA Today cover story questions whether the scrutiny directed towards Barry Bonds has something to do with race. I'm sure, for a small percentage of the population, it does. Bigots will always be with us, unfortunately.

But to hear Leonard Moore, director of African-American Studies at LSU, tell it, we're living in more racially divisive times than when Hank Aaron eclipsed Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974.

"White America doesn't want him to (pass) Babe Ruth and is doing everything they can to stop him," says Leonard Moore, director of African and African-American Studies at Louisiana State University. "America hasn't had a white hope since the retirement of (NBA star) Larry Bird, and once Bonds passes Ruth, there's nothing that will make (Ruth) unique, and they're scared. And I'm scared for Bonds.

"I think what he'll go through will be 100 times worse than what Aaron went through when he surpassed Ruth in 1974. I pray for him every night."

More hyperbole, from sociologist Harry Edwards: "This is a visceral response to a black man (passing) Babe Ruth."

No, this is a response to a cheater passing Babe Ruth. And to trivialize what Aaron --- the epitome of a role model --- went through by comparing him to baseball's biggest ego is unconscionable.

And are things really that bad in 2006 America? Many black athletes are celebrated in this culture, from Tiger to Shaq to Derek Jeter. Sure, they court the media, but that's part of the game.

Padres CF Mike Cameron, who is African-American, figures it correctly:

"I'm a big believer in karma. What goes around comes around. If you don't treat people right, things come back to bite you."

Now that the academics have opened the door, expect Bonds to barrel through it, searching for the only bit of sympathy he's bound to get.

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