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Where's The Love?


With the exception of the Williams Sisters and Jay-Z we can’t find a better display of “hate-oration” (as Mary J. Blige might say) aimed at a celebrity, right now, than that which is in full-force and directed at San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds. The media reaction to Bonds’ 3-run homer display yesterday, and his heroic performance all year has been despicable. This is especially the case when one considers that Bonds’ team is in a pennant race, unlike Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire in 1998, trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks by less than two games in the NL West division.

What makes the media treatment of Bonds so pathetic is that it is unjustified and self-centered. Ask anyone what Barry Bonds has done to deserve the lack of coverage of his feat and the constant murmuring about how nobody likes him and all you will hear is that he is selfish. Huh?

We could understand the media’s cold shoulder, if Bonds was a drug addict, compulsive gambler, pervert, convicted criminal, a steroid user, or a notorious spouse abuser (like some baseball players are). But the worst that can be said about Bonds is that he is arrogant, some of his teammates don’t like him and he does not like several sports writers and commentators. But we did not know that liking sports writers was a prerequisite for receiving fair treatment and proper exposure for outstanding athletic performance.

And why should the rest of us, who have never seen the inside of a major league baseball clubhouse, care what baseball athletes think of the media? Many of us feel the same way that Barry Bonds does about sensitive writers who didn't receive their quota of hugs, when they were little.

The media’s reaction to Bonds only goes to support the view, held by many, that sports journalists, and journalists in general, are some of the most insecure and petty individuals around. What else but envy, jealousy and thin-skin could explain the manner in which the dislike for Bonds, held by many in the sports media community, is openly discussed on radio, TV and print – whenever Bonds hits a homer? Again, what does the like or dislike for Bonds by media professionals have to do with the fact that he has hit 63 home runs faster than any other baseball player, ever?

Some will say racism is at the root of the “player-hating” aimed at Bonds, likening his treatment to that which Hank Aaron received when he broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record.

With each passing day it gets harder for us to ignore such charges. But all of the hate, envy, jealousy and racism in the world or in the hearts and minds of insecure baseball journalists can’t stop Barry Bonds from hitting 71 home runs – which we hope he does.

And since our Philadelphia Phillies are on the ropes we hope that Bonds not only gets McGwire’s record but also leads his team to the World Series.

If he does that, expect the “hate-oration” meter to go through the roof.

Where’s the love for our man Barry B.?


Cedric Muhammad

Monday, September 10, 2001

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