Bonds and Clemens: In the Aftermath, Does Barry's Claim of Racism Hold Up?

Daniel MuthSenior Analyst IApril 1, 2008

Like many Americans, and particularly white Americans, I was absolutely convinced that the media portrayal of Barry Bonds as the ultimate evil in sports had little to do with race.  After all, we were championing the right of another black athlete (hammering Hank) as the true owner of the immortal home run record, and one would expect that a legend of Barry's stature would fall harder than most.

I also felt that his arrogant and condescending attitude toward the media was only fueling the pyre that was consuming his legacy.  This didn't have anything to do with race.  Only disgrace.

Enter another legendary, sufficiently arrogant player known as "the rocket."

When the Mitchell report broke, I happened to be in San Francisco (oddly enough), and had to pry my way into a sports bar so I could stand in the back and watch the drama ensue.  Clemens appeared to be on the same ruinous path that Bonds had walked (and still walks), and I thought that his treatment might somehow put to bed the talk about how the "white" media was unfairly piling on Bonds.

And so I waited.

Though the stories detailing Clemens use of steroids were plentiful initially, there were equally as many stories attacking the credibility of his accuser, Brian McNamee.  This could be considered responsible journalism, but I certainly can't remember Bonds getting this kind of benefit of the doubt.

More disgraceful were the white senators on capital hill rushing up to Clemens to ask for autographs (which is illegal) before his hearings, and the eventual partisan squabble that the hearing degenerated into, with Democrats asking tough questions and Republicans lobbing softballs such as, "what motivates your success."

Before the hearing even took place, Clemens was allowed to have private meetings with committee members (something McNamee was denied), while Congressman Burton was eschewing him as a "titan of baseball" and was openly lamenting that his reputation was being unfairly questioned.  No one championed Barry's integrity.

White republican committee members actually hugged Clemens after the hearing (I'm not kidding), and GOP representative Tom Davis had this to say when asked if he thought Clemens lied to Congress. “Did Roger Clemens lie to us?” Davis asked. “Some of the evidence seems to say he did; other information suggests he told the truth. It’s a far more complicated picture than some may want to believe. Memories fade and recollections differ. That’s human nature, not criminal conduct.”  Wow.

This after Clemens pretty much threw everybody close to him under the bus.

And so it becomes relevant to ask whether or not there is some truth to Barry's statements regarding race, the media, and America in General. 

A quick google search of Barry Bonds and Clemens shows more Barry Bonds articles in press TO THIS DAY than Clemens, even though we've known about Barry for years.  What's more telling however, are the smattering of articles in support of Clemens, even though the evidence against him, is more or less similar to that condemning Bonds.

And then there's this bewildering GOP support for Clemens.  Funny, I can't remember the GOP standing up for Bonds.  Granted, Bonds isn't friends with the President of the United States like Clemens, but who other than a white, card-carrying, GOP member is? 

I hate to admit it, but I think Bonds may have been on to something.  What do you think?