William Rhoden of the New York Times presented some interesting ideas about Barry Bonds in a column a little more than one year ago.

Rhoden posits that America, despite having a president whose father was black, is not comfortable with powerful, prominent black men that do not conform. Bonds, the greatest player of his era, plays by his own rules, which forced the media to resentfully follow those rules.

Lawyer Allen Ruby told the jury at Bonds’ federal trial that one reason Bonds was being tried was because he was Barry Bonds.

Bonds attitude has been compared to Bessie Smith’s legendary blues classic, “’Tain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do.” The following from the work easily applies to Bonds:

“If I should get beat up by my poppa / That don’t mean you should call no copper / Cause it ain’t nobody’s business if we do”

It is significant, according to Ruby, that prosecutors were enraged with Bonds when he testified before the grand jury in 2003.

“He was not intimidated,” Ruby said.  “A lot of the venom in the government’s pursuit here was because he wasn’t intimidated. He was not subservient. He was Barry.”

Bonds is a fiercely independent American who will not ever be limited by society’s beliefs about how a champion must act.

Namon Lewis, head of the Sable Group in the Bay area which advises black athletes, believes that blacks in general didn’t like Bonds when he played.
“They considered him aloof, wasn’t involved in black issues and thought he was in a special category,” he told Rhoden, but he added that the persecution of Bonds has united the black community.

“Blacks don’t necessarily love Bonds, but they will fight to the death to protect him. The attitude is that the government is trying to cut him down to size. They don’t want Bonds to be the prominent figure in baseball history.”

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