I got a great question on Mark McGwire vs. Barry Bonds from a Farmer's Field reader this week.
David S. writes "I'd be interested to read what your impression is of the different treatment these two receive in the media and in public opinion...saw your article on McGwire and was angered by Stephen A. Smith saying the only reason Bonds doesn't get a pass is due to race..."
Man, oh MAN! OK, 1) Stephen A. Smith is an IDIOT. Always has been, always will be. All he is now is a talking head and often doesn't back up his opinions with actual facts. It's like he's forgotten how to form valid opinions altogether.
2) Obviously I disagree with Smith. But I do think Bonds and McGwire are being treated differently -- and the reason I think Bonds is being treated differently is almost as silly. Bonds has NEVER been a media darling -- far from it -- and as such, the media has grown to dislike and distrust him.
I recently met someone who worked with Bonds and asked about him. I was told, yeah, he's a stubborn a-hole when it comes to the media. But that doesn't mean he's a bad guy. If I think about it, Bill Belichick is also a stubborn a-hole with the media and that's starting to take its toll on the Patriots' image. For better or worse public opinion is very often shaped by the media, and if you don't play the game you lose.
Mac just played the off-the-field game better than Bonds. He said the right things, he was humble at the right times and he entertained us during his playing career. Meanwhile, Bonds sneered, attacked and generally viewed the media as The Enemy.
I think the difference is clear.