Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ernie Chambers on Baseball Records, Barry Bonds & Racism

by Kyle Michaelis
Ladies and gentlemen....from the pages of today's Public Pulse in the Omaha World-Herald....Sen. Ernie Chambers:
All of this hypocritical bleating and yakety-yakking by white sports commentators, writers and cartoonists about an asterisk accompanying Barry Bonds' breaking of Hank Aaron's home-run record is cloying in the extreme.
First of all, these critics have no genuine respect or regard for Aaron, having been content to let him languish in obscurity until he could be dusted off and set in opposition to a black man whom they dislike because he refuses to allow them to "run" him.  
Secondly, if asterisks are to become the order of the day in the realm of sports records, one should accompany every so-called record established by any white athlete in any sport while black athletes were locked out of competition due to their race. This, of course, would include records held by Babe Ruth, who was quite comfortable with racial segregation in his sport.  
Every record set during the period(s) of racial exclusion is bogus. Let's set that record straight. Racism, impure and simple, drives this nonsense about asterisking Bonds' phenomenal feat of athletic greatness.   
Barry Bonds is to baseball what Muhammad Ali is to boxing: "The greatest." And don't you racists forget it.  
Ernie Chambers, Omaha
Nebraska State Senator, District 11
I think there's more than racism behind the unanswered questions surrounding Bond's supposed use of performance-enhancing drugs. But, I have to give Sen. Chambers credit for making a hell of a point about the illegitimacy of every record set when only whites were allowed to play professional sports. That's something I've never before considered but which is hard to argue with on principle.

It's funny that just across from Chambers' letter a World-Herald editorial celebrates how little the Bonds controversy has to do with race - as testament to how far we've come as a society since Aaron's original home run chase. Clearly, Chambers disagrees. What do you think?

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