Sunday, May 07, 2006

Perspective, folks

Longtime readers will know that I was a big fan of Barry Bonds up until it pretty much became unquestionable, probably about a year ago, that he had taken steroids. Sure, there was suspicion, but the weight of testimonial evidence didn't really become conclusive until then. It took me a long time to give up on the guy, even if I eventually did. He used illicit substances to get more out of his body than his body was capable of producing and then lied and stonewalled about it. That the guy is a premier sports villain now is, I think, beyond dispute.

But is he really the number one villain in sports? When Bonds's actions are juxtaposed with the runners-up on that list, it seems to me that Bonds comes out as less the villain than some of these other guys. Hell, the person named as an "honorable mention" strikes me as being a worse guy than Bonds -- but then, I tend to think that a person who willingly commits assault is a worse person than a jerk who takes banned substances to get ahead. Maybe it's just me, but in terms of sheer jerkness, Bonds is small fry beside Bobby Knight.

And really, when I look at this list and see just how much many of these folks are still revered in some circles, it saddens me to realize that the whole high-school attitude of "Let the jock be the biggest jerk he wants, as long as he takes us to State" doesn't end when we graduate high school. If I did the equivalent of some of this stuff in my job, I wouldn't just get fired. I'd go to jail.

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