This used to be Barry Bonds' best side.There are some athletes we just love to hate. Polarizing figures like LeBron James. A-Rod. The entire Dallas Cowboys franchise. And then there's Barry Bonds. Who we were able to hate up until this week.
Yup, one of the most controversial figures in baseball just made us question everything we ever knew about hating athletes just for the heck of it. He ... shudder ... did something nice. And when I say nice, I'm talking one HUGE gesture here people.
The former Giants slugger has put up his own money to create a college fund for the kids of Bryan Stow, a single dad and big-time Giants fan who was beaten senseless at Dodger Stadium for showing his San. Fran pride at a game in April. It was a tragedy, and a stupid one at that. Was a man's team preference really worth beating him into a coma?
One of two suspects in the case was arrested just this week in Los Angeles, but Stow remains in a coma at this point, and his medical bills are mounting. While his family talks about suing the Dodgers to help pay his bills, they've got a long road ahead of them. And then there's Bonds' offer. It seems natural enough. Stow was a Giants fan. Bonds is one of the most famous Giants players ever.
But he's also one of the most infamous. Perhaps THE most infamous? From his steroid use to his recent conviction of obstruction of justice in a federal investigation on said steroid use. From the stain he left on the home run record to his prickly personality that kept the media at an arm's length even when he was doing WELL. Bonds was kind of a jerk. We had reason to "hate" him.
Or did we? When we pick an athlete to rage about, we really only take one thing into consideration: their activities on the field, the diamond, the court. We look at LeBron showboating or A-Rod roiding it up. We look at them in much the way these animals looked at Stow's Giants' gear. We lose perspective.
We don't look at their home life, the way they interact with their kids, or what they give back to their communities. And as the backlash against Jorge Posada recently proved, even when we do give them respect for being a "good person," we're awfully quick to judge when an athlete has even the smallest stumble.
So go on, hate on Barry Bonds, LeBron, and the whole bunch. But let's confine our rage to the court, the diamond, the field, shall we? They're still human beings. And sometimes, they're pretty darn nice ones to boot. They do stuff like pay for two kids to go to college, making it impossible to hate them.
Do you have an athlete you just hate for no reason?
Image via dennis/flickr