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Friday, April 14, 2006

Bonds on Bonds Makes ESPN a Joke

In case there was any doubt as to whether or not ESPN is a serious news outlet for sports, the network continues to air and promote Bonds on Bonds. A reality series meant to chronicle Barry Bonds’ chase for the home run record, it celebrates a guy most consider to have had a fake career by using steroids to enhance his abilities.

I haven’t seen more than a few moments of the series, and have no desire to see any more. I’ve seen more than enough of Bonds embarrassing himself with post-game comments in which he can’t figure out the fans’ ire toward him.

The excuse from networks in these situations is generally that ratings are their bottom line. But ESPN often positions itself as some sort of authority on sports. To hand over regular air time to a guy like Bonds is a joke.

It was just reported this week that Bonds might be the subject of federal prosecutors pursuing a perjury case stemming from his denials of steroid use during a federal grand jury appearance in 2003. Just in the last 24 hours highlights have made the rounds of Bonds scolding reporters for being in a restricted area waiting to ask him for comment on the possible perjury case. The clip ends with Bonds — and the camera crew for Bonds on Bonds — walking away from reporters being restrained from following him.

ESPN simply cannot possibly cover the allegations against Bonds and claim impartiality. In fact, their desire to produce such series calls into question any ability of the network to cover sports.

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