July 26, 2006

Slave Trade

There's a new book out, by William C. Rhoden of "The Sports Reporters" and the New York Times, which examines issues of race and sports and has the rather incendiary title "Forty Million Dollar Slaves." It sounds like it could be an interesting book, if you're willing to go along with the comparison of multi-millionaire athletes -who have the power to change teams, retire, and get their coaches fired- to "slaves." It's also a bit absurd that Rhoden argues against the integration of Major League Baseball, pointing out that it destroyed the Negro Leagues and black ownership of teams. Like I said, it sounds provocative, and I may read it.

But what I can't let stand is this absurd review of the book in last Sunday's New York Times. In it, Warren Goldstein (a professor at the University of Hartford) endorses the book almost completely, before closing with this paragraph:

Read this book, and the next time you hear Barry Bonds booed or think about Commissioner Bud Selig’s steroids “investigation” or talk about the N.B.A.’s “image problem,” you may squirm more than a little. Good.
Excuse me? Anyone who believes that Barry Bonds is being booed because he's black has no conception of reality or truth whatsoever. He took steroids, he lied about it under oath, and his career for the last seven years has been a fraud. I booed Bonds a few months ago, I didn't squirm for a second, and I'd do it again, even after reading Rhoden's book.

Posted by Stephen Silver at July 26, 2006 04:37 PM
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