I've found a mocha-skinned sister to love. Everybody, meet Jemele Hill, whom I had rarely read before today, when she wrote the single best piece of commentary I have ever read about Barry Bonds.
I should probably just stop there, since the Brothers Anonymous are probably flinging objects across their earth-toned living rooms already. But I can't resist observing that one of the precious few measured, logical, original, and convincing opinion pieces I've read about Bonds -- and the only readable opinion piece I've seen from ESPN in recent memory -- was written by a black woman. And, even better, she actually acknowledged her race and gender, and the role they play in her perspective, unlike pretty much any of her colleagues, ever (and by colleagues, I don't mean other black female sportswriters, or other black sportswriters, but simply other sportswriters). She obviously knew many of her readers (and, I would bet, many of her colleagues) would accuse her of playing The Race Card, and yet she discussed race, anyway. That takes grit.
(On the race card issue: it consistently baffles me that educated and intelligent people -- I've seen it used in the comments here -- still use that phrase, apparently ignorant of the blatant and sadly ironic racism inherent in suggesting that race is just a card minorities use to win arguments. Accusing somebody of playing the race card is the new race card.)
Are her race and gender why the column's good? No. Are they why her perspective is unique? Actually, yes, they probably have something to do with it. I originally wrote a cynical, sarcastic comment in this space, but that whole bloviating tone is really tiring, here and on every other sports blog I read. (And I'm sure a couple of our trusty commenters will take care of that for me, anyway.) So I'll just say this: that column is a great example of why I think sports journalism would be better off if it offered more minority perspectives.
Second place in the best-recent-Bonds-piece competition goes to McCovey Chronicles.
Later edit: This is sort of interesting. A little bit of digging on Ms. Hill reveals that, in a study done last year, she was the only black female sports columnist employed by the sample size of 305 newspapers. Is she the only black female sports columnist in America? Anybody know?