Yankees Hall of Fame writers grapple with Barry Bonds

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 21: Aaron Judge
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 21: Aaron Judge /
2 of 5

Coup De Foudre

Flash forward to October 12, 2016. It has been found that Wells, at least under Stumpf and possibly for a long time before, had been creating false accounts in existing customers names, ripping them and the entire system off to the tune of millions of dollars.

That’s why they were so flush with cash.

To Yankees writers who support players such as Mr. Bonds, Stumpf must be a hero. They would put him in the CEO Hall of Fame. After all, other people in banking cheated before him. And look at how successful he was.

The general public reacted differently. Outrage ensued from customers and non-alike, Congress excoriated Stumpf in multiple hearings, and the stockholders and Board of Directors insisted he resign, which he did.

Some might point out that he was not punished and was in fact given a “golden parachute.” That’s true. But no one is asking that Mr. Bonds be punished, just not rewarded any further.

And Mr. Bonds is today a multi-millionaire who splits his time between a private community in which the wages of sin pay for his peaceful life, and hanging with Karl Malden on the streets of San Francisco.

There, he’s more likely to get high-fived than harangued. That might not be a golden parachute, but it’s still a pretty soft landing.

One more, just for emphasis.

But Everyone’s Doing It

In 1972, Richard Nixon was the President and wanted to remain so. He successfully ran for re-election against Democratic opponents who comically cratered. His first opponent had to drop out after a series of gaffes, and his replacement was not as good. Nixon won easily.

But during the campaign, two reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, discovered something wrong. They followed the evidence, writing sometimes daily columns for the Washington Post and its brave owner Katharine Graham.

There was never a criminal case, but the evidence for corruption and cheating seemed overwhelming. Using the civil standard, as opposed to the criminal one, I find Mr. Nixon guilty from my seat in the court of public opinion.

To those who support Mr. Bonds, Nixon belongs on Mount Rushmore. After all, he was a political Hall of Famer before he ever decided to cheat, having been a two-term vice-president and already a one-term President by 1972.

And I’m not being facetious. Supporters of Nixon today will defend him on the basis of the greatness of his other actions. They will remind you that he prolonged the Vietnam war to split Russia and China, what he and Kissinger called Triangular Diplomacy.

What he wanted from Russia was a better arms deal, and from China, a better trade deal. His plan worked, and he got both. And America has been better off for the last 40 years because of it.

To me, that is still an immoral decision.

To them, and to some who will write history, his condemnation and forced abdication for cheating an election, a tradition that stretches back as far as elections themselves, was ridiculous. I suspect some in Mr. Bonds’ camp feel the same way.