JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Celebrity—it sucks

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While driving to Starbucks a few minutes ago I heard on the radio that Jeff Borris, Barry Bonds’ agent, has announced that his client officially will not be returning to baseball. This obviously wasn’t shocking news, but I figured—as one of the guy’s biographers—I’d write something about it here.

When I Googled Bonds, however, what I found was this—an article about his 19-year-old son Nikolai being arrested for assault. And then I thought, for the 100,00,000,000,000th time: Fame sucks. It truly does.

Yes, fame often equals money. And perks—first in line, free meals, cool trips. But there’s no possible way it’s worth it. Imagine being, say, George Clooney. Literally, you can’t walk 10 feet without someone bugging you. Can I have an autograph? You’re the best! I hated your Batman flick! It’s never ending, even if you want it to end. It. Never. Ever. Ever. Does. You are public property, with a no-returns policy strictly enforced.

I’m not condoning the alleged behavior of Nikolai Bonds—but whose business is this? And why does anyone care? A teenager throws a knob at his mom? Big deal? But because his dad was a very famous baseball player, the kid is sucked into this evil celebrity vortex that we created and continue to feed. If anything, I feel bad for the kid, his mom and even his (otherwise horrible) father. Some things are private, and deserve to remain so.

To be honest, that’s why I haven’t really touched Tiger Woods here. Hell, every day someone asks about it. Why haven’t I taken a stance? What do I think? Truthfully, I think very little. I don’t feel bad for Woods, who—in my book—now goes down as one of the country’s biggest anuses. But his poor wife; her poor family. The embarrassment must be unbearable. And yet, no one cares. It’s all just one long stream of juicy, joyful gossip for us to lather in.

Fame—don’t want it, don’t need it.