The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bryan Burwell claims Barry Bonds is dealing the oft-cited “race card.”

Through his perverse “reality” vehicle “Bonds on Bonds,” the San Francisco Giants slugger has skillfully manipulated the truth of his drug-soiled pursuit of baseball’s record books by slyly injecting race into the subplot. On the verge of tying Ruth for No. 2 on the all-time home run list, Bonds has transformed himself into the new O.J. He’s a brother who has basically lived untouched by most of the normal strictures of blackness. Born to wealth, accustomed to privilege, impervious to racism’s harmful limitations all his life, Bonds is now what I call a brother of convenience.

He is conveniently casting himself in the role of the persecuted black man being undone by some unseemly plot by The Man, when the truth is, he’s nothing but a cheating jerk caught redhanded.

I’m not buying into his phony act that baseball is ignoring his rush to greatness because he’s a black man trying to overtake Babe Ruth, and neither should any of you.

Much as I’m uncomfortable finding ways to defend Barry, I must’ve missed the episode of “Bonds On Bonds” were he claimed MLB was snubbing his ascent towards 715. To the contrary, we’ve seen Bonds quoted as saying he’s not offended by Bud Selg’s decision not to pull out all stops for a wild celebration.

Though Bonds doesn’t come off well compared to Hank Aaron in the dealing-with-the-public sweepstakes, I’m not so sure Bonds’ wealth, celebrity or posh upbringing precludes him from ever being a victim of racism on some level. Exactly how rich and famous does a black man have to become before he’s no longer eligible?

To Burwell’s credit, unlike some of his colleagues, he’s not ignored the matter of the not-black-at-all Mark McGwire.

A note to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Rick Shrum : I hope this “Sultan Of Surly” catchphrase of yours catches on. A witty guy like you oughta be writing for a much bigger audience.