The furor over Barry Bonds’ use of creamy substances and/or the Sultan’s surly disposition are mere smokescreens designed to hide white America’s Fear Of A Barry Planet writes the Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla.

Go ahead. Name an American sports hero at the top of his game more despised than Barry Bonds.

When the boos rain down on the slugger as he steps to home plate, what do you hear?

I hear racism.

Bonds proves bigotry in this country is always as close as the back of a fan’s throat.

Resuming a brilliant career left for dead by his painful knee injury and a chronic steroid controversy, the 41-year-old Bonds is again bashing hanging curveballs and his detractors into the upper deck.

Bonds hits our town with 707 home runs to his name. Roll over, Babe Ruth. The king of baseball’s asterisk era has your hallowed statistic dead in his sights.

And White America hates it.

The same baseball poets who wrote odes to Mark McGwire cannot wait to tar and feather Bonds as a cheater.

Bigots who buy tickets heckle Bonds, until the boos are stifled with awe for the next moon shot launched from his bat.

In a country that pledges to fight for freedom of speech, Bonds is disliked for speaking the unpopular truth.

He is often 100 percent correct. A killer hurricane is a bigger national disaster than a national pastime that poisoned itself on juice.

Whether Bonds rubbed a cream on his body that transformed him into the San Francisco Hulk is not nearly as disturbing as the leaking of secret grand jury testimony, which is a crime against the U.S. justice system.

Cheater or not, Bonds is the only hitter I would pay to see. Yet I have felt the drop-dead glare Bonds offers the media horde when cornered in the Giants’ clubhouse, maybe because he has been bitten too often to give strangers the benefit of the doubt.

Bonds is easy to hate only because pity is so much more work.

Being the home run king should be a sweet blast. Too often, Bonds acts as if his job is shoveling manure.

It stinks when the boos leave such deep scars on a slugger’s heart that it is tough for Bonds to feel the love while circling the bases.

Where’s the joy in a home run if it doesn’t touch us all?

Good question, and if I had Dave Kingman’s home telephone number, I’d ask him right now.