Giants slugger Barry Bonds apologizes for Jewish joke

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San Francisco Giants baseball star Barry Bonds has apologized for joking about Jewish spending habits before playing the recent All-Star Game.

Bonds apologized Tuesday amid criticism by the Anti-Defamation League for remarks he made to reporters before the Philadelphia game July 8.

Among those who had quoted the Giants' star were the New York Post's Jay Greenberg and the Rocky Mountain News' Bob Kravitz.

Asked whether he had bet with other players on a home-run derby before the game, which he had won, Bonds said: "My agent is Jewish. They call me a black Jew. I guess I'm part Jewish because I don't spend a lot of money or make a lot of bets."

In a letter to ADL national director Abraham Foxman in New York, Bonds commented that "as an African American myself, I have always felt a special bond with Jewish people, because we share similar histories of prejudice and stereotypes. I would never do anything to perpetuate those forms of discrimination.

"If anyone took my comments the wrong way, I sincerely apologize," Bonds added.

Foxman said he was "pleased" that Bonds "had responded to our concerns in a quick and clear manner."

"His words have great impact on American youth for whom he is a hero and role model, making his apology all the more important."

The ADL's S.F.-based Central Pacific Region director, Barbara Bergen, also welcomed Bonds' comments.

Bonds "has shown his respect and regard as a San Franciscan for one of the world's most diverse and multicultural communities," Bergen said.

"Giants fans and the Bay Area in general will applaud Bonds' response. I think everybody is satisfied…that an appropriate apology was made and we can move on."