Monday, July 30, 2007

Vick Has Supporters Too


Pat Forde of ESPN wrote a column last week about the challenges facing the sports commissioners. Tucked deep in the middle of that article before it was changed updated, he pondered whether Black people would turn their back on the NFL over the treatment of Michael Vick.

I don't know if it will come to all of that. But Arthur Blank..



and Nike...



might want to keep an eye on the situation.

A rally was held in support of Michael Vick in front of the Georgia Dome. About 200 people demonstrated on a Sunday afternoon in off and on rain showers to protest against the rush to judgment against Michael Vick in the court of public opinion. That's significantly more people than the few dozen PETA has managed to assemble each time in front of NFL office, Falcons' training camp and the Richmond courthouse.

The protesters' call to arms are perfectly reasonable. Whatever your opinion on Michael Vick or the charges, it doesn't undermine any position to take the "wait and see" approach. Or at least speculate on both sides of his criminal prospects. The coverage has been so negative, it's as if he has one foot in the jailhouse.

And it's the unfair treatment that makes some people start to feel sorry for Michael Vick. Punishing Mike Vick is fine. He deserves to face the consequences for putting his employers and business partners in a precarious situation. Still, the punishment should suit the crime. At some point, it just comes off as piling on. And at some point, the Black community is going to wonder why.

Every American should bristle at the thought of your livelihood being completely stripped without due process. That's why certain people are suddenly looking at Arthur Blank and Nike sideways. It would be one thing for Blank to punish Vick swiftly and fairly, but the Falcons seem to be embarking on a full scale disassociation with Michael Vick before he's been convicted of anything. This coming from someone who held himself out as a friend to Vick, not just an employer. And Vick's merchandising partners are pulling the same suspect "I don't know that Negro" routine.

Of course, it's important for Vick's economic partners to protect their bottom line. But are PETA activists the extent of the bottom line? What about the season ticket holders? Most of the people protesting were wearing Vick merchandise that they purchased from the companies that suddenly think that Vick is enemy #1. Vick jerseys are still available at full price in Atlanta stores. Is it going to eventually cost these various companies involved more to punish Mike Vick than to just let the situation play itself out? How many season tickets have to be cancelled to offset the suite owners that might want to see Vick gone? Who's going to replace Vick's merchandise volume? A balance needs to be struck between all the interests concerning the Vick situation. So far, that is what is missing in the mind of those protesters.

You can have more than one opinion on this Vick's circumstance.

Vick brought this on himself, but he deserves to be treated fairly.

You can love animals, yet still understand that, fundamentally, they are property. (see Larry Smith who said that fighting dogs is worse than raping a woman)

You can love animals and still know that the condemnation of Vick for allegedly fighting dogs is an act of the highest hypocrisy for the faux animal activists who have suddenly emerged all over TV.

You can think Vick broke the law, yet agree that his punishment shouldn't be never ending.

And you can know someone is not your friend and still get along. The protest might be an indication that is the most optimistic prospects for the relationship between the Black community and Arthur Blank/Nike. For now, it's likely a wait and see situation before there is any drastic retaliation. The same courtesy should be extended to Vick.

Pics from the AJC

10 comments:

djnumbers said...

That's Larry Smith, not Larry King. Hurry up and fix it. I won't tell anyone;) I love your blog, i got a lil' somethin started recently too. lesscowbell.blogpsot if you like shout me out.

Anonymous said...

I guess Nike has never heard people in glass houses should not throw stones. Isn't Nike the same company that employs slave labor in China, yea yea I know they are paid eighty cent a day and are giving a bowl of rice. China a country that kills people for their organs. Did China just become a democracy, maybe I missed the memo. Did China just get freedom of speech, maybe I missed that memo also. And I am pretty sure dog is considered a delicacy in China. Doesn't Nike sell sneakers for a couple of hundreds dollars that are maybe worth five dollars?

MCBias said...

I agree with you that if it's just for special interest groups, Nike/NFL are making a huge mistake. There will always be some small group with signs that doesn't like a controversial decision.

Adrian said...

I just want to know something. Did you give the Due Lax players the same "benefit of the doubt"? Not trying to pile on you, b/c your article is very thoughtful, but I just want to know is that the fan in you talking or are your taking a step back and analyzing the situation with an open mind?

I mean if we look at the Duke case, the school canceled the season dang near a week after the news broke about the story and none of the players had been indicted yet. All it took for Duke to cancel the season was Sharpton and Jackson blabbering on the TV. So the NFL, Nike, or Reebok caving in to the pressure of PETA (whom I don't like) and the Humane Society (I like them better than PETA) is nothing that you should be surprised at.

As far as you comment that "You can love animals, yet still understand that, fundamentally, they are property" doesn't seem to have a point in this conversation other than to almost insinuate that you are defending Vick in some way. (by the way I am talking about that sentence/paragraph alone because you write it as a "stand-alone" thought)

I have two dogs. I don't place them above or next to humans in any way, but they are still living creatures that OUR society has given status higher than say a cow or pig which is used for consumption. So that is where the distinction lies. Property or not, dog fighting is illegal and no living thing should have to fight to the death to survive, period.

The HCIC said...

Adrian,

The "meat" of the Duke lacrosse case preceded the existence of this blog. So I have not commented on that case extensively. However, although I'm glad any innocent person is granted a reprieve through the justice system, I don't think of the Duke guys as any sort of heroes. I have made a couple posts regarding some other issues that might have been in play during the case.

As for my bias? Yeah, I'm biased. I am a Falcons fan. That's no secret. But I'll admit my bias. If you want "Vick should fry" articles, you can get that anywhere. I like to think of my posts as just addditional information, not the force feeding of a viewpoint. Take it with a grain of salt. That's fine with me.

I also have a pet. I treat my pet well, but that's my choice. Some people leave their dogs in the yard and feed them cheap food. I'm not a fan of that. But people can do what they want with their property. I'm concerned about animal cruelty, but mostly to the extent it reveals the depravity of the human committing it. Yet depravity is part of the human condition. I'm just no more outraged over dog fighting than I am over someone who watches football or boxing or UFC or bullfighting. It's all depraved on some level.

Adrian said...

I appreciate you taking a different view on this, but your comment about how people choose to treat property/dogs really concerns me.

First let me say that I am not looking for "Vick fry" articles. I am looking for balanced articles that takes all sides into perspective and doesn't lean too far one way or the other.

Secondly, people "treating thier pets differently" is not even CLOSE to forcing a dog into a ring to fight to the death. no sport we have now remotely comes close to that. Not Football, not UFC, not Boxing. The one thing you miss about attempting to use these sports as an example is that they CHOSE to participate in the sport. there are safeguards to help prevent serious injuries. and most importantly they are not fighting to the death nor are they brutally killed for not winning.

if you CHOOSE to force an animal to fight to the death yes, you are a depraved human being but it is nowhere near the level of a person with rational thought, deciding to participate in a sport.

I think we have our differences when it comes to how companies are treating Vick and there are points of give and take there. but on the issue of dog fighting, I strongly feel you are dead wrong and way off base to even attempt to justify "this is just how somebody decides to treat thier dogs" and brush it off as if they are choosing between Purina and Alpo dog food. That is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I was at a jazz concert with a park FULL of people, when a woman (without a second thought) led her dog right up to the water fountain, where he proceeded to slobber all over the fountain. People looked on in amazement. Of course, the woman got an earful from a few other women standing nearby.

This is the foolish mindset with which Mike Vick is up against.

That's what's truly ridiculous.

Adrian said...

oh i agree. the people that treat animals like humans are stupid as well. That is why I don't like PETA or any other organization that puts animal welfare over the welfare of humans.

but can we please keep things in perspective and realize that we are talking about an illegal activity and the destruction of animals for pure entertainment.

The HCIC said...

adrian,

I acknowledge that it's an illegal activity but dog racing, horse racing, cock fighting, bull fighting, etc. all result in the destruction of animals for pure entertainment. Is it creepy that people like to watch that? Sure. But, fundamentally, it's the same principle.

Pit bulls are bred to fight. Not that they're inherently bad. But they were historically bred for a purpose just like there are some dogs bred for hunting. Nobody's fighting cocker spaniels, so while the dogs may not have a choice, they do have an instinct.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, black people generally don't have any interest in domesticated pets period, whether it be adopting one for a companion or feeling empathy toward one that is hurt, maybe injured laying in the road or abused by a friend or neighbor.
The blacks that have dogs, for example, usually have pit bulls.
Again, not for a companion, but for fighting or for a watch dog.
And they abuse them.
What can you expect from Ignorant, uneducated savages.
Vick is already an old washed up has been!
Mike Who?
Oh you mean that DOG KILLER that got beat to death in jail......
He's finished.