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..
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