Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Common Sense, Not Civil Rights

I resent ESPN trying to make Michael Vick a civil rights issue.

It's not that deep.

Wright Thompson of ESPN wrote an article invoking the names of the Kings, the Abernathys, the Youngs and the Aarons in an effort to "explain" why Black people might support Michael Vick. The Leader is only attempting to trivialize and undermine the community that supports Vick; pander to a certain audience that is just not comfortable with their real feelings; and, worst of all, cover-up their own biased and excessive coverage of the charges against Michael Vick. I won't accept that article as a mea culpa for ESPN's senseless assassination of Michael Vick.

Some people just need to admit they have never liked Michael Vick.

The list of complaints is potentially long and legitimate. If it applies to you, repeat after me. "He doesn't play the position the 'right' way." "He's never lived up to the hype." "He doesn't remind me of my traditional quarterback heroes." "Ron Mexico has no class and he has herpes." "Vick became a bad role model for my children when he flipped off a (Saints) fan in the stands." "I hate cornrows and he looks like a punk." "I can't relate to him." "I just don't really like Black people."

Anything. But don't pretend.

Don't pretend like Vick is accused of committing the most heinous crime imaginable. There are far worse things a person could be accused of. And don't pretend like America is full of animal rights activists. This is not a country of vegetarians. Furthermore, this is a country full of Wal-Mart shoppers. As a collective, we will undermine rights, human or otherwise, to save a penny.

And don't pretend like the only explanation for empathy for Michael Vick is because of the civil rights experience and/or its corresponding baggage.

Cause I have never felt sorry for Michael Vick before. Not ever. And me feeling empathy for Michael Vick has nothing to do with civil rights or anybody named Abernathy. It has to do with common sense. And ESPN trying to say otherwise is a pathetic attempt to play the race card against me when they have programmed their channel for the purpose of piling on Vick. They have no excuse. No King, Young or Aaron can absolve them.

The issue is not animal cruelty.

Just for example, Jonathan Babineux remains on the Atlanta Falcons roster and he is accused of bashing a puppy in the head with a hammer to get back at his girlfriend. And I doubt too many people will be throwing away their "Pulp Fiction" DVDs because they can't stand to think of Marsellus' Mastiffs mauling a man to death.

It's not even about morality.

How can Donovan McNabb be criticized for standing by his friend and Arthur Blank not be scrutinized for turning his back on his "friend"?

The issue is not corporate public relations.

The NFL is full of criminals - alleged and actual. And sponsors that have distanced themselves from Vick have stood by people accused of committing far worse crimes than Vick and have even used dog fighting to market their goods.

The issue is not about Vick's certain legal doom.

Any neutral lawyer could read the indictment (remember, we're just at the indictment stage) and hypothesize a defense. Whether just by due diligence, eyewitness attacks, the difficulty of proving a triple pronged conspiracy charge or God forbid - the presumption of innocence.

Right now, the indictment against Vick is what it is. There is no evidence to suggest the indictment is based on anything but a belief that Vick did what the Feds said he did. Maybe his celebrity made him an attractive target. Maybe his race. But the charges are what they are.

It's the court of public opinion where Vick is being railroaded. And it's not companies who have rights to terminate their relationship with Vick merely exercising those rights. It's the knee jerking. It's the piling on. It's the selective use of facts. And despite Wright Thompson's attempts, it's ESPN.

ESPN doesn't employ the personnel to reasonably deal with this story. They employ a few guys who know the x's and o's. They employ a lot of other guys who just yell whatever opinion will get the most attention. And, yes, Wright, damn skippy, I take Vick's predicament personally. I take it personally as a Falcons fan. I take it personally as a Black person. But first and foremost, I take it personally as a rational person willing to wait and see the situation play out on its own. Let's call a spade a spade. There's no need to color the situation.


CoCo said...


Jarrett Carter said...

You couldn't be more right on with this post.

I would even go as far to bet that many people in Atlanta feel some kind of way about Vick. Not because of this particular charge, but the body of his work in the NFL and in the ATL.

tws392000 said...

Thank goodness they don't keep score in the court of public opinion. If so, Mike Vick is already under the jailhouse.

HCIC, thanks for your post. I'm tired of seeing the another black face found guilty before an actual trial takes place. As a black person, you hope that justice is served, but if he broke the law, and it can be proven in a court of law, then he should be punished. Don't make him guilty until proven innocent, which is what most of the media and the PETA folks seem to have done, in the court of public opinion.

Miz said...

I agree. This has become a way for people to dump on Vick when they probably never really liked him.
Unfortunately, they're succeeding. And they'll continue to. Oh well. He's probably guilty, and will probably go to jail. The Feds have a great conviction rate; they don't just throw these cases around.
I wouldn't say, however, that I'm offended as a black person- I don't get that part.

Ted said...

Well I'm not Black and I am a Falcons fan and I'm sorry to say it seems to me where you fall on this really does depend on the color of your skin. Yes ESPN went over the top on this but they do on every thing else too...theres really only so much you say about sports and they have 24 X 7 coverage...CNN does the same thing. How many updates an hour do we need on the miners in Utah or the bridge in Minnesota? But there it is.

I think a sociologist would have a field day with why white sports fans are so repulsed but so many blacks rise to his defense. I think we can safely assume there is more than just cold, hard reasoning for that disconnect, otherwise you wouldn't see such a stark divide. Terence Moore makes some good points and being black has more insight than myself(

As for white fans not warming to black QBs, just look at the devoted followers right here in Atlanta of Joe Hamilton and DJ Shockley. Vick could have had that kind of following but he didn't win consistently.

I've said before on this blog that I think Vick should be allowed to play until its decided by a court (but then I think Pac Man should be allowed to play too).

But I totally understand why they're keeping him out of camp and likely won't play for us again. Frankly as a fan, its a relief.

As a player, Vick went from a phenom to an enigma. A great talent but poorly harnessed. I think Mora was partially to blame along with sub par receivers but Mike has to accept some responsibility for his inconsistent play. There were glimpses last season (Cincinatti and Pittsburgh) when he looked like he finally had it put together but then the next week against the Lions (The Lions!) he couldn't hit a thing. And it went down hill from there. I was looking forward to seeing if Petrino is the wonder child Blank and McKay hold him up to be but its just not to be.

JJ said...

Amen Sistah! u hit the nail on the head.

DP said...

yup...Nothing more to see here....Youve pounded this point perfectly. Good post.

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