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.