Thursday, August 23, 2007

On Martyrdom

ESPN Page 2 writer Jemele Hill cautions "Us" not to make Vick a martyr. She claims Vick "alone should be held accountable for his actions."

If only it were that simple.

Every story has a background. Explaining is not excusing. Those obsessed with examining the nuances are not worse than those who are content to bask in the ignorance of political correctness.

Ms. Hill is among many media members who insist on oversimplified good or bad designations... black and white classifications.. the romantic and naive disposition of heroes and villains.

Ms. Hill writes, "Do not applaud him for taking his comeuppance." And why not? Since when is accepting responsibility a bad thing? It should not matter whether Vick is concerned. Living a life of value is the ideal fulfillment of a human life. And despite ESPN's effort to dehumanize Vick, he is still a person.

There is no need to feign that Michael Vick has no good qualities just to bolster condemnation of his misdeeds. Yes, he has done bad things and he will suffer the consequences. We all do that on varying levels. Michael is just an ordinary human being.

It has been reported that if Vick would have gone forward with a trial, other players would have become involved in the proceedings. If Michael plead guilty, even in part, to save his teammates and friends from personal, criminal or professional consequences, isn't that a noble thing? If Michael plead guilty, even in part, to save his co-defendants from the potential predicament of having to be subjected to additional serious charges that they didn't have credibility or resources to defend, that's not admirable? If Michael plead guilty, even in part, to save the NFL - the almighty shield - from taking a beating from ESPN (they have not spared any staff or airtime to not discuss Michael Vick over the past few months), isn't that responsible behavior toward the entity that made him prosperous? Even if he is just a tragic example of what not to do to some prospective successful person, hasn't Vick served a positive purpose? All things considered - and I mean ALL things considered - it's hard to conclude that Vick is completely unworthy of being discussed for his positive qualities.

I'm not sure exactly who Ms. Hill is accusing of heralding Vick as a martyr. Just because some choose to defer to their compassionate tendencies or amend their proclamations about Michael with "he deserves fair treatment", instead of interrupting every mention of his name with "what he did was reprehensible", doesn't mean that their perspective is inferior.


SportsDiva said...

Yo, can you bottle up some of that 'balance' you have and send it to Jemele and her like-minded media friends?!? For real.

Jarrett Carter said...

^ Agreed. But keep in mind the ESPN makes that loot off of exaggerating and saturating the stories they cover.

What's worse, Vick's own father and grandfather are airing him out.

sportsdiva said...

No doubt, but sounds like Pops aim was the same as the world wide leaders..."gimme da loot, gimme da loot"!

Erin said...

I think Michael Vick did something wrong, as I'm sure most do, but I don't think his actions make him a terrible person overall.

Still, though, if other people did commit a crime in this case, and Michael Vick is protecting them, is that really "noble"? All that means is other people are getting away with illegal activities. Is protecting other criminals a "noble" act?

I am glad to see him plead guilty if he did in fact commit the crimes. But as much as I don't want to see him crucified in the public and the media, I don't think I'm ready to call him noble just yet.

Great blog.


Miranda said...

This was excellent....great commentary. Jemele falls into that sad category of writers that just fail to see beyond the obvious black and white manure that is just too prevalent in our society today. There are shades of gray, and all of those shades should be explored. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

what I think that Hill was trying to convey is that after stating repeatedly in many an interview, Vick kept saying that he was innocent, lied to his boss and lied to the commish.

this is not a "holier than thou" card I am trying to play here, but as Hill said, don't try to applaud him for FINALLY telling the truth and accepting his punishment. accepting responsibility, as you stated, is 1000 time better when you fess up at the time of accusations. if you wait until the pressure of guilt is so great until you confess, then your "accepting responsibility" doesn't look as admirable. Prime example, Pete Rose. had he admitted to his activities, he might be in the Hall right now or at least back in baseball.

As far as Vick being held accountable, why shouldn't he? he knew what he was doing was illegal, whether you agree with the law or not. it was illegal. and he should be held accountable.

and i didn't see where Hill stated that we can't talk about Vick's positive qualities. and as far as all the reasons you considered that Vick plead guilty, sure that may be part of it, but I am going to go out on a limb here and say that 99.9% of the reason was so he could get a shorter jail time.

Ted said...

A certain river in the middle east comes to mind. Hang in there, HCIC.

Anonymous said...


CoCo said...

My biggest problem is with the people who try to act like this is the biggest black eye in the black community. They act like Vick was going to be the savior of black people. He wasn't going to singlehandedly save the black community so he certainly isn't going to singlehandedly destroy it either. Even though he broke the law, he isn't all bad. In my opinion he's not even associated with the worst crime committed involving an NFL player this off-season. A woman claims she was raped at Patrick Kerney's house. Raped. There's been little to no coverage on this story. It's a damn shame that we care more about animals than humans.

Kevin Hayward said...

I think Michael Vick pled guilty to save his own hide, not because he gives a crap about anyone else. He did it because it is a bargain; he will testify in an attempt to bring someone else down, and if he's successful, Uncle Sam will take it easy on him. Hardly a martyr in my books.

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