“Vick-timized” by Willie Gee

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This is a repeat of an excellent article Willie Gee wrote two years ago when Vick was arrested. I think it is well worth a re-read now that Vick has signed with the Eagles.

The latest developments in the Michael Vick dog fighting case seem to confirm what I have believed all along, which is that many people in powerful positions are trying to bring the man down. Although Vick is arguably one of the NFL’s greatest players and definitely the league’s most electrifying, his unconventional style of play along with his ability to “keep it real” seem to bother many members of the dominant culture. To put it bluntly, many people do not like him because he does not act white and corporate, and does not play the game like every other quarterback. I have further believed that “those people” have been out to get him for quite some time. Unfortunately, “those people” make up a disproportionately large part of the means that control society, such as the media. ESPN, in particular, has had a vendetta against this guy for at least the past year. From the middle finger incident, to the water bottle incident, and now this, Vick has taken more than his share of criticism. I mean, Kobe Bryant never took this much heat for buying his way out of a rape case. Moreover, the Feds never got involved in that one. They allowed the authorities in Eagle, Colorado to do their job, and there was no independent investigation conducted by the NBA either.


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Dog-fighting is really no less humane than many socially acceptable practices. Many people hunt, killing innocent animals, and not always to consume them as food either but just for the thrill. Would it have made things any better if Vick had sold the deceased dogs off to a Chinese restaurant or something? Many types of animals are raised under extremely harsh conditions in order to be slaughtered for factory farming. An ungodly amount of various animals are killed every day for this purpose without even a fighting chance. Although this is definitely true and many of us know it, most all of us (including me) continue to eat meat. When slaughtered, a cow’s throat and jugular are slit with a machete. They are often cut into from the side with no anesthesia for surgical reasons. And all this, my friends, is done purely in the name of minimizing costs. Now, that is cruel. On top of that, it is a practice that nearly all of us participate in on some level.

Another double standard in the outrage against Vick relates to the way in which ESPN and other media outlets embrace the sport of horse racing. Horse racing is a sport where white aristocratic elitists force specifically bred horses to race. Those horses have no choice as to whether they race or not, just as is the case with the pit bulls who fight, or even dogs who race. They are all an investment in order to gain money and attain status. In each instance, it is the investors and not the animal that look to gain. Cockfighting, where roosters battle to the death with razors on their claws, is only illegal in 48 out of the 50 U.S. states. However, cockfighting is more popular among white and Hispanic cultures while dog fighting is popular in the ghetto black culture. Furthermore, the death of Barbaro at last year’s Preakness shows that there is an element of fatal danger in horse racing as well.

Although it is a little disappointing to think that Michael Vick would deeply involve himself in something as cruel as dog fighting, what has been exponentially more disappointing is society’s reaction to the whole thing. ESPN latched onto this story like, well, a pit bull, and there has been no prying of their jaws from it either. It is like watching Sanford and Son, as every night they try to bring down the same athletes who do not conform to their standards. Every time a football player gets in a little bit of trouble, they use that to drive home the league’s new personal conduct policy. Look at the way they went after Clinton Portis just for expressing his views on dog fighting. This is still a free country, right? Someone needs to knock them off their high horse in Bristol, Connecticut. They certainly prompted the Feds to get involved in this case, which seems unprecedented since it is nothing more than a dog fighting case. The Feds need to let the Virginia prosecutors do their jobs and not interfere.

What bothers me most of all in regards to the Michael Vick dog fighting case is the fact that the NFL is conducting its own private investigation into the matter. Since the new commissioner Roger Goodell has taken over, the league has resorted to Neo-McCarthyism. The commissioner is conducting his own personal P.C. witch hunt, and he apparently believes his power is limitless. I mean, to rule the NFL like a dictator is one thing, but to conduct private investigations into legal matters is totally out of bounds on another level. What gives him the right to conduct this investigation? What if you or I just decided we wanted to investigate some murder. Could you imagine walking through some police tape at a crime scene to collect some forensic evidence? This guy really is trying to assume the role of the legal system, and he must be stopped, just as you or I would be if we tried to do such a thing. In our society, it is the role of the legal system to punish. What if the legal system formed a football league?

I am outraged about what our society has come to. It is no longer about what a player does on the field, it is all about making money and being corporate. LeBron is encouraged by ESPN to be a greedy capitalist (and be friends with Warren Buffet) while Stephan Marbury is given little love for creating a $15 shoe without the use of slave labor. It is much less about winning than it is about presenting yourself as someone Nike or Reebok can market. These major corporations are running professional football and basketball, and running it straight into the ground. They want someone who they view as safe, and the leagues now want the same, which discourages the exciting and original personalities that once made sports so fun. If Nike, Disney, ESPN, and the NFL have their way Michael Vick could become the latest “Vick”-tim of this witch hunt that the fans need to wise up to before it is really too late. However, if this must happen, I would not mind seeing them throw Vick out of the NFL because he is one man who could truly make a league. Joe Namath is loved for “making a league” when his team won the 1969 Super Bowl. Maybe Vick could make the league that overtakes the NFL. You gave up too early with the XFL, Vince McMahon. However, before any of this happens, I hope Vick gets a Super Bowl this year to rub in their face.

  • hoffpajo

    I hope JGT is more enlightened than to believe this crap. It does not even deserve comment.

  • Dan

    There's some truth in this article. Not all of it-maybe not most of it, but it raises interesting points.

  • I put it out there not as a treatise on my personal beliefs about this situation, but as a alternate point of view to the mainstream one. While I don't agree with everything Willie has to say, I certainly think he makes some salient points.

  • hoffpajo

    i am outraged about what our society has become. it is no longer about the morals of a society it has become about who can win games. perhaps we no longer have any morals.

  • Dan

    If you're really outraged then you don't have enough to worry about. I don't think he'll be a vital contributor at all. Has nothing to do talent. The guy has a right to work and if he can help the Eagles, all the better- as long as he keeps his nose clean.

  • hoffpajo

    i was paraphraing a ling from the article written by willie gee. yes, you are right he has a right to work, he does not, however, have a right to work in the nfl. i'll give him a job cleaning my gutters, oh wait i own dogs. well maybe i wont give him a job.

  • I hate it when people say “We no longer have any morals in sports” as if there were some magical time when pro sports was a good wholesome activity. Black players were not allowed to play baseball until 1947. Ty Cobb jumped into the stands and beat up a cripple once. Tris Speaker was an active member of the Klan, and is today in the Hall of Fame. Artificial turf blew players' knees out at an alarming rate, but was kept in sports stadiums until the players became more valuable than the stadiums.

    Michael Vick is an ass, but he can play football. I remember when the Cowboys canned Landry and hired Johnson, I told my dad, “God, I hate Jimmie Johnson, he's such a jerk.” My dad's answer: “They aren't paying him to be a nice guy.” The Eagles PR department is hoping Vick follows through on his insistence of being a changed man, but the coaching staff just wants him because they think he can help them win games. It's always been that way and it'll always be that way.

  • bob

    Yes, but I think that the handicapped guy– “handicapped,” Goodtimes, not “crippled.” WTF, were you asleep that day during mandatory PC training?– as I say, I believe the handicapped guy was heckling Cobb, and, therefore, any attack by Cobb has to be seen as warranted.

    I didn't know that about Tris Speaker being in the Klan. Interesting. Maybe he was in the same klavern as Senator Byrd. (D-WV)

  • JohnniE

    Or perhaps it was the same as Indiana's Republican governor Ed Jackson and more than half of the General Assembly, almost all of them Republicans, whose dealing with the Ku Klux Klan gave the Republican Party such a strong foothold, its legacy continues there today. I do know that Tris Speaker was one of the most outspoken supporters of Larry Doby when he became the first African-American to play in the American League.

  • bob

    Perhaps he did belong to the Indiana group. Being a white man born in Texas in the late 19th century, however, I suspect Speaker would probably have found the company of Republicans to be kind of objectionable.

    I learned about Speaker being very supportive of Doby also when I read about Speaker on Wikipedia. Which I guess shows that there's nowt so odd as folk as a Yorkshireman would say. I also read that there are some apologists for the Klan of the 20's or so who say that it was more a nationalist than a racist organization at that point. I don't think I'm buying that though. They've always been pretty big on the anti-black/Jew/Catholic/non-WASP thing, and they're not my idea of a American Legion or Rotarian or Elks sort of group.

  • JohnniE

    I won't pretend to know about Speaker's politics, just because he was born in Texas (Dem. in his time) or that he lived much of his adult life in Ohio (Rep. in his time). What I needed to address was a gratuitous reference to a Democratic Senator who, as a young man, was mislead to believe it was a patriotic thing to do (join the Klan) when it was the folly of many a man – OF ALL PARTIES! A man with many faults, but someone who, after his entire career is scrutinized, was far greater a friend to African-Americans than most of his colleagues

  • bob

    Byrd might have redeemed himself over the years, although I have to think that being a member of the Klan is a pretty big indiscretion whether he was young or not. I'd point out that the overwhelming majority of his peers did not join the Klan, so I'm not so sure I want to excuse him on that basis.

    The reason I brought up Byrd is because Dems like to pretend that Repubs are Klan-type bigots and closet Nazis– just look at Pelosi's recent remarks about the protesters at town hall meetings– but here we have a Dem senator of long standing who was a real live, honest-to-goodness Klansman. I'm not familiar with the Republican party and Klan connections in Indiana that you mentioned, but I do know that the Klan was originally an institution whose members were almost exclusively Democrats, and it continued to be largely Democratic for most of its history.

  • JohnniE

    The Democrats haven't had to pretend, they've got Thurmond, Helms, Duke, and Lott (among others) to reference. I can't believe you think that the right-wing talking points, which all who read your posts know you never listen to, but still manage to parrot exceptionally well, concerning the Democrats' history regarding minorities. The Democratic party of 2009 resembles almost nothing of the post- Civil War and anti-Lincoln party of the late 1800's. It is as disingenuous for you to do so as it would be to deny that there have been Republicans who have also dedicated their careers and even their lives for the same effort. Oh yeah, maybe you should learn about the Republican/Klan connection during the 1920's in Indiana.

  • bob

    Sorry, but I consider neither Helms nor Lott to be a bigot. Thurmond and Duke are for sure, but are no more representative of Republicans than Al Sharpton and Michael Moore are of Democrats. So go ahead and play your whole deck of race cards. And really what the hell do some Republican Klan members in Indiana in the 1920's that you've dug up out of oblivion have to do with me or any other Republican in the here and now. Your precious Senator Byrd, however, retired Klansman, still sits in the Senate.

    As for the “parroting” charge, I'm really sick of assholes such as you accusing me of parroting right wing talk radio. I can't help but notice that your positions seem to very closely jibe with those of the liberal and Democratic opinion purveyors out there. But I'm to believe, I suppose, that you arrive at your views on politics without any reference to sources outside of yourself. Your positions strike me, however, pardon me for saying so, as the same left/liberal horseshit one gets constantly from the mainstream media. You, in short, are nothing more than another of the sheep in the great Obama herd baaing away your Obama message, so stick your bullshit parroting accusations up your hopeychanger ass, pal.

    There are only a finite number of positions to take on the issues of the day, my genius and great original thinker friend, and the fact that my views happen to intersect with the views of those talk radio hosts who identifiy themselves as conservatives or Republicans or both is hardly what you'd call an astounding fact, given that I also happen to be a conservatives and a Republican. Maybe they're parroting me. If I'm parroting anybody or anything, it would be more apt to be National Review or The Weekly Standard or The Wall Street Journal or a variety of conservative columnists since I get most of my news and info from print sources or from the web. Yours, no doubt, spring fully formed from your great original mind.

  • JohnniE

    I concede. Anyone who can call me an asshole because I poked a few holes in his hot-air balloon is obviously of such a higher intellect, I've no chance. Rant on, fool, rant on.

  • bob

    Actually, you poked but produced no holes. You simply repeated a stupid charge that has been made over and over against me, that I merely parrot right-wing talk radio. The irony here is that in making that charge you are yourself parroting a well worn attack strategy of Democrats going back to Bill Clinton. And today we have Democrats from Obama to Pelosi to Reid insulting Republicans who oppose the Democratic agenda as unthinking automatons who take their orders from Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. Not exactly an original thought I'm afraid.

    I apologize for calling you insulting names. I suppose I don't like it when people insult me and I tend to respond in kind.

  • JohnniE

    I insulted you by comparing you with Limbaugh and Hannity? There's still hope for you, Bob.