Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Michael Vick Over?

I wrote a Michael Vick dog fighting opinion that nearly everyone disagreed with but my husband and my mother. While watching NFL football (yes, I love violent ground acquisition sports), the announcers were pontificating that no owner would want to sit with Vick because he lied and people are disgusted about the dog fighting. Blah. Blah. Blah. Whatever. I have one name for everyone: Bill Clinton. Of course Vick lied. Everyone lies when they get caught doing something wrong these days. At least that's what people say when people are screwing or killing other people. Maybe dog killing is held to a higher standard. These days, it seems it is. Back to football.

Football is about two things. Number 1: Money. Number 2: Winning.

Michael Vick will be a cheap date when he comes back into the league. He will make a contrite statement. He'll profess his wrongness. He will make his apology heart-felt and sincere. He will get paid relative dirt. And if he is successful, he will help a team win. In short, he will help some team owner make big money. (Now, if he decides to be a jerk, ala Leona Helmsley, he'll be hung from the rafters. But he is black, entitled, rich guy. That at least gives him more grace than a rich, entitled, white woman.)

America will forgive him. And the guys who watch football don't really give a crap anyway. Most of them. Some, are deeply offended and hope he never comes back into sports.

In a world where OJ roams free and gives autographs to adoring fans, Michael Vick is small potatoes. Or at least that's my opinion. What I find weird is the bleeding heart concern over dogs when wife-beaters, murderers, drug users get a pass. To me, it's bass-ackwards.

Oh wait, I'm NOT the only one thinking this. David Stein of the Sporting News says:

Mike Vick, without a plea bargain, would face, based on felony conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiring to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture, 5 years in prison. With a plea it is possible that his sentence would be somewhere in the 8-12 month range -- or 3-4 TIMES the jail time of the guy who killed a woman, or possibly 12 TIMES or more the jail time of the guy who allegedly beat his wife ... again.
And at the Orlando Sentinal:
If only Michael Vick had been arrested for abusing women instead of dogs.

He'd still be on the football field today.

He'd still have the love and adoration of his fans

And, yes, he'd still have his Nike deal.

Such is the shame of professional sports.

Dogs are treated with more respect than women.
What would be a just result for Vick? A $500,000 donation to SPCA or some such dog foundation, a year probation, and 160 hours of community service, the hard kind scooping poop.

Now, some are writing about the entitled air that star athletes breath leading them to believe they are above all laws. Further, some decry the spirit surrounding black athletes where groupies and hangers-on encourage thuggish, criminal behavior to "keep it real". As in, you ain't black enough, you don't have street cred, yo if you don't "keep it real". These are related, but different problems entirely.

On the one hand, the subject is justice in America. As in, there isn't any when murders get suspended sentences and a dog fighter can spend up to six years in Federal Prison (where there is no time shaved for good behavior). What the above reporters allude to is the problematic dynamic where there are too many laws, enforcement is arbitrary and punishment is so uneven as to be unjust. And then there is the hell that awaits prisoners. Prison rape seems to be an acceptable means of punishment, these days. It is despicable and it makes me sick that we live in a country that believes that it's acceptable justice. It's not.

On the other hand, there is the cultural problem. Blacks have created a thug sub-culture where education, achievement and good values are considered "too white". For a black to maintain his blackness, he must use slang, be criminal, and keep the 'hood mentality. It's "keeping it real". On this topic, Jason Whitlock of Kansas City.com writes:
So let’s go ahead and redefine “keeping it real,” shall we?

We might as well, now that Michael Vick kept it real stupid and probably is headed to a federal penitentiary, the vacation destination of choice for men who believe criminal behavior and a lack of education are cultural benchmarks.

Trust me, I take no satisfaction in Vick’s decision to reach a plea agreement on dogfighting charges or his impending incarceration. The lack of parole and rehabilitation opportunities in federal penitentiaries and the mental disease caused by those shortcomings are as revolting to me as the crimes that land men there.

But this column won’t be a blast on our morally bankrupt penal institutions. This column will be about the lesson we all should take from Vick’s dramatic fall. Not long ago, the man did have the world by the tail. He owned a $130 million contract in a city, Atlanta, that adored him, and he was labeled a “franchise” quarterback.

He threw it all away because he bought into the self-destructive, immature, hip-hop model of “keeping it real.”
And this mentality isn't helped at all when black activist leaders support criminal behavior and brand anyone offended by the crime as racist. This delusional thinking enables the very choices that harm their own community:
Earlier this month, in a march to the Georgia Dome to assert their support for Vick, civil-rights leaders from the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Center cautioned the public against rushing to judgment before Vick appeared in court.

On Monday, representatives from both civil-rights organizations declined to comment, the Los Angeles Times reported. Gerald Rose, the founder of New Order, a new Atlanta-based human-rights group, told the Los Angeles Times he planned to go ahead with a "major rally" for Vick at the Georgia Dome on Monday but acknowledged it would take on a different tone.
Michael Vick isn't a victim except of his own hubris. And no one helps the situation by pretending he is a victim.

What remains after this sad incident is this:
  1. The justice system is uneven, unfair and instills mistrust.
  2. The black community too often elevates criminal behavior while identifying good character and accomplishment as "too white".
  3. Political correctness and misplaced priorities cause Americans to value dogs over people, athletes and entertainers over other forms of accomplishment, and prevents people of all colors from naming the problem in the black community and progressively in the community at large.

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