Black And White: The Michael Vick Story
Dan Le Batard is at his worst this morning, writing a load of BS about the "racial aspect" of the Michael Vick dogfighting case. Le Batard should stick to giggling on the radio rather than trying to tackle complex issues like race in America. He stumbles around, mentions O.J. Simpson, and ultimately winds up making one of the worst arguments imaginable:
Dogfighting is glorified in segments of the hip-hop community, so there are some cultural differences that complicate matters here. There isn't much of a difference between killing dogs for sport and the art of bullfighting.
You are walking a thin line if you see a lot of distinction between pitting dogs bred to fight and shooting a deer just to put the head up in your office. Go to Hialeah, and you'll see that one man's cruelty to animals is another man appeasing his god. Heck, our own states can't agree. Dogfighting is but a misdemeanor in two of them. Vick couldn't have known dogfighting had consequences this large or he wouldn't have been doing it. And it can be jarring to see one of your own lose his livelihood and freedom and name for something that isn't a lot different than bullfighting.
Oh shut the fuck up. You got a problem with bullfighting, go take
up the issue in Spain. And to compare killing dogs -- our smart, affectionate, sociable friends -- with hunting deer is so stupid I can't even respond. The passage takes cultural relativism to an extreme so ridiculous and ignorant that is should hardly be dignified with a response.
Look, I'm not one of these "slavery was 140 years ago, get over it" people. Far from it. Racism still pervades society; the playing field isn't close to even yet. But the only people who are really bringing race into this case are three types of people:
1. Racist whites.
2. Knee-jerk blacks who retain an irrational and ultimately self-destructive "us against them" mindset that allows them to forgive everything from dog fighting to double murder.
3. People named Dan Le Batard.
Here's the actual story: Sports superstar gets caught killing hundred of dogs, which naturally shocks and betrays his fans. Especially the lifeblood of fandom, the kids. My son used to like Vick (as did I). Now he hates his guts (I don't go that far, though I think he should be out of the game for at least five years).
THIS JUST IN: Vick is giving his first public statements right now and just said that he wants to apologize to the kids for his "immature" acts.
Immature? I don't know any youngsters who like to kill dogs (though I've heard of a few, Dahmer, for instance). How about vicious, unconscionable, and heinous? This is the way you show contrition, Vick, you goddamn dirty dog killer?
(He also said, hilariously, that he's going to have some "down time" to think about it -- is that what they call a prison sentence in the NFL?)
Okay, back to the race thing. What if Peyton Manning were found to have done the same thing? Story would have been just as big, probably bigger. Society is harder on black athletes worse than white ones? Why don't you talk to Pete Rose about that. Or dig up Shoeless Joe Jackson and have a conversation with him. On the flip side, ask Dontrelle Willis about how he got a free pass for getting drunk and pissing in the street. What about Michael Irvin? He's living at the height of celebrity after having been forgiven for his boorish and disgraceful behavior. Ray Lewis too.
Not saying they shouldn't have been forgiven, just stating the fact: By and large, we judge athletes by what they've done, not their pigmentation. And Michael Vick's crime is just about as repulsive as any in sports memory (OK, O.J. routs him, but that's just about it). So he deserves to get rung through the ringer, big time. All this babble about race is just that. Babble from tangential morons of all colors.