African-American sports fans who took part in the online survey also indicated the media had been biased in its treatment of black athletes. By a margin of 57 percent to 7 percent, the African-Americans surveyed say the media unfairly criticizes black athletes more than white athletes, while the white fans suggest there is no difference in the media's handling of various cases.
Of black sports fans surveyed, 65 percent say they admire Vick, compared with just 25 percent of the white fans.
|ESPN asks: "What if Michael Vick was a Backstreet Boy?|
The National Football League (NFL) must do everything possible to not completely thug-out its product, as the National Basketball Association (NBA) did when they hedged all bets on Black 'thuggish' basketball and drove away fans, ratings, and corporate sponsorship.
That's why Peyton Hillis winning the vote from fans (over Michael Vick) to appear on the cover of the 2011 John Madden Football video game was such a relief to the NFL. Protecting the brand - a multi-billion dollar a year brand mind you - is more important to the NFL then turning your league into a veritable penal colony as the NBA did by allowing the thug mentality to take over.
Unfortunately, the league sings more and more players like Pacman Jones and Dez Bryant each year.
Strangely, ESPN continues to push Black superiority in athletics (especially football) and published this strange article today that generated a lot of buzz all over the Internet. What if Michael Vick was White? written by Touré (he doesn't seem to have a surname), wonders how the incredibly Black Vick would be treated if he wasn't such a thug and instead was blessed with white privilege:
WHEN MICHAEL VICK PLAYS, I see streetball. I don't just mean that sort of football where you have to count to four-Mississippi before you can rush the quarterback, nearly everything breaks down and it's all great fun. I also mean street basketball. Vick's style reminds me of Allen Iverson -- the speed, the court sense, the sharp cuts, the dekes, the swag. In those breathtaking moments when the Eagles QB abandons the pocket and takes off, it feels as if he's thumbing his nose at the whole regimented, militaristic ethos of the game.
All of that is why, to me, Vick seems to have a deeply African-American approach to the game. I'm not saying that a black QB who stands in the pocket ain't playing black. I'm saying Vick's style is so badass, so artistic, so fluid, so flamboyant, so relentless -- so representative of black athletic style -- that if there were a stat for swagger points, Vick would be the No. 1 quarterback in the league by far.
Race is an undeniable and complex element of Vick's story, both because of his style as well as the rarity of black QBs in the NFL. A decade after he became the first black QB to be drafted No. 1 overall, about one in five of the league's passers is African-American, compared with two-thirds of all players. But after his arrest for dogfighting, so many people asked: Would a white football player have gotten nearly two years in prison for what Vick did to dogs?
This question makes me cringe. It is so facile, naive, shortsighted and flawed that it is meaningless. Whiteness comes with great advantages, but it's not a get-out-of-every-crime-free card. Killing dogs is a heinous crime that disgusts and frightens many Americans. I'm certain white privilege would not be enough to rescue a white NFL star caught killing dogs.
The problem with the "switch the subject's race to determine if it's racism" test runs much deeper than that. It fails to take into account that switching someone's race changes his entire existence. In making Vick white, you have him born to different parents. That alone sets his life trajectory in an entirely different direction. Thus when this hypothetical white Michael Vick ... wait, I can't even continue that sentence in good faith. I mean, who would this white Vick be? That person is unknowable. When you alter his race, it's like those Back to the Future movies where someone goes back in time, inadvertently changes one small thing about his parents' dating history and then the person starts to disappear. If Vick had been born to white parents, you wouldn't even be reading this right now. That Vick would have had radically different options in life compared with the Vick who grew up in the projects of Newport News, Va., where many young black men see sports as the only way out.
This is not to say there aren't insights to be gained from hypotheticals. One pertinent question: Would a white kid have been introduced to dogfighting at a young age and have it become normalized to the extent that he builds it into his life after he joins the NFL? It's possible, but it's far less likely because what made Vick stand out among dogfighters is less race than class. The deep pockets of an NFL star led to a kennel that was too big not to fail eventually. But if it did, though, would this white kid have been busted? Remember, it wasn't suspicion of dogfighting that started the investigation that put Vick in jail. It was that element that we've all seen hold back or bring down so many athletes from the hood -- the entourage. Vick's cousin Davon Boddie was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell in Hampton, Va. When police asked him for his address, he led them to the home where Bad Newz Kennels was located. After that, Vick never had a chance.
Here's another question: If Vick grew up with the paternal support that white kids are more likely to have (72 percent percent of black children are born to unwed mothers compared with 29 percent of white children), would he have been involved in dogfighting? I ask this not to look for an excuse but to explore the roots of his behavior. Vick's stunningly stupid moral breakdown with respect to dogs is certainly related to the culture of the world he grew up in, which he says fully embraced dogfighting. But it's also related to the household he grew up in.
Vick's father, Michael Boddie, was not a positive influence on him growing up. Boddie admitted to The Washington Post that he was a cocaine user and had been high and drunk around young Vick. He says he often prepared the family garage so Vick could have pit bull fights there. Boddie's account is disputed by a family friend, who says Vick's mother would not have allowed that. Either way, at some point in Vick's youth, his father became estranged from the family. This breakdown of Vick's paternal relationship is a pattern that's all too common among black men of his generation. Too many are left to define manhood on their own, so they gravitate toward the most charismatic and inspiring men in their world. Sometimes those men are gritty local sports coaches who teach them the value of hard work, but sometimes they're ghetto celebrities who are unsavory role models with bad habits.
Ultimately, there is no separating Vick from his circumstances: his race, parents, economics and opportunities. Alter any of those elements and everything about him and how the world sees him would be unrecognizable.
So let's look at him a different way. Let's see him as someone in the third act of the epic movie that is his life, leading a team that many expect to see in the Super Bowl. Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" is playing underneath because the humbled protagonist has finally overcome his personal demons and has begun living up to his athletic promise. And to those who believe we should judge a man by how he responds when dealing with the worst life has to offer -- with how he climbs after he hits rock bottom -- Michael Vick has become heroic.
And that has nothing to do with race.
We don't believe in white privilege here, or at least not how Touré defines it. We do believe in Black Privilege and ask Touré this question: what would all of these Black athletes who get free rides to college (and rarely graduate) and then go on to play in the NFL - only to go completely broke upon retirement - do without sports? What positive job skills does a guy like Michael Vick, or the majority of the Black student-athletes studying "general studies" while playing college football or playing in the NFL offer the world outside of athletics?
|SBPDL asks: "What if Michael Vick wasn't the embodiment of a nigger?"|
We've said it before and we'll say it again: without sports, positive examples of Black people in America would not exist. Even with sports, the most heroic Black athletes have the moral character of a guy like Michael Vick.Why do Black people find employment so difficult to maintain when a position with the government (Federal, State or Local) is all but assured and guaranteed in BRA? The answer might be available in the US Department of Labor’s recent Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity 2009 report:In general, the labor market problems experienced by Blacks and Hispanics are associated with many factors, not all of which are measurable. Some of these factors include a tendency to be employed in occupations with high levels of unemployment, lower average levels of schooling, greater concentration in the central cities of urban areas where job opportunities may be relatively limited, and the likelihood of discrimination in the workplace. These factors and others may help explain the acute labor market difficulties Blacks and Hispanics encounter, especially during economic downturns.From this report, we learn the top 10 occupations in America with the largest percentage of Black employment (for those wondering, the lowest is here):1. Barbers—35.0%2. Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides—34.0%3. Residential advisors—29.6%4. Security guards and gaming surveillance officers—28.6%5. Postal service clerks-28.3%6. Baggage porters, bellhops, and concierges—27.1%7. Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators—26.4%8. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs—25.7%9. Bus drivers—24.9%10. Parking lot attendants—24.4%
Michael Vick is a byproduct of Black culture in America. His brother, Marcus Vick, wasn't as lucky as him. Were Vick a white guy, he'd be a byproduct of white culture. A guy like Matt Jones, the former quarterback at Arkansas, was a much taller (and whiter) version of Vick, but he got moved to receiver after being drafted by Jacksonville. After testing positive for cocaine, Jones was gone from the league.
Vick killed a bunch of dogs and was welcomed with open arms by the incredibly Black town of Philadelphia, where Black
Were Vick a white guy, like say one of the biggest knuckleheads in NFL history Ryan Leaf, he probably wouldn't be bankrupt. But like JaMarcus Russell and Vince Young (all three Black QBs signed huge contracts), he is bankrupt.
Michael Vick is given a pass due to his Blackness, because one can never criticize Black people or their (lack of ) character.
In a hilarious 2011 cover-story on the NFL Lockout in USA Today, a story on the plight of undrafted free agents profiled the incredible Black Darren Evans of Virginia Tech and this sob story of waiting for the lockout to end so he could pursue his dream of professional football:
Married and a father, with another child on the way, former Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans suddenly found himself in the unenviable role of unemployed football player in a shuttered league eight weeks ago.
With one season of eligibility remaining, Evans, 22, gambled and declared for the NFL draft in April after advisers told him he was a lock as a middle-round pick. As the three-day draft approached an end, Evans says, the Washington Redskins called to say it was unlikely any team would select him."After hearing those words … everything kind of went blank," he says bleakly.
Without a new labor deal, rookie free agents remain in free fall.In Evans' case, financial pressures bear down on the 230-pounder like a menacing middle linebacker. He and his wife, Taneesha, live with one of his cousins in their hometown of Indianapolis. The couple get by on savings and the largesse of family members.
"If this whole (football) thing just totally blows up in my face, I will go to work," says Evans, who as a redshirt freshman in 2008 rumbled for a then-school record 253 yards rushing against Maryland."If I get knocked down, I have to get up, because I will have three people depending on me."
Evans' economic concerns are one example of the anxiety affecting his unsigned brethren.
The best of them would have received signing bonuses ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. Under the expired labor agreement, the minimum NFL salary — which is typically what such players are paid — was $325,000 for rookies.
Former Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts, a pre-med graduate, spends his days working out in Lubbock — when he is not shadowing an orthopedic surgeon. He also plans to get married next month.
"We (players) are pretty much at the mercy of the lockout," Potts says. "I have a lot of time to beef up a Plan B. Plan A is to still play football — although Plan B is becoming a bit more realistic."
The better question that no one wants to ask about Black athletes like Michael Vick is simply this: "What if Michael Vick didn't act like a nigger and what if a fawning, sycophantic predominately white sports media and every member of the Black community stopped making excuses for his thuggery?"