"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network
That is what they have become, in their own
minds, and regardless of the situation, act committed or what appears on the
horizon, they fancy themselves above it all. The "they" are our superstar
athletes. Instant millionaires...fastball, slam dunk, jarring tackle, mix
with water and shake well, do not stir. Result, transformation of beings,
mentalities and approaches to society and fellow human beings. Little regard
for conformity, legal parameters or anything else.
Drug use, steroids, spousal abuse, rude and intimidating behavior, disregard
for the kid seeking a few seconds and an autograph...a word or two of
recognition, removal of humility and, like politicians, instant memory loss
concerning the folks that pay the bills or cast the votes to bring them to
these lofty heights.
But, that is a general indictment.
True enough and not intended as such. This brings us to Michael Vick. Before
you reach for the keyboard - since mail is, for all intents and purposes, a
thing of the past - try to do some intellectual, objective and cognitive
exercises of the brain in viewing this situation. What he did was abhorrent.
If he had just been a spectator, it would have been equally as despicable.
The fact that he took it to the next level is repugnant and offensive.
What he has destroyed concerning himself is mind-boggling. But, again, he
fancied himself "untouchable." His friends, to save themselves as much as
they can, were going to testify that he brutally executed dogs. Despite
early denial and protestations that he was going to clear his name, with
complete outrage by (got your hands on those keyboards?) the black community,
fans of his and the local NAACP, not to mention the ever present voice of the
Reverend Al Sharpton, Vick was expected to plead guilty to federal conspiracy
charges and admit what took place.
Worries about the NFL and playing time? You have to be kidding!!! How about
potential prison time or will he walk because he is an athlete, a product of
some ghetto (that always comes to the surface), victim of a terrible youth
experience and, in reverse, playing the race card? Everything in situations
like this is eventually defined as black and white. How ridiculous have we
become as a society? We are a box of Crayolas, nothing else, so it seems.
Reverend Sharpton, in his less than inimitable style, pre-judged the boys at
Duke and wanted Don Imus hung, not in effigy but in reality, someplace visible
in Manhattan. His is a world that is distinctly black and white. Michael
Vick was being unjustly accused because of his color? Really?
When I watch an executive of the NAACP?s national office on The Today Show
stating that it is unjust for prison populations to have a distorted
percentage - I think he quoted two-thirds as the figure - of Latino and
African-American prisoners the thought occurred to me that we must concentrate
on whites, Asians, Europeans and others committing more crime. How else to
balance the books?
The fact of the matter is that definition by color is the height of stupidity,
arrogance and denial. I would not care if Michael Vick was black, white,
pink, yellow, striped or rainbow ridden. Do the media and public have a
tendency to pre-judge? You bet. Do the courts of journalism and the public
deem you guilty before proven innocent in many cases? Count on it. Opinions
and judgments are reached faster than rising floods across the country right
Vick is expected serve some jail time after his plea with authorities.
Vick faced a maximum of five years (not about to happen) in jail and a
$250,000 fine (petty cash despite all the canceled endorsement deals). Likely
scenario...community monetary contribution plus 12-18 months incarceration
coupled with massive marches in front of the courthouse by all sorts of
people. The judge has the final say in this matter and Vick is a first-time
offender. Look for that to play heavily. Then add in that he has a family,
was purportedly influenced by others (at this stage of his career and life?)
versus bankrolling the entire operation, drowning, hanging and electrocuting
many of the dogs. Still want to march to defend him?
Flash!!! The plea deal has been signed and Vick now admits to conducting an
enterprise including the sponsoring and transporting of dogs in dog-fighting
operations. That means that he and his attorneys are courting a return to the
NFL after a suspension period and expected jail time and with a monetary fine
imposed. In other words, he paid for and sponsored dogs in dogfights and
bought and transported dogs across state lines to engage in animal fighting
ventures. He drove the car for Bonnie and Clyde but never entered the bank or
shot any of the guards. It is apparent that the authorities are Falcons? fans.
Vick now changes his involvement again and does not admit to killing any dogs
personally or gambling on the fights. He was a spectator with a financial
interest. He did not kill any dogs that did not perform well nor did he,
according to what was signed, place side bets on any of the fights and did not
receive any of the proceeds from the purses. Couple that with a plea summary
that also says that most of the operation and gambling monies were provided by
Vick but he and his co-defendants claimed purses when their dogs won fights.
That is not gambling? Should that be a question or statement?
What remains now is the matter of restitution but the dogs cannot be brought
back to life and to whom or what is the restitution made, what is the
"special assessment" that will be asked (monies to some humane society?)? I
expect some jail time, followed by some supervised release for signing the
Is this where someone asks what would happen if he was white and not the
superstar with barrels of money and friends in high places?
When all is said and done, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will likely suspend
Vick for a bit longer than any time he "serves" in supervised fashion and then
welcome him back into the NFL with open arms and forgiveness.
Unbelievable...but count on it.
One has to dismiss any comments made by Stephon Marbury from the world of the
NBA, condoning what took place here and comparing it to deer hunting.
One has to dismiss any derisive remarks that this reaction from the law and
the public would not have taken place with a white athlete.
One has to dismiss that what took place here was anything less than loathsome
and revolting. It was not sport. It was a series of murderous acts involving
pets that have been, for as long as any of us can remember, the primary
creature companion for human beings.
One has to, as soon as possible, dismiss and get over the black/white card
that is played all the time. It is out of hand and unjustified. It works for
Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and many others but it is a ploy, nothing more, and
those men who preach redemption, forgiveness and truth at other times never -
and I mean never - apologize for their errant and shoot first, ask questions
later accusations against white athletes and other celebrities.
Get over it. Michael Vick, the man, allegedly committed an outrageous series
of acts. He knew what he was doing, he choreographed it, he paid for it, he
enjoyed it, he discarded family values and thought himself to be untouchable.
And you endorse that?!?!? You gotta be kidding!