Sports have a way of teaching us lessons that you can’t learn in a classroom or a boardroom. But in a country that prides itself on giving individuals a second chance after paying for mistakes we have learned a valuable lesson from the saga of Michael Vick.
The mainstream militia will not give a second chance to an athlete – especially an African American or minority high profile athlete – to rehabilitate himself after a heinous mistake. This Beck, Dobbs, O’Reilly, Cowherd mindset of fear mongering hate – which has promoted violence and division during the health care debate – is now influencing sports coverage as well. A certain four letter sports network and ignorant talk show hosts around the country are now pushing an agenda that will do more to endanger the cause of animal rights than anything Vick plead guilty to.
What Vick did was brutal, dishonest, and despicable but he did pay the ultimate price. He lost 23 months of freedom and $135 million in salary and endorsements. The time lost in NFL playing years was astronomical and his reputation has been tainted forever. However, the reaction to his return has been even worse.
Last weekend, while surfing the radio dial, the refrain was the same unless the talk show host was a Philly-bred Eagle fan on local and national programs. Vick doesn’t deserve a second chance because dog fighting is the gateway crime. Let the masse of uniformed prognosticators tell it, sense Vick masterminded a K-9 killing enterprise he is on a fast track to becoming Charles Manson. From that bully pulpit came the same kind of nonsense that has led to swastikas being sprayed on Congressman David Scott’s office in Georgia or defacing Ben Cardin’s in Maryland.
A teacher, one who is charged with molding young minds, used the comparison that if she was convicted of a DUI that she could never teach again and that Vick’s crime warrants him not getting a chance to play in the NFL again. That kind of logic explains the problems with the education system in America – this educator got left behind.
A felonious caller, who admitted that he was peddling drugs while working in the medical industry, lamented that he could no longer vote or work in that field after his conviction so why give Vick another chance. But who is a greater risk to society, the relapse of a dog fighter or someone who looks at a medicine cabinet as a candy store?
This kind of belligerence is fueled by uniformed, inexperienced, fraternity guys and girls who live behind picket fences with swings on their porches and get a platform to incite hate over the airwaves. Vick’s saga should be a teaching moment where society comes to grip with an element of dysfunction that continues in rural parts of the country crossing color lines. Instead it has become an extension of the divide between people in America where constructive debate is offset by extremist hate.
Why can’t we all get along…this is why!!