Michael Vick, Dogs and Race

The whole sad saga over NFL quarterback Michael Vick is made even sadder by the “racial” and ethnic divisions over how people are responding to it. It is all so reminscent of the OJ verdict and how the country divided along ethnic lines in their reaction to his acquittal in the criminal trial. I have seen and read reports lately that show once again, whites are overwhelmingly negative in their response and view of Vick, while blacks and hispanics either support him or take a wait and see approach. Again, this goes to show that our views of the world and justice are still colored by our skin tones and our experience of life from within that perspective.

Dog fighting, and the horrible allegations leveled at Vick, is truly sickening and anyone involved in it should indeed be osracized from civilized society as well as paying the price of criminal punishment. And I do understand all those who have judged Vick guilty already. The reports are so overwhelming. So it does seem like he is guilty.

But therein lies where I, like many of the other people of color and others who withhold their judgement, focus our attention. He SEEMS guilty but until he has had his day in court, we believe we have to hold full judgement. I think minorities simply have experienced too much of a rush to judgement used against us to easily fall into that trap and do the same. And ironically, though the judicial system has not historically been on our side, we do believe he deserves a chance to defend himself before the media and leaks decide Vick’s future. Even in the case of white athletes, the Duke lacrosee players, we have seen how a rush to judgement can be wrong.

By the way, I do agree with Vick not playing this year, at least until this matter is resolved. But that is only because it will be impossible for his team to focus with such a distraction going on around them. It is fair to the team and the sport. But I also say, give Vick a chance to answer the charges before he his life is ruined. So it seems, when it comes to the justice system, or how quickly someone is assumed innocent or guilty, unfortunately race still does matter.


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