Culture Won’t Change Because You Have Athletes Who Really Believe Vick Was In The Right

By Gregory Moore
Updated: August 22, 2007

SAN ANTONIO — “I think we don’t say anything about people who shoot deer or shoot other animals. You know, from what I understand, dog fighting is a sport. It’s just behind closed doors.”

Well doesn’t this just sit well with all of us today? Stephon Marbury has decided to weigh in on the Michael Vick issue. Just what we all needed to hear; Starbury’s voice on a social issue. Hey, Stephon has anyone told you that you might want to make sure you clear your statements with your publicist first?

Seriously admitting that you are an ignoramus who bounces a basketball for a living has just set back every pro athlete of your profession who is articulate, thought provoking and socially conscious about his or her surroundings.

I shouldn’t be surprised that Starbury has this kind of thought process floating in his head. After all we are talking about a guy who would flash thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry at a traffic light and expect to NOT get robbed in broad daylight. Nope, I can’t say that he is the brightest light bulb in the room. He’s special; especially dimwitted on the social climate. But then again what else is new from most of the athletes who think that Vick has done nothing wrong.

Like their fan counterparts, these individuals think that what Vick was doing was a normal act. Gee does that mean that with Jeffrey Dahlmer freezing human heads in his freezer was a normal way of preserving cheese or something? The sad thing is that there is a precedence of athletes saying dumb things on subjects like this. For example, Roy Jones, Jr. decided to weigh in on the Vick situation as well.

When quoted in a New York Newsday article, Jones Jr. stated, “People tend to talk so hard against people. They make it such a bad thing, like dog fighting is worse than killing someone.”

No, Roy it’s not worse than killing a human but executing a dog because it didn’t win the fight is just high. But then again why should Roy’s words be any different than that of a Clinton Portis’ or Starbury’s? Their not and that is because Roy believes in animals fighting. His favorite pastime? Cock fighting.

Yes I said cockfighting and Jones, Jr. loves it big time. He loves it so much that he has often bragged about his prize roosters. And if he or any of his supporters think I am making this up, then explain what Terry “Hulk” Hogan wrote to him on April 6, 2005.

In the letter , Hogan wrote: “How does someone who once captured the WBA heavyweight boxing title of the world end-up fighting birds? Cockfighting is cruel. It’s not a sport. And it’s not something a champion like you should be involved in.”

Jones Jr. was into cock fighting and he went to Louisiana to do so. That’s really a sad case of affairs for a multi-millionaire and it shows the depravity that many professional athletes think is a “normal” cycle of life. It is also the very reason why I really believe that there should be some type of life lesson seminar outside of what these guys get from their future leagues who will employ them. But what is worse is to have organizations try to now tell league commissioners how to handle these employees.

As I am writing this, I took a quick break to do an almost weekly appearance on one of the numerous radio programs that I do. As I told the show host when he asked me what stance do you think the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP should take in regards to Vick playing again in the NFL. Here is what I told him: “If Mr. (R.L.) White or anyone in Atlanta who is affiliated with the NAACP hears my voice, you need to stay the hell out of this debate.”

I said that for one simple reason: since when did the NFL say that any organization can tell it what it can and cannot do in the disciplinary actions it takes on a player in its employment? It hasn’t and it never will. What Mr. White and others are doing is enabling the very community it says it serves by saying that a man like Vick should be allowed to entertain the fans once his time is served.

I’m sorry you want the NFL to do what? Allow a convicted felon to be in their employment and represent them as a player after he has just served a sentence for being involved in one of the most egregious acts known to mankind?

In all honesty I think Mr. White and anyone who thinks Vick deserves another shot at the NFL is missing the point. Playing in the NFL is a privilege. It’s an honor. It’s not a given right or mandate.

It is also a private business that has a set of rules and regulations that supersede those of the outside world. While the league and other leagues may go out of their way to be as diversified as possible, internal reprimanding. That is what Mr. White and others are trying to influence and they are overstepping their bounds.

This also brings me to another athlete and why the NAACP did not step up and pressure the league to stop Leonard Little from playing in the league a few years ago. Maybe Mr. White and others don’t remember the case and if not one of the stories can be found in BASN’s archives . You can also read my own op/ed about why Little should have been banned from the NFL as well . Where were Mr. White and those others who think Vick should be given a second chance when Little was found guilty of manslaughter and a young lady who was a mother and a wife died?

Where were they when Little decided to drive again while drunk? Where are these individuals when these athletes are out of control and are harming themselves and others? The answer is that they are nowhere to be found because that is not their interests. So why is Mr. White and the local NAACP interested in Vick’s welfare with the league? Would he hire him as a spokesperson? Maybe if the NAACP or SCLC did do such a maneuver many of us would take their stance on this issue more seriously. But we can’t do that because we all know that these organizations would not dare hire Vick as a spokesperson; the public relations nightmare would be enormous.

Truth be told, every single organization who thinks they have a vested interest in Michael Vick should just put a lid on their comments because the time for them to speak out isn’t now; it was back way before his federal indictment came down.

They all need to really do an inventory on their stance on this issue and ask themselves do they really believe they are doing their organizations a service by speaking on a situation that is so late in the game.

All of this is a part of why so many athletes may still be caught up in the culture that we are finding ourselves in. To so many who think this is nothing more than one culture expressing itself, it’s a travesty that you would pick one of the most barbaric non-customs and associate it with such a proud heritage.

However nobody who is Black should be getting mad for that assessment. Over the decades and generations we have allowed ourselves to be portrayed as such. I’ve stated that for a while too and it seems to fall on some deaf ears. But it is especially troubling that we have athletes like a Roy Jones, Jr. or a Stephon Marbury who firmly believe that they are living a “righteous life” with their beliefs in partaking in such illegal activities.

We, as a society, expect a lot more from our athletes and it really is time that they start giving back. They can start by really being the responsible citizens we all want them to be. Being a firm believer in fighting animals does not bode well for any athlete and if he is that ignorant as to believe that such practice is okay, then he deserves the same public humiliation that Michael Vick is getting right now.