Another Side Of Michael

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: August 28, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (BASN) — Last week, Michael Vick donned a Philadelphia Eagles uniform with the number 7. This will be the fourth time number seven will be on the field in Philly green.

Ron Jaworski (1977-1986) who could care less if Vick wears the number while part-time Eagle punter Sean Landeta (1999-2002) & (2005) threw a hissy fit that Vick will be wearing the number 7.

In a weak attempt at satire, a recently written column shows Lendeta’s ego getting in the way, stating that “I have two rings, how many rings does Vick have?, zero.”

Lastly, Jeff Garcia (2006) who also wore the number, is now with the Oakland Raiders. Why did he not speak up when Garcia took the number three years ago? Landeta’s rant shows the anger that many white Americans are emitting towards Michael Vick, but they are all missing the point.

It’s not about dogs, it’s about gambling in the United States by professional athletes and that these athletes cannot be linked to the underworld of gambling. It would undermine the game. This is why Vick had to pay and he paid a heavy price.

Mr. Vick has come a long way from Federal Prison.

Vick has lost two years of playing football, lost millions of dollars and the chance to support his family. He’s lost two years of being with his family and friends, lost two years of being with his fiancée and will lose the right to vote again.

Vick has lost his privacy because he will be under the eyes of the federal government serving a two more year probation. These are things that he will never be able to get back.

Being behind bars will change a man. That also happens to many individuals. Now the questions are, will Michael Vick become a better man and will he be a true asset to American society? Can he stop other young African American men from walking down this dark path of destruction?

The week after his release, Vick had many interviews, including one with “CBS’s 60 Minutes.” Vick was truthful and honest. He cited that when he was eight years old, he watched adults in his neighborhood attend dog fights and the local police would ride by.

Vick stated in his heart that it was wrong but the people around him were in the business of dog fighting.

Just like in my hometown in South Central Jersey, everybody knew that certain individuals were number runners who were never arrested. So, was it legal or not? Was it condoned by the city residents or not?

This sends a message to young impressionable Black males that they can get involved in this kind of misbehavior and criminal activity if not supervised by parents or guardians.

Black males do these acts because the African American community has turned their back on them, and white America could care less. If young Black males can’t make them laugh, play sports, or entertain them white America turns their back also.

They will or can go astray not knowing any better without proper guidance.

Immediately following the announcement that Mr. Vick had signed with the Green Birds (Eagles), all of the haters and so called dog lovers came out of the woodwork with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) not far behind.

This event not only happened in the South Philadelphia and South Jersey area but all over the country. Sports talk radio could not put enough time on the Vick signing, Boston WBZ, San Francisco KNBR, Los Angeles KTLK, New York-WFAN, Chicago- WMVP, Washington-Baltimore WBBM, Minneapolis-Saint Paul-KFAN, and St. Louis-KMOX.

Not a single sports radio station mentioned the word gambling, not even the mighty MOUSE-a.k.a. ESPN.

Typical Eagles fans in the way they treat their Black players, a long painful history in Philadelphia with African American ball players and Vick just continues this legacy.

If Vick wins, Philly fan will forget and cheer him and that’s the hypocrisy of sports. This is not the first time nor will it be the last time a football player has broken the law.

The football field is littered with other football players that have run afoul with the law. These players have not paid the price that Vick paid and some of these famous players were involved in incidents that caused death.

Now think about this, Tony Dungy — Super Bowl Champion head coach and a man of God — helped Vick immediately. Dungy got Vick to put God back into his life, something that had been missing for many years.

This is something that older African Americans should do, guide these young men with their knowledge, wisdom, and experience.

The African American Community has lost elder leadership through integration. Now African Americans are so busy trying to make it, trying to be like our white brothers and sisters, be like THE MAN. African Americans will always be different and will always be Black.

The National Football League listened to Tony Dungy and let Vick return to football. Coach Dungy was the voice of reason. If America is truly a God fearing nation which it has been claiming over the last 250 years.

America will have the heart and mind to forgive this young man for this terrible mistake in his young life. For some Americans this will be very difficult or impossible to do because Americans love dogs more than African American males.

Eagles starting quarterback Donovan McNabb welcomed Vick with open arms. So what are you yelling about Philly Fan? Now you have a real back up quarterback.

Is this not what you wanted all along? Vick vastly improves the Eagle offense with a mobile quarterback, something McNabb is losing naturally with age.

Eagle fan, look at Vick’s career statistics. He is still one of the premier quarterbacks in the league. Please read the article on BASN written by my colleague Michael-Louis Ingram, “More Damn Lies & Statistics ” – Michael Vick versus the best of the NFL’s Best, Mr. Ingram makes it clear that Michael Vick is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and cannot be kept out of the game.

One thing that troubles the sports world is the lack of information on the gambling aspects of Dog Fighting. ESPN and other sports networks have ignored this fact or are they hiding these facts. Another hidden fact that many want to ignore is that other players are involved in this so called sport.

The real issue here is not about dog fighting – it’s about gambling. No professional sport will put up with that kind of behavior. That is why Vick had to pay such a heavy price, plus Vick’s stubbornness in negotiating for a lighter sentence.

Again Vick was thinking that I’m greater than the forces around me and I will overcome this trouble. I’m superman – WRONG ANSWER !!!!

” Roger Goodell has been masterful in his statements since becoming (NFL) National Football League Commissioner. It’s very questionable that the NFL, the most well-oiled machine in professional sports, would put out something so greasy. No question the gambling aspect compounds Vick’s problems, but this is not a rock/paper/scissors game — where gambling smashes dog killing.

Dog killing is despicable. Illegal sports gambling by NFL players is prohibited — so the NFL will factor in the gambling element when it comes to determining Michael Vick’s fate as a football player. But Vick will always be remembered as — and pay the steepest price for — killing dogs,” writes Marc Isenburg.

That is why Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, and Willie Mays were forced out of the game of baseball. Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter, Paul Horning and Alex Karras, Joe Namath, pro football players that had to pay the price with suspensions and fines.

In professional basketball Connie Hawkins had to pay a price for gambling, but the price was not as heavy as Michael Vick’s.

Vick became the poster boy for gambling and dog fighting, just as O.J. Simpson became the poster boy for wife abuse, Michael Jackson for child abuse, Barry Bonds for steroid use and Plaxico Burris for national gun control.

The Black male is a convenient scapegoat for America and its social ills. America pays attention when a Black male face is attached.

Vick tugged at the heart strings of Middle America and Middle America wanted blood.

In pro sports, gamble you lose, no matter what game you’re gambling on, and Mike Vick has paid the ultimate price, Federal Jail time and the loss of two years of playing in the National Football League.

The Michael Vick legal scenario opened a can of worms that the NFL, NCAA, NBA, MLB, and NHL do not want to discuss in public.

CA-CHING, CA-CHING, CA-CHING for those of you that don’t know that is the sound of money at the cash register and all of professional sports know it.