Monday, August 27, 2007

Michael Vick

I haven't been keeping up "officially" with the Michael Vick case beyond updates I see on the news/internet or flipping by ESPN. I do not know all the details. My opinion is torn; I've talked to some guys around here and they are angry about the case for a number of reasons:
1) They believe what's happening to Vick is sparked, in no small part, by racism.
2) They see the situation as proof that "white people care more about their damn dogs than they do other people." Relatedly, I also hear, "They don't care about us when our asses are getting banged up playing football and boxing in front of them."
3) They can't believe Vick is on the verge of going to jail for something they see as a non-serious offense.
4) They believe the men who led the police to Vick are snitches who should've protected the one who "made it out."

On the other hand, as a rural southerner, I have seen the effects of dogfighting--the dogs who are scarred, with ribs showing, who are simultaneously deathly afraid and menacing. I hate it, hate it, hate it. We were raised to love dogs, to take in strays, to treat them with respect. After seeing one man's dogs in my hometown, I was so sickened, I contemplated calling the police. In the end, I didn't--not because I was particularly worried about being labeled a snitch, but because I was afraid he'd go to jail, lose his job, and that would plummet his wife and son into a bad situation.

When he and some other people I know were finally caught, they were at a dogfight at which they were tossing animals that were killed or badly injured into a pit and moving on to the next fight. Vivian (formerly know as best friend Louisiana), was particularly sickened by the fact that the dog owners were having a barbecue at the same time. I remember her saying something to the effect of, "Girl, they were grilling meat while dogs were being thrown around and dying right next to them." The guys that I knew received a slap on the wrist.

So yeah, dogfighting is one of those things for which I have little toleration. While it may be part of some rural (not necessarily black as I've heard some people say) cultures, I don't think it's defensible. No one should get away with such cruel, horrific behavior. The adjectives I hear bandied about--abhorrent, reprehensible, disgusting are all, in my opinion, valid.

But the last I heard, Vick might face state charges as well as federal. I don't know about that.

And I am more than a little disturbed that people can at once dismiss racism while watching white women (as I've seen on news coverage) hold up signs that say "Neuter Michael Vick." (You should read Kym Platt here on this.) Apparently, there are whole t-shirt/bumper sticker/mug enterprises devoted to this slogan--a fact that I find abhorrent, reprehensible, and disgusting as well.


Anonymous said...

i totally see what you mean. dogfighting and any animal fighting is reprehensible. but why don't people get all pissed and stuff when women get raped by sports stars or when i don't know, children in sudan are suffering through genocide.

Kimberly said...

Exactly justme! I have no sympathy for Michael Vick in terms of his getting caught for running something he knew was illegal on his property. It's almost as if he thought that he was invincible - as many star athletes do. And I find what he's accused of doing to the dogs disgusting. HOWEVER, I also find it disgusting that he is being villafied worse than many who have raped/murdered human beings. I don't understand why this has taken over the news when issues like Jena 6, Sudan, hell even the real deal on Iraq are glazed over or not addressed at all. He should be held accountable for his actions, but all this talk of banning him from the NFL when I know many other players have beaten their wives/kids and are still playing.......that's just ridiculous.

As a side, I can't help but wonder if America's reaction would be so repulsed if Tom Brady had been caught doing it instead of Michael Vick. Maybe that's just my own mistrust....but I wonder....


Kate said...

I couldn't agree more, with all of you. I was told the NAACP made a smart comparison to all the white sports stars who go hunting and kill animals for fun in their off time (though I haven't read the statement myself). While I find dogfighting horrible (and my family in the last year has adopted two rescued dogs from Tennessee, at least one of which I suspect may have been involved with dogfighting), and Vick's original attitude about it disturbing and disappointing, I find the attitudes of people around sports stars who are accused of harassment and rape even worse.

Kismet.4 said...

I'm so glad you posted this because it really put into words what I was thinking but couldn't figure out how to say. And I wonder if there is something to the black male masculinity conventions, etc. that makes the issue so prevalent to them--not just race, but the "no snitching" code, the dogs aren't better than humans, etc. Because I'v eheard a lot of men say that, while women express sentiments more along the lines of your post...

I dunno, but that's a great post. Thanks.

elle said...

y'all check out this post by litbrit:

misscripchick said...

there are so many things that i will never understand, especially how people can be entertained by another person's pain or destruction (whether it's roman era entertainment, dog fighting, reality tv). i don't think that's what the human spirit really wants.

so for some shameless self promotoing---i really hope you consider joining our blog campaign against the MDA Labor Day telethon this year. it's so ableist and i think bloggers could make a difference. to find out more please visit (again sorry, for posting here instead of email but time is running out and i wanted to get the message to you.)

The Culturologist said...

"why don't people get all pissed and stuff when women get raped by sports stars ?"

Yeah, I never hear any outrage over this. Athletes who have raped or killed women are celebrated in the streets as heroes--like Rae Carruth or O. J. Simpson.

Or maybe you mean why don't people stay pissed at athletes who have been accused of rape when it becomes clear that the 'raped' woman is a LIAR and no rape occurred (e.g., Kobe Bryant case, Duke lacrosse case)?

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...