Due to an internship on a political campaign that I was lucky enough to be involved with this summer, I experienced a rather lengthy absence from the blog (this was due in large part to the rules of the campaign.) Anyway, now that I'm back, I'd like to comment on what has become known as the "Michael Vick Scandal."
Now I don't condone dog fighting, in fact, the idea of pinning two dogs in a ring and making them attack each other strikes me as rather bizarre. Yet I wonder if the whole to-do around the Vick case isn't a little bit of an over reaction (or at least a misappropriation of our time as concerned citizens and sports fans.)
I am pleasantly surprised when I come across an article that points out the hypocrisy in condemning Vick when so many athletes commit far worse crimes against their own family members and simply get a "slap on the wrist" as their punishment. As my good friend Mike Bianchi from the Orlando Sentinel noted, "If only Michael Vick had been arrested for abusing women instead of dogs. He'd still be on the football field today. He'd still have the love and adoration of his fans. And, yes, he'd still have his Nike deal." Bianchi backs up his point rather well, pointing out that on the Tampa Bay Bucs alone, there are two players who have been arrested on domestic violence charges (one player, Michael Pittman, has been arrested four times on such charges, and his wife insisted many of his abusive streaks went unrecognized by the law.) So what was Pittman's punishment? Surely if Vick is told to stay away from training camp (and rumors now say that he will be suspended for the year) for allegedly dog fighting, Pittman must be banned for life, right? Wrong. Pittman served a three game suspension from the league for his latest arrest. Well, okay, so he couldn't have done something as bad as Vick, right? Wrong again. Pittman intentionally slammed his Hummer into a car carrying his wife and toddler. Good guy.
The astounding part about the whole incident with Vick is this: he hasn't been convicted of anything! Now he will probably agree to a plea deal today, and yes, he is probably guilty. But for the NFL to get on its moral high horse about Vick when they have for so long looked the other way when their players commit far worse crimes is ridiculous.
Of course the NFL has to look out for its best interests, so when a player commits a crime that hurts its shiny image, I don't blame them for covering their behinds. I only wish that spousal abuse by a "role model" was something that hurt the league's image.
Let's review, dog fighting=bad, spousal abuse=worse.