Michael Vick deserves less attention

Marchae Grair

The NAACP should expect a mainstream backlash after announcing it supports Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Michael Vick staying in the NFL after his trial.

Vick pled guilty to charges of dogfighting. The athlete and three co-defendants trained pit bulls to kill each other and violently killed dogs that lost in fights by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gun shot, electrocution and other methods, according to cbsnews.com.

Vick’s future in the NFL is ruined, the media have christened him their new villain and throngs of petitions and Web postings call for punishing him to the highest extent.

Groups such as the NAACP, which support this troubled athlete, are seen as nonsensical, and to most, Vick’s expulsion from the NFL and lengthy jail sentence would be good ol’ American justice.

I am already annoyed by those who claim the NAACP will stand behind any black person in distress, no matter what he or she does.

If there is one thing for which the NAACP will stand, it is for fairness, whether that means defending or denouncing a person or organization.

Frankly, the American media’s massacre of Michael Vick is anything but fair. Obviously dogfighting is wrong, and harming animals in such a heinous way is disgusting.

Unfortunately, Vick is not just being punished for dogfighting.

He’s being punished for being a successful athlete who made a mistake.

Everyone knows athletes aren’t real people. Their million-dollar salaries and having their names imprinted on $100 dollar jerseys make them immortal. Their lives, on the field and off, are expected to raise our children, dictate public standards and represent American culture as an entirety.

Maybe the insane power the public gives athletes is the initial problem Vick’s case should bring to light.

The men or women who step on a court or field to entertain excited fans are not George W. Bush or Dick Cheney — or Condoleezza Rice.

Maybe the real problem is most Americans couldn’t tell you what Condoleezza Rice does, but could give you Vick’s life history.

This nation has a tendency to place its moral expectations on those who make the most money and draw the most attention. Society has reached a point where there is no differentiation between the value of Vick’s trial and the scandals polluting Washington, D.C.

Vick should be punished for his crime, though not because he’s excellent at football. If he is sent to prison or if he gets two years probation, then he will pay his debt to society. The NFL doesn’t need to “match” the punishment he receives in the courts; the organization needs to think for itself.

Why do I have any sympathy for a killer?

There have been numerous players in the NFL who have beaten women and received no media attention at all. Athletes have affairs and get caught with drugs. Why do the media want to tarnish Vick’s image more than any other delinquent?

The same people who call for Vick’s crucifixion today will probably eat meat from an animal that’s been tortured tomorrow. A person’s trial should not be based on a media trend.

The American public should have been as passionate about the 2004 election as it is about this dog case.

I forgot. George W. Bush can’t throw a football.

Marchae Grair is a sophomore journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].