Friday, August 31, 2007
Forced to perform in a 'sporting' endeavor against good judgment and without fair and considerate treatment.
Blood and injuries common.
A death rate that is astounding when extrapolated in comparison to other sports.
After this Michael Vick fiasco, one would assume that anyone engaging dogs in 'sports' that lead to death, abusive conditions and down right unnatural cruelty would be under the close scrutiny of the Federal Government.
But are they?
After fighting dogs, one would be hard pressed to find a more viciously malevolent canine centric 'sport' than sled racing. Particularly, the famed Alaskan sled marathon, the Iditarod.
The death rate of about 2.9 per 1000 is staggering when thought about. Imagine if the NY or Boston marathons exhibited similar death rates with their tens of thousands of runners! Body bags would litter the course.
But for dogs on the frozen tundra, running for the glory of their heroic 'musher' is part of the 'culture'.
Predominantly white trainers routinely force their dogs past the point of comfort. Using various drugs to chase the pain from the weakened canine bodies, and forcing the animals to face temperatures which are threatening to the heartiest of beasts.
How can this be?
How can participants in one cruel and vicious 'dog sport' be sent off to jail and demonized, while others do fantastic and unimaginable damage to their dogs and are glorified and given endorsement money? How are the organizer able to raise millions of dollars in sponsor money while the sledders beat and damage the dogs through grueling and inhumane conditions?
A half dozen or so men recently were indicted by the Federal Government for dog fighting and dog abuse charges in rural Virginia. Men of backwoods, Negro decent.
While this group of men was forced to play judicial games of prosecutorial uncertainty in an effort to ensure that they would all fear for their futures and say anything the government wanted, another group annually gets together to compete for prize money and sponsorships. This group is predominantly white.
We certainly would never profess the presence of any racial bias in the perception and handling of these events.
Clearly, when white folks want to play with their dogs in the snow, it's wholesome good fun.
And, according to this lady, it's a boon for veterinary research:
"This is the pinnacle of (canine) science," Mallie King says. "In 1996, he won the 'Golden Stethoscope' award for being the best trail vet. These dogs love to do this. Doesn't your dog go in the back yard and chase squirrels? This is how God provided for people who lived in the Arctic. These dogs are not dying from abuse. God didn't mean for dogs to outlive us."
Can you imagine the outcry's if Michael Vick had said during his apology, "Hey, dogs like to play fight, they have a natural instinct to fight and defend. I was just feeding that fire and letting them live the way God originally intended. I found Jesus. And he don't want dogs outliving me."
But, when 'respected' white folks say things like that while they are standing out in the snow while a maniac with what is essentially a whip is forcing dogs tethered to a 400 lb sled to run as fast as they can in sub zero temperatures on frozen snow; we call it a traditional sport.
Law enforcement and the media suggest that one of the reasons they have made such a huge story and case out of Michael Vick is to help get the word out on animal cruelty and some of the underground inhumane events that are being perpetrated out there. They want people to be aware that if they are using and treating animals in ghastly and despicable ways, that they risk incarceration.
We can get behind that.
Now, we suggest that law enforcement - instead of burning tax payer dollars on the resources it takes to conduct these underground investigations - look right in the open.
If you want to make an impact on the treatment of animals, arrest the next musher that causes the death of a dog he is 'racing'.
Shutting down the Iditarod would say more for the government's seriousness on animal rights than incarcerating Michael Vick ever could.
But then again, all that snow on the ground makes Alaska a pretty white state.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Recently, we demanded that Eagles' coach Andy Reid be relieved of duty for a period of time. We felt that the crimes filed against his immature, reckless and civilly bankrupt sons warranted a scolding from the league. Our reasoning: That as young adults who reside under and rely on Reid's care for existance, he was responsible for ensuring that they don't offend society and sully the good name of the NFL and the Eagles.
Seems more than logical. More than reasonable. And certainly righteous.
We believe, that in principle, few would disagree.
Never did we suppose that Reid was in violation of the law. But, we did believe that Reid might be in violation of the NFL conduct policy.
Well, a recent pronouncement by the NFL on another individual's off field circumstances shed light on the matter of Reid and his children's crime spree.
Broncos running back Travis Henry's child support judgments might expose him to catcalls across the league this season, but they don't put him in line for disciplinary action by the NFL.
Certainly, few would argue this.
Is it fair to hold Henry's poor decisions in having so many children against him? Do we suspend Henry because near a dozen women have set him up and used his innate male genetic qualities against him for financial gain?
The league has clamped down on off-field misbehavior under Commissioner Roger Goodell. But the new personal conduct policy "generally covers criminal violations, not civil matters" such as Henry's, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
And there it is.
We are more than willing to interpret Reid's circumstances the same way.
While we still advocate for his children, and believe that the righteous course would be to step away and give them the support they need so they don't become the typical privileged white child stereotype; we also believe that the NFL is under no commitment to force him to do so.
So, while his children face their cases and possible jail time, we hope the Eagles are well prepared for their season opener.
And, we hope Travis Henry gets a raise so he can provide for all those children he was bamboozled into spawning.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Specifically, we have just read a column on Yahoo Sports written by NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski about USA basketball leader Jerry Colangelo.
Colangelo was the insider's insider in the NBA, as powerful and connected of a figure as any that worked in the game. He could get people together and get things done in the league. With failure after failure for USA Basketball, it finally did away the cumbersome, politically driven selection committees. Less than a year after the bronze medal in Athens, Colangelo was hired to run everything. "Total autonomy" is how he describes it, and truth be told, that thrusts him onto the firing line like no one before him.
Wojnarowski goes on to detail Colangelo's motivation and influences in his new role. And some of the steps he has taken to try to engage success.
So now, a beleaguered basketball power has entrusted him with the biggest burden of all in America. However it goes, they'll know where to find Jerry Colangelo: Knee-deep in it all.
That is a key word here.
Colangelo has been given the mandate to push USA hoops back to the top. There is no second place. There is only the gold medal in Beijing. Anything else equates to failure.
Sometimes, successful men are faced with reputation making and breaking situations. The opportunity to succeed requires courage. Courage is not fearlessness. Courage is the ability to - in spite of the presence of fear - effectively perform the task at hand.
Unfortunately, we believe that Colangelo's most important maneuver as the head of USA hoops showed a lack of courage.
Colangelo chose to dance with the devil. Entrusting the near future of USA basketball to the boney, dusty hands of satan on earth. Colangelo sold his soul and future success.
Great pressure can lead to great opportunity. It can also lead to great temptation, false promises and eventually wounds so deep that the bleeding does not stop for decades.
Right now, USA hoops has a paper cut.
But the flow of blood has begun.
Renowned for draining the drive, skill and desire from the hearts of his college players; Coach Kryshevskilewski has been given the keys to the Olympic squad. Now, he is given the opportunity to ravage the best the NBA has to offer.
In an effort to win gold, Colangelo and USA hoops may very well be signing away the soul of the NBA.
Of the hundreds of players that have been shanghaied into the Duke basketball program, we can count on one hand the number that have had meaningful and lasting success once released from their indentured servitude in Dukeatory.
We can count nearly endlessly the players that performed on a high level while there, and then were shown to be apparitions when they arrived to the bright lights, big cities of the NBA.
Exposing the top NBA players to satan on the court for such a lengthy period jeopardizes the future of the NBA. Will these players be able to regain their former athleticism and skill after spending significant time with Kryshevskadinski? Will they have the will to succeed upon their return to the NBA? Will they even want to play basketball again?
Jerry Colangelo is a man with a track record of success. He was the architect of a wonderful program in Phoenix. He did things the right way.
Unfortunately, it seems the pressure of holding the responsibility for USA Basketball in his hands overcame him. Putting the team under the 'tutelage' of Coach Kryshevskwizki can only have two outcomes. Neither is positive.
USA hoops continues it's streak of futility. Or, the USA wins the Gold and satan is hailed as the savior of basketball in America.
We should all be praying together. Praying for the re-emergence of a back injury.
Jerry Colangelo has signed away the soul of USA Basketball.
Under terms of his plea agreement, Vick has to pay for all the costs associated with the 53 dogs living on his property and now being housed at a Virginia animal shelter. If the dogs are euthanized (most, if not all, have been trained in a manner that they cannot be house pets), Vick will have to pay for the cost of putting them to sleep.
But, isn't Vick going to jail for financing an operation that caused the deaths of dogs?
Now he is being 'punished' by financing an operation that will cause the deaths of dogs?
American Justice...it's FANTASTIC!
Our research clearly divulged that the ultimate winner in all this was Falcons' coach, Bobby Petrino.
And now, it seems, once again...the main stream media is a day late and a dollar short in jumping on the NOIS bandwagon.
From The LA Times:
There is evidence that the Falcons believed in Vick. They apparently felt good enough about him to trade talented backup Matt Schaub to Houston, and, of course, owner Arthur Blank delivered on that long contract extension. But sources around the league also say the franchise was already mulling the possibility of life without Vick -- even before his legal entanglements.
Really? So, possibly Vick's development thus far demonstrated - as we previously and investigatively reported - that he might be a square peg for the round hole that is Petrino's offense.
Although he was an incredibly gifted runner, one who could escape waves of defenders, Vick was nowhere near the quarterback many people thought he might become. There were persistent rumors that Petrino wanted to give Vick one season to prove how well he could run the offense, then make a decision whether to keep him or move in another direction.
Petrino was cool toward Vick from day one. Despite the giant contract and incredible physical talents, Vick was never the QB that Petrino envisioned running his offense.
However, despite all this.
Vick's dismissal from the game will make him the perfect scapegoat should Petrino's offense falter this season.
Coach Petrino hasn't been dealt a great hand this season. But, as far as things go, at the very least he has himself a push.
This season will be easy to write off.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Mr. Vick clearly admitted today to killing dogs. OK, OK..you say (he says) he participated in a small group collectively responsible for the death of six to eight dogs. You might claim we are arguing semantics, but I say that is killing dogs.
But what does 'collective' effort mean in this case?
The sensible read - based on the government's acceptance of the plea and not forcing Vick to clearly say he physically killed any dogs - is that in this case Vick's contribution to the collective effort in killing the dogs was providing the property and means.
Clearly, if Vick had done any damage with his own two hands, our government prosecutors would have demanded full accountability.
So, most legal experts agree that the wording of the plea is an indication that Vick is admitting that he provided the land on which the killings took place, payed for the electricity to electrocute them and payed for the water to drown them.
As this case winds down it becomes clear in the language of the plea that Vick's guilt was not so much of being an active and physical participant. But rather, that he had a knowledge of and - through his silence - supported the operation.
Now, Mr. Vick must pay for his lack of vigilance in the upkeep of his property. And he will spend some time contemplating the company he keeps.
Hopefully, Vick learns what is unquestionably the most important lesson here:
Friendships without loyalty are no friendships at all.
Let's all take the harsh lesson Mr. Vick has learned to heart.
Another view on Andy Reid.
In fact, the highly respected sports blog The Nation of Islam has suggested that Roger Goodell suspend Andy Reid before anything worse happens:
“The time has come for Mr. Reid to either voluntarily, or through the invocation of the conduct policy, step away from the game and get his household in order. It’s time for Andy Reid to follow the example set by Michael Vick.”
The crux of the NOIS blog is that Reid’s children — even though they’re technically young men — are causing enough of a disturbance that Goodell needs to hold Reid accountable to the same personal responsibility policies he demands of NFL players. As a policy argument, it’s a total reach, but the message is still the same: Andy Reid needs to take some real time away from professional football and the Philadelphia Eagles for 2007. We’ll know soon enough.
The length of righteousness knows no limits.
ed.- WOW. It was brought to our attention that the excerpt we cut and pasted, which included "highly respected sports blog The Nation of Islam"...has been changed. Now the piece says "one sports blog The NOIS".....if you look at the comments there, you will see references to how the piece originally appeared. Apparently, Dave the Wave has some real pull.
The government seems ready to accept his plea and sentence him.
The next step is helping Michael understand what led to this and helping him develop the skills to ensure that his reintegration into society after his institutionalization is well supported.
We anxiously await the 2009 football season.
And watching Michael electrify (not electrocute) the crowds in Canada.
Of course the man (who, reportedly, has never had a true father-son relationship with Vick) claims he tried and tried to get Michael to give it up. And that he nursed the dogs back to health. The man is a saint.
In The Journal-Constitution report posted on the newspaper's Web site Thursday night, Michael Boddie, who is estranged from Vick and the quarterback's mother, also said some time around 2001 his son staged dogfights in the garage of the family home in Newport News, Va. Boddie told the newspaper Vick kept fighting dogs in the family's backyard, including dogs that were "bit up, chewed up, exhausted." Boddie claimed to have nursed the dogs back to health.
Mr. Boddie continued:
"I wish people would stop sugarcoating it," Boddie told The Journal-Constitution. "This is Mike's thing. And he knows it ... likes it, and he has the capital to have a setup like that."
Makes Vick sound very bad. Very bad indeed. Of course, a huge detail is lost in the hard hitting paternal allegations.
Mr. Boddie had recently been demanding money from Michael. And lots of it.
In the report, Boddie also said he asked Vick for $1 million, spread out over 12 years. Vick declined, the father said. Recently, Boddie asked Vick, through an assistant, for $700,000 to live on.
Out of the goodness of his heart, Michael had been paying the rent on Mr. Boddie's apartment for the last several years and supplying him with spending money. But, clearly, that wasn't enough.
And, now, after being denied in his demands for big money to live on, Mr. Boddie seems to have decided to exact his revenge.
So, let's take the angry accusations of a man not willing to work to support himself with a grain of salt.
A man that has fit the definition of father for Mr. Vick strictly at his own convenience over the years.
Let's not sugar coat it.
Demanding handouts and then angrily spreading possible misinformation may well be Mr. Boddie's thing.
And he knows it.
The NFL is on a quest to hold its players accountable and responsible for their off field behavior. Part of an effort to rehabilitate the league's image. To send a message to the public that those associated with the NFL are good, responsible people.
All that seems fair and advisable.
Players who have failed to meet the expectations of the league's behavioral demands are being routinely suspended and fined. Again, seems fair. The league must punish those that don't conform to their expectations.
The mantra has been responsibility. Accountability.
And respect for the opportunity to represent the NFL.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has been nothing if not proactive in implementing, enforcing and publicising the responsibility program. At least as it applies to players.
We wonder, when will it apply to coaches?
Eagles coach Andy Reid has stood by and watched his two old boys (their behavior precludes us from calling them young 'men') terrorize suburban Philadelphia. Allegations ranging from reckless traffic offenses to drugs to guns to threatening private citizens.
Where is the outrage? Where is the demand that Reid take responsibility for the boys he is raising? Where is Roger Goodell's conduct policy? Why aren't NFL executives and owners decrying Reid's allowance of family members (that he is responsible for raising) dragging the Eagles name and the NFL through the mud with each and every one of their selfish acts of lawlessness?
Thus far, all have been absent. Not so much as an indication from the league office that Reid has even been so much as warned to get his household in order.
We assume (based on nothing factual, as is our want) that Reid's children rely on their father for their economic subsistence. If that is the case, Reid is responsible for them. Regardless of them being minors or not.
Some will falsely argue that Reid's hoodlums are over 21 and that absolves him of responsibility.
We would argue that if he had taught them proper behavior and held them accountable at an earlier age, the rest of us would not be in jeopardy due to their actions now.
Mr. Reid owes it to the NFL. Mr. Reid owes it to his players. Mr. Reid owes it to the honor that is being a head coach in professional football.
And most of all, Mr. Reid owes it to his children.
The time has come for Mr. Reid to either voluntarily, or through the invocation of the conduct policy, step away from the game and get his household in order.
It's time for Andy Reid to follow the example set by Michael Vick.
It's time for Andy Reid to assume responsibility for a crime spree in suburbia.
It's time to suspend Andy Reid.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will not admit to killing dogs or gambling on dog fights, as detailed in his indictment, when he enters a guilty plea in a Richmond, Va., federal court Monday, a source close to the case has told ESPN. Instead, the one count of conspiracy that Vick will plead to will admit guilt to the charge of interstate commerce for the purpose of dogfighting.
The source told ESPN that Vick's defense team met with federal attorneys Thursday afternoon to determine the "summary of facts" to which Vick will plead, and that his attorneys believed they had a deal. The source said Vick maintains he never killed dogs and never gambled on a dog fight.
So, clearly, if this account proves to be accurate, the Federal government is satisfied with Vick's admission.
One would suspect if the government felt they had such an air tight case against Vick for the gambling and dog killing, that they would either require admission in the plea or pursue trial.
Hopefully, Mr. Vick learns a lesson from this.
And, instead of attempting to regain the fame and glory of football stardom after his incarceration, he returns to private citizenry and stays out of the public spot light.
We would hate that spot light to turn into a laser sight again.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
After we had put the finishing touches on our presentation, the NAACP came out with a most wonderful commentary in support of Michael Vick.
Most interesting to us, was the timing. We had previously submitted our guide for understanding the situation in our online classroom here. And, we were most honored that the NAACP seemed to echo our sentiment.
With that in mind, we felt compelled to restructure our closing discussion on this situation. We are never too proud to admit when we haven't thoroughly and righteously completed a presentation. The need to make a few changes and additions to our compelling and informative closing was unmistakable.
At this point, most of you have probably come to realize that the entire situation has, admittedly, been handled poorly. From local law enforcement to federal judges. From NFL spectator to NFL commissioner. All have dropped the ball. All have put their needs first.
And, all missed the signs.
The league missed a golden opportunity to step in and correct things.
Owner Arthur Blank allowed his investment in Vick to cloud his judgment. He saw Vick as a stock holding, not a person.
Law enforcement and prosecutors allowed the chance to catch the great white whale (so to speak) cloud the normal protocol for dealing with such cases.
As fans, we allowed our fascination with Vick's ability to propagate our fascination in watching his splaying at the hands of the media.
With the blood of the career of Michael Vick on our hands, we must cleanse ourselves. One and all.
The NFL stood by as Michael Vick asked for help. Knowing he was in a situation that might compromise his future, Vick took the initiative to try to get help. He'd been told that the new commissioner was no nonsense. That the behavior expectations were concrete. With that in mind, and knowing that simply asking for help could jeopardize his safety, Vick tried to institute himself into the NFL's naughty boy club and receive the rehabilitative treatment and counselling it would provide. He brazenly boarded a plane with a contraband bottle. But, what happened next showed that his owner and league were only thinking of the investment in the $130M player.
Instead of the league holding Vick accountable. Instead of pursing a legitimate investigation into the contents of the bottle, the league and law enforcement allowed Vick off the hook. Vick remained virtually silent throughout. Never really denying anything. Months later, in a probable effort to turn attention back to the incident, he mentioned something about the bottle holding jewelry.
His outlandish act and later outlandish attempt to get back into the commissioner's line of sight and get in the program were just ignored.
Vick had little contact with Mr. Blank. One would think such anti-social behavior would illicit some sort of concern. But, rather than risk the chance of losing Vick to any sort of suspension, ownership ignored his silent scream for help.
And finally the first allegations of treating dogs at a somewhat lower than acceptable level surfaced. Goodell met with Vick to ask him about things. Now, the NFL has a substantial security arm. Made up of ex-law enforcement officials. Certainly, the hint of scandal would have had them scrambling to investigate. There is no reason to believe the league would allow themselves to be caught by surprise on this. And later, Goodell even volunteered their services to the federal government to help investigate!
So, it seems most reasonable to believe that when Vick met with Goodell, the situation was not a mystery.
To maintain his safety, Vick denied knowledge and involvement. A scared man in a dangerous way certainly would act irrationally and fear for his safety would force him to bite his lips. And at the same time, hope upon hope that the commissioner would act on the information his security forces had undoubtedly assembled.
But again, rather than put his arm around the terrified young man's shoulders. Rather than tell him, "look, we know the deal. Let us help." Mr. Goodell chose to make record of the denial of involvement to be used later against Vick. Violation of the conduct code, you know.
Rather than hold a news conference and stand tall and tell the world the NFL was going to stand by its largest investment and get him the help he needed to overcome his fear of dogs. To learn not to act on his fear of them and to treat them a bit more kindly. Rather than arming Vick with the confidence to stand up to the individuals who may or may not have strong armed him into conspiring to finance their operation, Mr. Goodell chose to cover his six. And he let Vick walk out the door.
Vick's career bleeding a slow death.
The local investigation turned up items and conjecture which could molded into a case. The federal fat cats, who normally don't get involved in dog fighting operations that are essentially small stakes (the last federal investigation of this sort was in March and involved 100's of individuals), saw the chance to get the headlines and pad their resumes.
And the federal prosecutors aligned themselves to develop an insurance policy. A back up indictment involving gambling, money laundering and tax evasion. Just in case the dog fighting itself didn't stick.
Gambling, money laundering and tax evasion? Not unlike Rick Tocchet's docket.
Well, except that Tocchet's involved a huge North American enterprise and the greatest hockey player of all time.
And he got 2 years..................PROBATION!
And we as fans. We lapped up the media bloodletting. Bathing in the ill tides rolling Mr. Vick's way. Taking an odd delight in the absurdity of the charges. The malformation of the investigation. And now, the humbling of the plea.
In an odd way, we deserve to lose Vick. Our role in this is certainly culpable. And the punishment to the fans seems just.
We can't deny that he owns some responsibility here. He made poor choices. And bad decisions.
Instead of relying on the league to enforce their very own codes of conduct, he should have sooner gone to the authorities to let them know that he may have been strong armed into a possibly questionable activity.
Instead of anticipating that law enforcement would use normal measures and treat him as if he were a typical first time offender, he should have braced for storm and armed himself for the worst.
Instead of trusting the media to portray a fair and accurate picture of the situation, he should have known that "news media" and "tabloid" are now synonyms.
So, yes. Michael Vick is accountable.
And yes, Michael Vick will accept that responsibility on Monday.
After he trades his iced out watches for dull shackles, then what?
As a society, we should aid in his rehabilitation and welcome a new Michael Vick back into the community without a permanent loss of his career in football. - Atlanta NAACP Chapter President R.L. White
And, as a society and as fans, we should aid in the rehabilitation of ourselves.
Or we will continue to be regaled by athletic 'superstars' saying things like this:
"We don't say anything about people shooting deers and shooting other animals, you know what I mean? From what I hear, dogfighting is a sport. It's just behind closed doors and I think it's tough that we build Michael Vick up and then we break him down ... I think he fell into a bad situation." - Stephon Marbury
We made them superstars. We consume the product.
It's our fault.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Now, let us first avoid the coming complaints, misunderstandings and vitriol that will surely be tossed like so much monkey dung at us from the unenlightened, chimp-like minds of the contrarians out there.
If you choose to interchange the word "suicide" for "assassination" in our opening paragraph, we will grant you license.
Michael Vick has long been determined to have an unfortunate propensity to make poor decisions. His unwise choices are well documented on the gridiron. Forcing passes. Making poor reads. Etcetera. Etcetera.
Yet, both in college and in the pro's, his masters allowed the poor decisions to continue. Sort of the risk versus reward conundrum. His legitimate talent to come up with big plays meant that the poor decisions and lack of ability to make situational reads could be overlooked. And they were. With impunity.
Having cultivated this sense within Mr. Vick that it was ok to make poor decisions and that his innate talents could compensate for his rudimentary abilities in making situational reads and decisions, Mr. Vick was given millions and millions of dollars. And a long off season.
Football is life. It is life to those that play it to support their existence. The field becomes one with day to day living. Talents and thought processes that guide one on the field become intertwined with the day to day. A superstar sees his picture in ads and on TV. In his football uniform. Playing football. He is football. Life is football.
But football, to the non-player, is entertainment and diversion. And entertainment is business.
In one way or another, we all benefit from big business in this country. And at the same time, we are all used by big business in this country.
The picture should be clear.
We are all to blame for allowing Michael Vick to lose sight of who he is. We are all to blame for his becoming disillusioned and believing that living in society is the same as playing football.
By allowing his masters in business and football to assure him that his inability to make good decisions and his "illiteracy" in the realm of the situational read were ok; we all gave him license to make bad reads and decisions.
The Grand Jury that levied an indictment against Mr. Vick simultaneously indicted every fan of football, every buyer of the goods that had Vick's name and image attached and every purveyor of products marketed in connection with Vick.
We were all indicted. As a society.
But only one of us stood up to accept the responsibility.
We ask that you take some time to consider the realities presented. That you take a moment to reflect on how you will handle your indictment in this case.
Do you also accept responsibility for your part, as Michael has? Will you plead guilty, or continue to live in denial?
We shall return in a timely manner with full closure in Part II.
Monday, August 20, 2007
We are still recovering from the shocking developments in the Michael Vick entrapment.
We will regroup.
And we will be stronger.
We shall overcome.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Some positive, some negative. Some down right hateful. Most responders though, thoroughly enlightened and grateful to us for bringing some personal insight from Scoop to them.
We wanted to take this opportunity to share an email from one of our readers, and answer his question.
Really enjoyed the Scoop post. Was awesome to read his thoughts and opinions, free from the yolks of espn.
Also, just wanted to ask a question. I hit that link to that site you mentioned in the post, sportsjournalists.com. What is the deal there? I noticed they had a few message threads about the Scoop interview. I went back today and noticed they mentioned your Imus post. Man, nearly every single comment they make is critical,negative and completely ill conceived. For a site supposedly made up of sports writers, they are really just a closed circle of same thinkers who seem to gather to talk trash about anyone out there saying anything that is not in line with their way of thinking. It was almost funny to read their comments about the Imus post. For supposed journalists, they sure don't have very good reading comprehension skills.
Anyway, just found it fascinating that a group of writers would have the time to sit around all day sipping on the same bottle of hateraid.
Can't wait for the next interview.
Daunte', we greatly appreciate your kind words and we are pleased you found the interview with Mr. Jackson to your benefit.
We are currently working on securing an interview with yet another top sports media personality. Rest assured, it will be worth the time.
While we appreciate you looking out for us, please, pay little heed to anything you might run across on a message board such as the one you mentioned.
What you came across was an example of bitterness and jealousy coupling with unmet goals and shattered hopes and dreams to form a support group for wannabe's and never was's.
Imagine, you toil away, desperately trying to hone the skills and talent to achieve your dream of reaching a large audience. Of gaining a voice. Of being relevant. You expect, that in time, you will reach someone...somewhere. But, as time goes on, you tread water. Never becoming necessary.
Well, that's what you have over there. And, when they see someone doing something positive. Doing something that is of value. And doing it before a larger readership than they could ever hope. It hurts. It is painful to realize that someone can come along and display talent you never had, with little effort. It is painful to witness the relevance you strive for be found elsewhere.
With that in mind, we would never pile on "journalists" who spend their days commenting back and forth with their handful of failed friends on a message board. Life has piled on them enough.
We wish them success as they struggle in their coverage of CYO basketball games for the Penny Saver. Or attempt to secure an interview with the local high school softball coach. All the while, finding the time to hate on sites like this because we can quickly contact and interview ESPN and national personalities. Or, as has been more common, have those personalities contact us.
The bottom line, Daunte', is that successful and controversial writers like Scoop, Mariotti, Wilbon, Whitlock, Albom, NOIS and all the others will always be the targets of misguided jealousy and hate directed from the bowels of "journalism".
Instead of learning from those of us blessed with a real and sought out voice and a relevance, they choose to congregate in their dark little circles and tell each other how they are really better than Scoop, Mariotti, Whitlock and NOIS.
It's like the ugly girls at a dance club sitting by themselves in the corner. Talking trash about the beautiful girls out dancing with the boys.
Don't hate us because we're beautiful.
Thanks for the feedback, Daunte'. We appreciate your readership.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Vaughn was humiliated, embarrassed and publicly mocked for the comments, the lawsuit claims.
No dollar amount was specified in the suit. And rest assured, despite the announcement of Imus' $20M settlement with CBS earlier in the day, this is about respect.
Vaughn, who was a center, had spoken out about Imus on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in April. She said that the comments overshadowed her team's amazing season, one the coach has called the most rewarding of her career. "Our moment was stolen from us," Vaughn said then. "Instead of us coming here to enjoy what we accomplished and how far we came, we had to sit back and look at media asking questions about what he said."
And certainly, one would expect that in the world of high profile college sports, nothing would ever overshadow the game. Nothing would detract from the moment for the players.
We can look to men's sports as the precedent. The players always come first. Their experience and the chance to bask in the moment always are the paramount focus building up to any big game. And after big games, they are exclusively allowed the chance to enjoy the moment without any intrusion from the media.
It's only fair for a female team to expect the same treatment. Particularly when the culprit --the moment stealing thief-- is a half-baked, semi-coherent shock jock.
And then, the media scrutiny.
It seems only fair that Imus pay. And pay dearly for what he put these women through and for damaging their reputation.
Calling them "ho's" insinuated that they were prostitutes. And it forced the women to hold press conferences and appear on talk shows to explain. To explain that; no, no they aren't prostitutes. Despite the lewd off handed attempt to be funny by the ancient shock jock, they were wonderful student athletes. Examples for young women everywhere to follow.
The women even had to endure article after article and column after column written in support of their character and demonizing the man that attempted to sully their good name.
We can only imagine the pain these women experienced as they were burdened with the equivalent of a "scarlet letter" hung 'round their collective neck. Imagining that every male eye that gazed upon them was considering, "wonder how much those Rutgers women that I think are prostitutes because Imus called them ho's charge for an around the world?"
We shudder at the thought.
We shudder at the life altering after effects. Clearly, all these girls want is to return to the anonymity they enjoyed before Imus verbally savaged them.
But they can't.
Litigation requires them to file papers. And filing papers means the media will report it.
The damaging cycle created by Imus continues.
"This is about Kia Vaughn's good name," Ancowitz said. "She would do anything to return to her life as a student and respected basketball player -- a more simple life before Imus opened his mouth on April 4."
And clearly, the main step in the healing process is having her lawyer hold a press conference to alert the world to the law suit.
Let the healing begin.
Thirty-six percent of those familiar with the dogfighting allegations against Vick, the Atlanta Falcons’ star quarterback, said he was being treated better than an average person. Only 9 percent said Vick was being treated worse than an average person. The plurality, 44 percent, said Vick was being handled the same as anyone else.
So, clearly, the overwhelming proportion of respondents, 80%, perceive Vick to either be receiving preferential treatment or normal handling of his case.
But, let's consider: How would an average Joe, that isn't Michael Vick, be treated.
Well, to begin with, the chances that an average Joe would even face federal prosecution are virtually nil. Statistics show that almost to a person, individuals charged in dog fighting cases are tried by local jurisdiction.
According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (a group which monitors and pursues cases of animal cruelty):
While the federal dog fighting law was updated a bit in May of this year, it has been around for years, yet I found only 1 reported appellate case involving this law being used by federal prosecutors; 3 others discussed whether this federal fighting law preempted state anti-cruelty or fighting laws, and in all 3 cases the courts ruled it did not (an interesting idea for the local DA to consider…). Nearly all animal anti-cruelty laws are state laws tried in state courts. Thus it has been particularly difficult for ALDF to get federal prosecutors, who are generally inexperienced in animal cases, interested in any animal cruelty matter that occasionally does come under federal jurisdiction by virtue of either happening on federal lands or being prohibited by a federal law. Years ago we tried to get several U.S. attorney offices interested in shutting down and prosecuting those responsible for “crush videos” (made underground for fetishists who enjoyed watching small animals or birds being crushed to death by a woman’s high heel) after the federal law was passed making them illegal. We got few takers.
So, the next time you hear the media or anyone else suggest that Michael Vick is getting the same attention that any individual accused of involvement in dog fighting would be getting; know that that is false.
Even the folks that fight to bring justice to animal abusers are a bit shocked at the extreme vigor Vick's case has drawn.
But remember, there's no bias whatsoever in this statistically highly unusual federal indictment and federal prosecution. That's just the normal process for this sort of case.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
We put together an indepth interview with espn.com Page 2 and SLAM magazine columnist, Scoop Jackson.
We imagine that most of our readers are familiar with Scoop on some level.
As you read this, please keep in mind, that the interview was conducted via email and Scoop answered in caps, very informally.
What we are saying is....kill the noise and complaints about spelling and typos. We could have edited it, I suppose. But why? This was essentially an informal discussion, so we left it in that form.
We hope this gives you a better insight into probably the most maligned personality on espn.com.
Additionally, we think the last answer Scoop gives could effectively be applied to this site.
And hit us back with your thoughts, impressions and suggestions for future interview subjects.
"hope this works. if you need anything else, let me know. answers are in caps. thanks!!!
1. We'll cut right to the chase. On espn.com's Page 2, you are known for your powerful opinions and are often accused of "reverse-racism". A term developed by the same institutions which, in an effort to perpetuate racism, deny its existence. It's the classic "i'm rubber and you're glue" defense, used by people that don't like what they see when you hold a mirror in front of them and force them to look at themselves. We often get the same response from some of our readers. We liken it to the "kill the messenger" analogy. In our minds, "reverse racism" is a term conjured as a self defense mechanism. Pulled from thin air to be used in instances in which the accuser has been met with an argument in which he is incapable of effectively engaging. It is less than an empty phrase. When you are accused of "reverse racism", does it have any meaning to you?
IT DEPENDS. I AGREE 100% WITH YOUR DEFINITION OF "REVERSE RACISM" BUT AT THE SAME TIME I DO BELIEVE IT EXISTS AND THAT WE (BLACK PEOPLE) ARE CAPABLE OF USING IT, ALTHOUGH OFTEN UNINTENTIONALLY. I'M MORE INCLINED TO GO WITH "GUILT" AS OPPOSED TO "SELF DEFENSE" AS THE MECHANISM USED FOR THE TERMS EXISTENCE. A LOT OF TIMES WHEN WE PLACE OUR TRUE FEELINGS AND BELIEFS IN FRONT OF THE COUNTRY THERE IS A SENSE OF "GUILT" THAT I BELIEVE INSTANTLY OVERCOMES MANY AMERICANS BECAUSE IT'S VERY HARD TO COME TO GRIPS WITH AMERICA'S PAST WHEN IT CONCERNS US. THE WAY THIS COUNTRY TREATED BLACKS CAN NOT BE DENIED AND THE TRUTH HURTS, HURTS BOTH WAYS: HURTS US TO REMEMBER, HURTS THEM TO BE REMINDED. AND THAT'S WHERE, TO ME, THE GUILT COMES IN. SO WHEN I "HOLD A MIRROR" AS YOU SAID, UP TO AMERICA, I UNDERSTAND THE REACTION FROM THOSE WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND OR DON'T WANT TO TAKE THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND WHERE I'M COMING FROM. I'M COMING FROM A PLACE THAT AT TIMES WILL MAKE THEM FEEL GUILT. AND IF WE ALL STUDIED THE NATURE OF HUMAN BEINGS AND HOW WE COMMUNICATE WITH ONE ANOTHER WE'D KNOW THAT ONE OF THE NATURAL REACTIONS TO GUILT IS DEFENSE... ESPECIALLY IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE NOT DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHY THE GUILT EXISTS. AMERICA WANTS TO AND TRIES TO DISCONNECT ITSELF FROM IT'S PAST WITH US. THAT'S WHY YOU ALWAYS HEAR "WHY CAN'T YOU ALL GET PAST IT, YOU HAVE OPRAH, MICHAEL JORDAN, TIGER WOODS, KEN CHENAULT IS RUNNING ONE OF THE MAJOR COMPANIES IN THE WORLD, A BLACK COACH JUST WON THE SUPER BOWL, OBAMA IS A GREAT LEADER AND REPRESENTATIVE FOR YOU ALL, ETC." BUT THEY NEVER TAKE INCONSIDERATION THAT EACH ONE OF THE PEOPLE THEY MENTION IS ONE, NOT SEVERAL. AND IN THE SEARCH AND NEED FOR SOME FORM OF EQUALITY, ONE DOESN'T EQUAL MANY. FOR EVERY ONE AFRICAN-AMERICAN LEADER THAT IS THROWN IN OUR FACE TO FOLLOW AND BE SATISFIED WITH, THERE ARE 35-50
OTHER NON-AFRICAN AMERICANS THAT COUNTER THEIR PRESENCE AND EXISTENCE. YEAH, OBAMA IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, BUT HOW MANY BLACK GOVERNORS AND SENATORS DO WE HAVE IN AMERICA? SEE WHAT I'M SAYING OR TRYING TO GET AT? BUT MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY DON'T SEE IT THAT WAY, THEY SEE IT IN A WAY THAT "WE SHOULD BE HAPPY WITH OBAMA AND THAT'S IT. BE HAPPY THAT WE HAVE OPRAH, AND THAT'S IT. BE HAPPY THAT DENZEL HAS TWO OSCARS, AND THAT'S IT. AND THAT'S WHAT I HAVE TO DEAL WITH, OR AT LEAST THAT'S THE WAY I LOOK AT IT IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH SOME OF THE REACTIONS AND RESPONSES I GET FOR WHAT I WRITE. I TRY TO BE VERY REASONABLE AND UNDERSTANDING OF PEOPLE'S RESPONSES WHEN THEY SAY I USE "REVERSE RACISM" TO GET MY POINTS ACROSS, BUT I'M NOT ALWAYS ACCEPTING OF IT. BUT JUST LIKE I WANT OR HOPE THAT PEOPLE SEE THINGS FROM MY VANTAGE POINT, I TRY TO DO THE SAME WITH OTHERS. I MAY AT TIMES WRITE THINGS THAT WILL UNINTENTIONALLY UPSET AND IRRITATE SOME PEOPLE AND ONCE I GET RESPONSES I TRY TO TAKE A STEP BACK AND SEE WHERE THEY ARE COMING FROM AND SEE WHERE THERE MAY BE SOME VALIDITY FROM THEIR VANTAGE POINT AND IN WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. AT THE SAME TIME, I HAVE TO STAY GROUNDED IN THE ORIGINAL BELIEF OF WHAT I WROTE. I KNOW IT'S NOT RIGHT, BECAUSE AS A JOURNALIST I'M SUPPOSED TO BE TOTALLY OBJECTIVE TO EVERYTHING, BUT I DO WRITE WITH A MINDSET OF WHAT'S IN THE BEST INTEREST OF BLACK PEOPLE. THAT TO ME IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE MY OBLIGATION. SO WHEN I HEAR "REVERSE RACISM" I UNDERSTAND WHERE IT COMES FROM AND SOMETIMES - EVEN THOUGH I MIGHT DISAGREE WITH IT - I SEE WHERE THOSE THAT CLAIM IT CAME TO THAT CONCLUSION. BUT FOR ME IT'S BETTER TO NOT BE TOTALLY OBJECTIVE THAN TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS. LIKE EVERYTHING IS ALL GOOD. THE PLAYING FIELD IS NOT THAT LEVEL.
2. We notice in the comments section, and have seen on threads on a message board called sportsjournalists.com, complaints that you are a poor writer. For example, in your most recent column, you capitalized the 'c'in the word 'common' at the end of the sentence. This was obviously done as a reference to the popular musician, Common. But a lot of folks that read your columns don't understand your references, assume you made a mistake, and label you ignorant. Do you get any pleasure (we do) from knowing that those critics are unknowingly, yet overtly displaying their own ignorance -clearly showing that you are writing on a higher plane than they are capable of understanding?
THERE'S NEVER A PLEASURE WHEN PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE IGNORANT AND THERE'S NEVER A PLEASURE WHEN PEOPLE DON'T GET IT BECAUSE AS A WRITER YOU'D LIKE FOR THEM TO GET IT SO THAT THEY CAN ENJOY WHAT IT IS THAT YOU WROTE OR WHAT YOU WORKED ON. LIKE THE COMMON THING IN THE BONDS COLUMN THE OTHER DAY. THE SENTENCE WAS "...NOTHING TO STOP HIM FROM FINDING FOREVER IN THE NEXT NUMBER. I KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON IN HER MIND, WE HAD THAT MUCH IN COMMON." NOW COMMON'S NEW CD IS ENTITLED"FINDING FOREVER." SO OF COURSE FOR ME, AS A WRITER, I THOUGHT THE SENTENCE WAS SLICK, LIKE A CLEVER RHYME VERSE. BUT THERE WERE THOSE WHO GAVE ME SOME HEAT BECAUSE OF THE SPELLING OF COMMON BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T KNOW THE CONNECTION TO THE 'FINDING FOREVER" OR DIDN'T KNOW THAT HIS NEW CD WAS COMING OUT AND THAT WAS THE TITLE OR THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHO HE WAS. EITHER WAY, THEY DIDN'T "GET" THE WORD PLAY AND BECAUSE OF THAT TAGGED ME AS BEING "IGNORANT" AND A POOR WRITER. WHICH TO ME, I GET NO PLEASURE OUT OF BECAUSE THEY "MISSED" WHAT I THOUGHT - STILL THINK - IS A CREATIVE PART OF THE STORY. IT'S LIKE MISSING THE PUNCHLINE OF A JOKE. I GOT THE SAME THING WHEN I USED "BEAUTIFULLEST" IN THE TITLE OF ONE OF MY COLUMNS ABOUT A YEAR AGO. GOT ALL TYPES OF EMAILS TALKING ABOUT HOW I "BASTARDIZED" THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. AND SOME OF THOSE EMAILS CAME FROM PEOPLE WHO KNEW THE CONNECTION TO KEITH MURRAY'S SONG (THE MOST BEAUTIFULLEST THING IN THE WORLD), BUT STILL THEY DIDN'T CARE. THERE ARE TWO ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTION, ONE - AND I'M BEING VERY HONEST HERE - I THINK I AM A GOOD WRITER, BUT I AM A POOR TYPER. ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. (AND I'M NOT THE GREATEST SPELLER EITHER)IF YOU TALK TO THE EDITORS AND EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT AT ESPN THEY WILL TELL YOU THAT SOMEONE'S NAME WILL ALMOST ALWAYS BE MISSPELLED IN EVERY COLUMN I TURN IN. AT TIMES I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW IT HAPPENS BUT IT'S ALMOST BECOME STANDARD ON MY PART EVEN WHEN I DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO AVOID IT. IT'S LIKE A CURSE. AND IT'S SOMETHING I DETEST BECAUSE I THINK IT'S DISRESPECTFUL TO THE PEOPLE I'M WRITING ABOUT AND TO THE EDITORS WHO ARE WORKING ON MY COPY. IT'S REALLY SOMETHING I NEED TO DO A MORE THOROUGH JOB OF EXECUTING, I'VE BEEN WORKING ON IT FOR A WHILE. THAT SAID, TYPOS AND MISSPELLING THINGS IN TEXT ARE A PART OF THE GAME. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECTLY WRITTEN COLUMN OR STORY. WHICH IS WHY WE HAVE EDITORS, MANY OF THEM. AS WRITERS OUR JOBS IS TO CREATE AND OFTEN WE HAVE TO CREATE UNDER SERIOUS DEADLINES, SO IN THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO CREATE SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE AND WORTH, WE MESS SOME WORDS UP OR SOME FACTS. EDITORS ARE THERE TO CORRECT THOSE BEFORE THE COPY GOES TO PRINT, PRESS OR POST. NOW MUCH LIKE WRITERS, THEY ARE WORKING ON CRAZY DEADLINES TOO, AND MORE THAN OFTEN WORKING ON MORE THAN ONE STORY AT A TIME. BUT IT'S THEIR JOB TO FIND THE FAULTS IN WHAT WE WRITE AND MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES, AND JUST LIKE US, THEY ARE NOT PERFECT... EVEN IF THERE'S MORE THAN ONE OR TWO THAT EDIT STORIES. WHAT'S FUNNY TO ME IS WHEN THERE'S A TYPO IN A COLUMN OR SOMETHING IS MISSPELLED HOW I, THE WRITER, GETS BLAMED AND CALLED "ILLITERATE" OR"IGNORANT" OR "A HORRIBLE, UNEDUCATED WRITER" AND SEVEN TO EIGHT OTHER PEOPLE READ AND CHECKED THE STORY/COLUMN BEFORE IT GOT POSTED BUT NONE OF THEM CATCHES ANY HEAT. NO FLAK. THAT'S WHAT MAKES ME LAUGH. WHEN PEOPLE READ SOMETHING THAT I WROTE THAT MAY HAVE BEEN A MISTAKE AND ACT LIKE I JUST WROTE THE COLUMN AND IT WENT DIRECTLY FROM MY COMPUTER ON TO THE SITE. BUT IF PEOPLE WANT TO CONCENTRATE ON THAT AND NOT LOOK AT THE CONTENT OR PAY ATTENTION TO THE OVER ALL MESSAGE OR HAVE HANG-UPS ABOUT THE DETAILS AS OPPOSED TO WHAT IS THE OVERALL CREATION OF THE COLUMN AND WHAT IT'S ATTEMPTING TO SAY, THEN SO BE IT. THERE'S NOTHING I CAN REALLY DO. I DO THINK IT'S UNFORTUNATE. IT'S LIKE RUN'S LINE IN "KING OF ROCK" WHERE HE SAID, "THERE ARE THREE OF US BUT WE'RE NOT THE BEATLES. "NOW WE ALL KNOW THERE WERE FOUR BEATLES, BUT SHOULD THAT ONE MISTAKE TAKE AWAY FROM HOW GREAT THE SONG WAS? I WOULDN'T BECAUSE I'D RATHER CONCENTRATE ON THE GENIUS OF THE SONG THAN FOCUS A SMALL MISTAKE THAT TO ME DOESN'T TAKE AWAY WHAT THEY WERE TRYNA DO. THE OTHER COMPONENT IN THIS IS THAT I HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT USED TO SEE WHAT I DO IN THE CONTEXT OF WHERE IT IS PRESENTED. JOURNALISM HAS NOT BEEN THE PLACE FOR CREATIVITY IN WRITING THE WAY I SOMETIMES PRESENT IT. BOOKS, PROBABLY. POETRY, PROBABLY. BUT IN MAINSTREAM JOURNALISM AT THE LEVEL OF AN ESPN, IT REALLY HASN'T BEEN SEEN, NOT EVEN WITH THE OPENNESS PAGE 2 HAS DEVELOPED ON ESPN.COM. SO WHEN I GET SOME OF THE RESPONSES I GET I UNDERSTAND THAT SOME OF IT COMES FROM WHAT I WROTE NOT BEING THE "NORMAL" PLACE WHERE THAT STYLE IS ACCEPTED OR BETTER YET SEEN. I GET TOLD ALL OF THE TIME, "LEAVE THAT --- AT SLAM, ESPN IS NOT THE PLACE FOR THE WAY YOU WRITE." IN THEIR MINDS I'M SUPPOSED TO CHANGE. MY PHILOSOPHY IS THAT, AND THIS IS AN UNDERSTANDING ME AND ESPN HAD FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, I AM ALLOWED TO BE ME. IT MIGHT TAKE SOME TIME, BUT IF I PROVIDE REALLY SOLID AND STRONG CONTENT THEN THE AUDIENCE WILL EVENTUALLY COME AROUND. THEY'LL GET IT. IT'S JUST GOING TO TAKE SOME TIME.
3. A while back, we interviewed Whitlock on here. In an effort to see how far your differences extend, we want to ask you a question that we asked him. And compare your answers. Which is the best 'cue: Memphis, Kansas City, Carolina or Mongolian?
THAT'S A HARD QUESTION TO ANSWER. I SAY THAT - AND PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT I LOVE GATES BBQ IN KC, KEEP A CASE OF THE SAUCE AT MY CRIB (HOUSE)- 'Q IS SUCH A PERSONAL MEAL THAT CHOOSING WHERE THE BEST 'Q IS FROM CAN'T BE DONE. IT'S ABOUT WHO COOKS THE 'Q, NOT THE PLACE. AS GOOD AS SOME OF THE SPOTS IN MEMPHIS, CHICAGO, CAROLINA, GEORGIA, ETC. ARE, NO COMMERCIAL BBQ IS GOING TO BE AS GOOD AS WHEN SOMEONE IS OVER THE GRILL AT A PICNIC OR IN A BACKYARD. I KNOW CATS THAT DO THAT FOR A LIVING THAT DON'T HAVE RESTAURANTS WHO'S 'Q IS BETTER THAN I'VE TASTED ANYWHERE. AND THAT CAN BE IN ANY STATE OR CITY, IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHO THE CHEF/COOK IS. PICKING THE PLACE THAT HAS THE BEST BBQ IS LIKE PICKING THE PLACE IN THE COUNTRY THAT HAS THE BEST BASKETBALL PLAYERS. IT CAN'T BE DONE.
4. Are you at all surprised at the vigor with which the federal government has pursued its case against Michael Vick? Particularly knowing that the very same government that is trying Vick for cruelty to animals allows the military to train dogs, with no concern for the dogs well being, to find explosives and fulfill other combat related roles. And dogs have been killed as a result.
WHAT I FIND MORE HYPOCRITICAL THAN ANYTHING ELSE CONCERNING THE VICK CASE IS HOW THE ORGANIZATIONS AND FEDS THAT ARE GOING AFTER HIM - SEEM TO BE ONLY GOING AFTER HIM!!! TO ME, THEY ARE NOT CONCERNED WITH THE WELL-BEING OF THE DOGS OR CONCERNED ABOUT STOPPING THE CULTURE OF DOG FIGHTING. THEIR CONCERN IS SINGULAR. THEY WANT VICK. THAT'S ALL. SO TO ME, THERE'S A DISINGENUOUSNESS TO THEIR APPROACH. TO ME IT'S EQUIVALENT TO THE GOVERNMENT BUILDING A WAR ON DRUGS STRATEGY AND GOING AFTER ONE DRUG DEALER OR THE RECORD INDUSTRY GOING AFTER ONE BOOTLEGGER OR THE MOVIE INDUSTRY GOING AFTER ONE COMPANY THAT'S PIRATING FILMS. THE REPORTS THAT HAVE COME OUT CONCERNING THE POPULARITY OF DOG FIGHTING IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE SAID (AND CONFIRMED BY PETA AND THE ANTI-CRUELTY SOCIETY) THAT DOG FIGHTING IS A BILLION-DOLLAR BUSINESS. DO WE REALLY THINK VICK HAS GENERATED CLOSE TO A BILLION DOLLARS WITH HIS BAD NEWZ KENNEL OPERATION? I'M NOT SAYING IT'S RIGHT AND NEITHER AM I PROTECTING VICK, BUT LET'S BE CLEAR: YES HE IS A BIG NAME, BUT I NEED TO SEE SOME OTHERS GETTING CRACKED DOWN ON BESIDES VICK TO MAKE ME BELIEVE THAT THE FEDS ARE CONCERNED WITH THE INHUMANENESS OF THE CULTURE AND NOT JUST CONVICTING ONE PERSON OF A CRIME.
5. Donovan McNabb recently took some heat for verbalizing his support for Michael Vick. He essentially stated that he hoped Vick hadn't done what he is accused of, and that he would like to see him back on the field. Due to the media's twisted representation of McNabb's statements, he was forced to clarify the next day that he was not supporting dog fighting.It has to be tempting for you to resort to the same type of tactics that the mainstream media uses (ie, spinning quotes and contexts). How are you able to rise above it and stick to painting an unbiased presentation that stays true to both yourself and reality?
I TRY VERY HARD TO APPROACH THINGS I WRITE ABOUT WITH CONSIDERING THE WHOLE OR AS CLOSE TO A COMPLETE PERSPECTIVE AS POSSIBLE. I'M NOT ALWAYS SUCCESSFUL, BUT I DO TRY ON ALL ACCOUNTS TO APPROACH WHAT I DO IN THAT MANNER. THE REASON WHY IS BECAUSE I DON'T SEE A LOT OF US - JOURNALIST, MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA, ETC. - DOING THAT. THE CULTURE OF JOURNALISM - BE IT PRINT OR BROADCAST AND ESPECIALLY SPORTS JOURNALISM - NOW IS TO SAY WHATEVER AND HOPE THE AUDIENCE FALLS FOR IT. IT'S LIKE SAYING BONDS IS A CHEAT AND ACTING LIKE NO ONE ELSE IN BASEBALL IS CHEATING OR THAT THE COMMISSIONER ISN'T AS GUILTY BY DOING NOTHING ABOUT THE KNOWN STEROID USAGE WHEN IT ORIGINALLY BECAME EVIDENT; IT'S LIKE ONLY FOCUSING ON THE STUDENTS AND THE GIRL IN THE DUKE LACROSSE SITUATION AND ACTING LIKE THE UNIVERSITY - THE PRESIDENT, THE DEAN, THE CHANCELLOR, ETC. - HAD NO RESPONSIBILITY IN WHAT HAPPENED BY LETTING THE PLAYERS ON THAT TEAM BE AS OUT-OF-CONTROL AS THEY WERE FOR ALL THOSE YEARS; IT'S LIKE THE PICTURE THE MEDIA PAINTED OF THE CRIMINALITY DURING THE NBA ALL-STAR GAME IN VEGAS WITHOUT DOING THE RESEARCH TO FIND THAT THE ACTIVITY WAS ON PAR WITH WHAT USUALLY GOES DOWN IN VEGAS WHEN BIG EVENTS COME TO TOWN OR ON NEW YEARS EVE; IT'S LIKE BLAMING KOBE BRYANT FOR THE SITUATION THE LAKERS ARE IN AND NOT CONSIDERING THAT A BIG PART OF THE ORGANIZATION'S DOWNFALL IS BECAUSE THE OWNER AND GM TRADED SHAQ AWAY WITHOUT GETTING AT LEAST ONE ALL-STAR IN RETURN. I COULD GO ON AND ON. THERE'S A THEORIST BY THE NAME OF ELISABETH NOELLE-NEUMANN THAT CALLS THIS THE "PILLORY" FUNCTION OF THE MEDIA. IT'S THE FEELING OF BEING SCAPEGOAT'D BY THE MEDIA, ALMOST TO THE DEGREE THAT WE ARE HELD HELPLESS BY THE MEDIA BECAUSE AN ALTERNATIVE OR COUNTER POINT-OF-VIEW IS NON-EXISTENT OR SILENT. PART OF WHAT I TRY TO DO IS NOT BE A PART OF THAT SPIRAL OF SILENCE; TRY TO GIVE A VOICE TO VOICES OFTEN UNHEARD. SO TO "RISE ABOVE IT," AS YOU SAID, I TRY TO RISE ABOVE IT BY LOOKING TO SEE IF THE TOTAL PICTURE IS BEING PAINTED OR IF THERE'S A PERSPECTIVE TO A STORY THAT'S NOT BEING CONSIDERED. OFTEN TIMES WHEN I DO WRITE SOMETHING THAT COUNTERS WHAT HAS BEEN PRESENTED IN MASSES,PEOPLE THINK I'M WRITING JUST FOR THE SAKE OF CREATING SOME FORM OF CONTROVERSY. AND THAT'S OFTEN THE FURTHEST THING FROM THE TRUTH. OFTEN I JUST LOOK AT THE LANDSCAPE OF WHAT IS BEING COVERED AND SEE IF THERE IS A VOID IN MY MIND IN THAT COVERAGE. THAT'S ALL. FROM THERE I TRY TO FIND A CREATIVE AND SUBSTANTIAL WAY TO PRESENT IT. THE PROBLEM FOR MOST IS THAT I TOO OFTEN HAVE "WE" (READ ABOVE) IN MIND WHEN I DO THAT.
Friday, August 10, 2007
We may not have one up until Monday.
But we promise, it will be worth the wait.
As you know, we have been fortunate to interview some well known writers and bloggers (Leitch...Whitlock...).
Well, we are just finishing up a monumental interview.
This is the one the world has been waiting for....
it'll be up by Monday.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Not just Barry's burden. Not just the ever increasing weight placed upon him by a vicious and inhumane media. But a burden felt by all baseball fans. A burden carried by all people.
And now that the chase is over. The quest conquered. The haj complete. We must all look to heal from the damage that the mainstream media has inflicted upon us during the course of Barry's chase.
The best way to heal? Exalt in the majesty of Mr. Bonds' triumph.
If the media can finally lay bias to rest and simply give the new Home Run King the fair treatment and respect due, baseball can recover. Bonds can recover. We can all recover.
The time has come to treat Bonds as we have treated every other player that has performed at super human levels and attained unmatched supremacy.
Is Bonds the first player to be accused of "cheating"?
How many players in the Hall of Fame had reputations as cheaters? How many pushed the limits of the technology available during their careers? Ty Cobb? Gaylord Perry? How many others?
Yet, we kind of snicker about Gaylord Perry and his spit balls. About Ty Cobb and his sharpening his cleats and other tactics. And we vote them into the Hall of Fame with nary a word of dissention.
But, Barry Bonds comes along and is crucified. Grand Juries are convened. Expose books are written. Fans are whipped into a frenzy and urged to take an indignant stance to his accomplishment.
What did Bonds do that separates him from all the others that have operated in a gray area, or just plain cheated in sports?
Bonds played in an era in which MLB purposely and willfully turned its collective back to what was going on with a large portion of the players. The league didn't conduct testing. The league didn't even officially ban many substances. While players began to look like bodybuilders and home runs flew out of parks at unheard of rates, the commissioner and the owners counted receipts. They posed as those three monkeys with their hands over their eyes, ears and mouths: hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
And now, when they are called onto the carpet for what transpired, for what they allowed and encouraged through complicit silence...now, we are to all accept that Bonds is the anti-christ in all this?
Players like Bonds are driven. What makes them great is their will to succeed. Part of that is to excel through any means necessary. And, if there is a loop hole in the system, they will find it. In fact, we'd argue that they are encouraged to find it.
Lance Armstrong is a hero. Beloved by the media, and therefore the fans. But, there is more dirt out there on him than any superstar athlete. More individuals connect him to doping than any athlete. He has been returned dubious test results.
But no mention of placing an asterisk next to his name in the record books.
Armstrong is cherished.
It's time to cherish Bonds. To honor his accomplishments. To look past the accusations and the character assaults. It's time to understand that he played the game during an era that encouraged and allowed players to take that extra step. To go above and beyond normal training methods.
Baseball is redefining itself and the owners and commissioner have now been forced to address the issue. But that doesn't change the fact that for decades they silently sat by and watched. And Bonds should not be the lone scapegoat burned in effigy by the media.
MLB created Barry Bonds. He is of their doing. MLB's very own "frankenstein".
To unleash him, and then pretend he didn't become exactly what MLB expected or wanted is the greatest lie in all of this.
The key to moving forward now that the chase has ended is honoring baseball's greatest creation.
Baseball purists argue that Bonds is bad for the game. That his being the Home Run King tarnishes the purity of the game.
Well, any organization that would silently stand by and pretend to not see what went on, and then later accept no responsibility for it, is an impure entity.
The only pure entity in all of this?
Honor it. So we can all heal. Together.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Well, now it seems as if politics has become involved and that the President of the SCLC has decided that there will be no organized honoring of Mr. Vick.
Previously, we reported:
During a press conference announcing the opening of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's 49th annual convention to celebrate the organization's 50th year, president Charles Steele noted that the organization would find some way to honor and recognize the embattled Falcon's quarterback who is under federal indictment on dogfighting charges
But now, the SCLC has released:
"There is no award or no honoring of Michael Vick," said SCLC spokesman David Stokes.
In fact Mr. Steele is even back tracking on his previous statement about honoring Vick. Insinuating that wasn't what he meant. Even though he clearly used the words "honor and recognize".
"He was just reiterating the support for Michael Vick ... that he was innocent until proven guilty," Stokes said.
Clearly, there must be some reason for the SCLC to decide to abandon their previous plans to recognize all the good that Mr. Vick has done for his community.
State Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta), however, said Steele called him last week to talk about honoring Vick. Brooks, a lifetime SCLC member, said he counseled against it.
And there it is. The involvement of a politician. A man beholden to the media. A man at the mercy of how his image is portrayed by the media to his constituency. And, remember, that media is highly anti-Vick. Highly anti-due process. Highly anti-civil rights.
And clearly, the state rep saw the opportunity to gain that media favor by denouncing the honoring of Mr. Vick.
I said, 'Stay on point, the convention is bigger than a particular man,' " Brooks said. "There are a lot of young people who need our help. Michael Vick is not one of them."
The convention IS bigger than a particular man. Highlights of the convention included a 50th anniversary celebration. Honoring MLK, Jr. Honoring Barack Obama. A key note address by Bill Clinton.
And, originally, recognition and honoring of Mr. Vick.
It only seemed appropriate to recognize and make known the important contributions Vick has made to the community at such an important gathering of luminaries, during such a meaningful retrospection on the civil rights movement.
Vick had the money to pay for a top-notch legal defense, Brooks said, and he noted the quarterback hadn't been an SCLC supporter.
The state politician somehow sees this as being about money? Rather than advocate for Mr. Vick's civil rights and fair treatment, Brooks would rather make this an issue about the lack of support (read: contributions) Mr. Vick has given the SCLC?
This sounds like bitterness. It comes across as if Brooks is angry that Mr. Vick hasn't been contributing to his own funding.
Michael Vick deserves recognition. His complete story must be heard.
It's a shame that it won't be heard now due to the insidious efforts of a civil rights hating politician.
"What has he ever done except throw a football, run a football?" Brooks said. "I don't think he has done anything to deserve any special recognition."
Now, Vick will have to wait for his trial.
Only then will he get his proper recognition and sentence honor.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Blogfrica is a hot continent. Heat does not bother us.
We are told that we are biased. That we always stick up for the Negro, no matter the circumstances.
But, for the non-racists, it is clear that we stand up for wronged individuals. Misrepresented individuals.
Some of whom happen to be Negroes.
While the voice of NOIS resonates throughout Blogfrica, perhaps the most influential and admired voice that stands for the rights of wronged individuals in sports is that of Scoop Jackson.
Long renowned for his poetic outlook on the world of sports, Mr. Jackson is often at the forefront of any defense of young athletes that are mistakenly (whether purposely or not) portrayed by the media in a negative light. Jackson was the first to point out that the caustic outrage and fear relayed by the media in its reporting of this year past's NBA all star festivities was sensationalized and opportunistic. That it was conveyed in a manner meant to degrade the cultural relevance of 'hip hop' and purposely fabricated to ensure that white America retain a healthy fear of young Negro males.
Mr. Jackson has also eloquently pleaded his case of why it is important to root for the Williams sisters when they take the court. He makes the case that, in reality, it is an obligation. That it is a matter of self preservation.
Well, Mr. Jackson has now eloquently and inarguably educated us on the Bonds saga.
Bonds hit 754. I finally bought a jersey; had to -- an official Russell Authentic game jersey, size 44. The hate he was receiving had reached a point of insanity. The business of baseball had made this personal. "Behind every great fortune there is a crime." "Godfather" speak. Balzac. In a culture of wrongdoing in the game, Bonds was being singled out. So I dropped $250 in the name of defiance. The same defiance made us support O.J. even if we thought he was guilty and not abandon Al Sharpton when we knew he was wrong about Tawana.
Can you see? It isn't about right or wrong. Those that would pretend that Bonds has done something wrong miss the complete picture. He was a part of something wrong to begin with! Just as O.J. and Al Sharpton were.
Al Sharpton was fighting racism. He was fighting the imagined mistreatment of a young Negro woman. Reality isn't even something that should have been brought into the picture. To suggest or accept that Sharpton should be held accountable for championing a fallacious tale would be to suggest that it would be wrong to fight racism.
The only appropriate response is defiance. "The story is not true? So what. Racism exists in this country. That's the truth."
O.J. was tried by a system which was not perfect. Material evidence? DNA evidence? What does it matter? If the system had inconsistencies or corruptions within it, then the only appropriate response was to support him. And, in the end, the system proved that the defiance was a fair and reasonable reaction. Despite the evidence, he was acquitted! What more proof of a faulty and questionable system was necessary to validate the supportive defiance?
So, Mr. Jackson's purchase and wearing of a Bonds' jersey is an act of the type of social defiance that has made any gains for Negroes in America possible.
Racist? No. Protective? No doubt. Overprotective? Probably. Wrong? Please. Defiance is part of the existence of who we are. It becomes part of our DNA in times like this, when one of our own seems to be rightfully accused but wrongly treated. It's a convoluted, twisted sense of purpose fueled by a sanctimonious and overtly self-righteous coverage of someone who may have committed a sin in the hell baseball had become. We are defiant in times like these because others are being made saints and bigger heroes at the expense of Bonds. Aaron has entered some sort of mythical sainthood. A-Rod all of a sudden is as pure as Rahsaan Patterson's voice or Don Cheadle's acting. We are defiant in times like these because even when we have advantages, the playing field is not level, not for us.
Mr. Jackson makes the case that being defiant in the support of a fellow Negro, who may well be completely wrong, is not a racist act. It can't be. And understand why.
It can't be a racist act because, regardless of the right or wrong, odds are that the Negro is not being treated fairly. And that is the racist act! Supporting the wrongly treated Negro by defiantly standing up for him despite his guilt or own wrong actions is fighting racism.
Supporting Bonds. Supporting Michael Vick. Neither is a commentary on whether what they did is wrong or right. Because it doesn't matter. The defiance is about creating equality.
So, when you read about someone supporting Vick or praising Bonds, realize that dog fighting or steroids aren't a part of the equation. Understand, that the defiant support in the face of the accusations is about fairness. It is about achieving equal treatment. Accept that the suggestion that one is supporting either man simply because he is a Negro is the racist act.
The defiant support with complete disregard for accountability of action or wrong doing is an attempt to bring America together. It is an effort to demonstrate that skin color does not matter. That we all should be treated equally.
A young black man at a public library had on a Michael Vick jersey one day last week. I walked up to him, thinking about my Bonds jersey. Said, "You big for wearing that." He simply said, "Thanks." Then, almost as an afterthought, he said, "I think he's guilty as hell, but I still got his back."
We too had something in common. As we should.
As we all should.
Have his back.
Regardless of his skin color.
Regardless of right or wrong.
It's not what you do, it's how you are treated after you do it.
We defy you to suggest otherwise.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Here is a recap of the draft.
Check out our roster and let us know what you think.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Unfortunately, this tragedy hit us a bit close to home and it became difficult to formulate thoughts through the grief.
Prosser was a solid citizen and a good man. Admired as much by his opponents and competitor coaches as by his friends and family.
Prosser ran upstanding programs and his ability to "do more with less" is one of the characteristics that made Coach Prosser so well respected.
You didn't read articles about his players causing problems, getting DUI's or under performing in the NBA. You didn't find Coach Prosser pompously lecturing other programs or the media. You weren't saturated by force fed ads, articles, interviews and sycophantic verbal fellatio indulgences performed on him by "admirers" of his leadership.
No, you were treated to well coached teams. To a humble coach.
Such a startling ending. Too short an existance. We all look upward and question: Why?
It just doesn't seem fair.
Why couldn't it be Coach K? Why didn't Satan call him home?