I posted this piece on Huffington Post today. I am currently getting hammered for being out of touch with my perception.
I believe Michael Vick did something terrible. Horrible. Sadistic. I also believe there are players in all the professional leagues who have been convicted of domestic violence that still collect a pay check and still get to play ball.
Hurt a woman? Who cares. But a dog? Dogs rate.
Here it is... if you think I'm wrong, let me have it.
When the Michael Vick case first came out I was quick to jump to the conclusion this was the railroading of a Black man. Vick was probably not even remotely involved but the press was going to lynch him for it anyway.
Plenty of dog fighting rings being run by white guys that are still running this very second, getting busted and not a whisper of it in the news. Same ridiculous double standard the media always plays when it comes to crime and the color of someone's skin.
Then I read a piece this morning by Sandra Kobrin, "Beat a Woman? Play on. Beat a Dog? You're Gone." I would add gay bashing, too, as Tim Hardaway, among others, still garner the adoration of many fans regardless of stating proudly, "I hate gays'" on national radio.
The double standard, it seems, is not only about race - I still believe race played a huge factor in the reporting of this case - but about what you are abusing. Hit a puppy? Go to jail. Hit a woman? Well, we all lose our tempers sometimes, don't we? Rape a woman? You might lose some endorsement money. Maybe. It depends on how well you can humiliate and discredit the victim in the press.
Ask the football players at the University of Colorado. Better yet, ask all the victims.
Kobrin points out the professional sports leagues policies being adapted to insure no animal abuse will ever be accepted on any level at any time. Everyone is quick to insure the safety of small helpless creatures. Lots of very serious talk about unacceptable behavior and the cruelty of it.
No such policy exists about spousal abuse or any domestic violence. Let's face it, in this country, beating or raping a woman is not as serious a crime as dog fighting or animal abuse. Michael Vick is facing FEDERAL charges. If he had women fighting in a pit, half starved and beaten to be violent? He could have sold the TV rights for millions.
Don't get me wrong - I have a dog and cannot imagine ever hitting her for any reason. I also have a wife I cannot imagine ever hitting either. Maybe it's just me but I think my wife deserves more laws and protections than my dog does. I do believe her life is more valuable, her experience more important and her safety far more paramount to our society's well being than my dog's.
Today, however, the message is clear - if Michael Vick had been beating women? He'd be in preseason games instead of court.