“Mediocrity” may be former NFL player-turned-dog-killer Michael Vick’s biggest mistake so says NY Times Writer George Vecsey in his column today. But what I want to know is, “Why are we still talking about this guy?”
Now I do agree with Vecsey in one respect and that is that Vick “is legally entitled to earn a living.” But who says it has to be doing what he used to do?
Running a dog fighting ring and brutalizing and killing dogs disqualifies him. It is NOT about diminished skills or burgeoning mediocrity. In other words, as the argument goes, if Vick was still any good, the sports world’s double standard would have him playing football in nothing flat. After all, they’ve looked the other way before. The examples are endless and many more than the ones Vecsey cites in his column.
Vecsey also acknowledges how football club owners need to be wary of the reaction from animal lovers. For one, the Humane Society of the United States has already taken Vick at face value or at least they’ve willingly agreed to be part of his career rehabilitation public relations plan. The Society did this by accepting Vick’s offer to help combat what he used to love by having him speak against dogfighting to the young homies from the hood. Now there’s a study in cynical reciprocity if ever there was one.
Just because morally-relativistic professional sports owners have previously subsumed or altogether erased the ethical, moral and legal lapses of their star players does not now mean that one player’s supposed latter-day mediocrity should exculpate the owners from their misconduct. Instead of impliedly intimating that it is o.k. for owners to wink away the illegalities or the moral turpitude of a star player so long as they can still contribute at a high level, we should decry the double standard. The sauce should be the same for both goose and gander.
This shouldn’t be about Michael Vick. Rather, there ought to be but one standard whether or not you can still hurl a 90 mph fastball to the outside corner or can still throw a perfect spiral downfield. And by this measure, once a professional athlete has committed a serious crime or an act of egregious moral turpitude, that athlete loses any ‘entitlement’ to keep playing, regardless of whether their at the peak of their powers or on the downhill side of a career. And what’s more, eradicating the double standard needs to be done despite the whining distress of sports writers and fans.
Vecsey’s column is at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/sports/football/22vecsey.html?_r=1