What year is it again?
ESPN recently published titled “What if Mike Vick were white?” It was an article written by Touré, but tweaked by ESPN to the point where the essence of Touré’s article was overshadowed by racial overtones. As expected, the article has once again started the debate over the difference in the way white and black NFL athletes are treated. It’s a great debate, that is, if it were taking place decades ago when it mattered.
Let’s just start with facts. Michael Vick got two years in prison for killing dogs, hosting a dog fighting ring and ultimately committing a federal crime, not because he was black and not because he was a black athlete who was the face of the Atlanta Falcons franchise at the time.
Interestingly enough, Michael Vick has just been given a 6 year $100M contract by the Eagles with $40M guaranteed, so did he get that contract because he’s black and reformed and would he have gotten that contract if he was white? If you begin to formulate an answer to that question, you’ve been tricked into engaging into a nonsensical debate. It was a trick question, Vick got that contract because he performed at an exceedingly high level last year, comported himself with dignity and humility on and off the field and earned the title of franchise QB, plain and simple.
I’m wholly confused as to how racism is still being linked to the NFL, maybe I’m just speaking from an ignorant yet objective Canadian perspective, but it appears to me that the NFL is a sport largely dominated by black athletes who get paid millions of dollars to perform at an extremely high level.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the most storied franchises in the NFL have a black head coach in Mike Tomlin, a champion, who is among the most respected human beings in the league. Many teams have black QB’s, black receivers, running backs, the head of NFLPA is black, heck, the Raiders even have black uniforms!
That’s jokes, but seriously, I don’t get it.
If there was a race debate to be had, I would have expected it to come from angry white athletes who feel they aren’t given a fair shake at positions like running back and receiver, at which point I would be able to enjoy a whole hearted laugh and respond with “jump higher and run faster”. But now, the race debate in the NFL, thanks largely to ESPN, has truly become comical. But hey, at least they generated traffic!
Unless blatant racism is shown, like say, Roger Goodell telling James Harrison, “I’m not fining you because you recklessly launch your helmet into the mouths of other players, but because you’re black and I don’t like you,” then it’s hard to make a solid argument for racism in the NFL.
If common sense won’t prevail then let’s let the money talk. Ultimately, the NFL is a multi-billion dollar business, the last thing the league would want is racism surrounding it to hurt its profits and tarnish its reputation, that’s just bad business.
In fact, I’m willing to go one step further and say that the argument that racism is holding down blacks in the US is slowly diminishing, for the obvious reason that the last time I checked, the president of United States is a black man.