'Keepin' it real' has ruined Vick, Pacman

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by 03EBZ06, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. 03EBZ06

    03EBZ06 Need2Speed

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    NFL stars, like others, have let black culture be hijacked by thug image

    By Bryan Burwell
    MSNBC contributor
    Updated: 4:56 p.m. CT Aug 2, 2007

    Before much longer, the Michael Vick saga will probably give us all something to shout about. It’s been barely two weeks since he was indicted on felony dogfighting charges, and in that time the defrocked Atlanta Falcons quarterback has become a symbol for just about everybody and just about everything.

    PETA thinks he’s a villain. The NAACP thinks he’s a victim. The NFL and his corporate endorsers think he’s poison.

    Most of us, though, just think he’s a damned fool. Yet as the carnival unfolds, and the madness mounts, and the sublime slips smoothly into the ridiculous, tell me haven’t we seen this act before?

    The actors change, the plot remains the same. Here we are with another high-profile athletic indignity that will surely give us the same queasy feeling as the others. Chart a line through the absurdity of the O.J. trial, slash a path through the Bonfire of the Vanities sensationalism of the Duke lacrosse scandal, then weave it through the Pacman Jones insanity. By the time that line reaches the disturbing case of the United States versus Michael Vick, we can see the familiar ties that bind them all together.

    Every last one of them gave us that old fashioned instant offense for anyone with a healthy sense of knee-jerk reactionary in them. Celebrity. Power. Wealth. Class. Culture. Sports. Privilege. Politics. If you substitute “animal cruelty” for “sex,” then the Vick saga is nine-tool extravaganza sure to incite and delight everyone and anyone with Jerry Springer sensibilities.

    Before this is over -- in fact before it barely gets started -- there will be those out there more than willing to fan the flames of stupidity, trying to craft this into something it is not. There will be idiots out there who will attempt to diminish the severity of the crime, as if despicable acts of cruelty against dogs are merely some cultural and class-based misunderstanding.

    This is not exactly what I would call a smart line of defense. I’ve heard from rednecks and country boys and inner-city underground cultists who swear dog fighting and cock fighting isn’t much different from ultimate fighting, and that anyone with a healthy blood lust would understand. That of course is preposterous. Animals have no free will. Humans do. If a man chooses to engage in a no-holds-barred caged brawl, that’s his business.

    But animals have no such options in the fight business.

    So before we go much further, I want to stop all the silliness. Michael Vick will have his day in court, he will have every opportunity to prove his innocence or expose his guilt in a court of law. But it does little good for anyone to try to cast him in the role of victim. He’s too wealthy to be a victim in the American justice system. Just like OJ, he has the cash to buy a strong defense.

    But there is no obligation by the corporate world to stick with him, even if his toadies and sycophants choose to remain loyal. If Rawlings and Nike, Reebok and Upper Deck have joined the National Football League in putting him and his damaged image at arm’s length, this too is part of the American way. Money can buy you a lot of things in this country, including a damned good defense (which after reading the indictment, he’s really going to need one). But it can’t insulate you from the wrath of an angered public. And right now, everyone in the real world can understand why no one in Corporate America wants to have Michael Vick’s toxic image attached to its products.

    The presumption of innocence does not extend to the world of print ads and TV spots. It stops at the courtroom steps, and if he didn’t know it before, Vick surely knows that now.

    But here’s something a bit more substantial that we need to be talking about. Let’s talk about how men like Vick keep finding themselves in these sad and disturbing situations in the first place?

    We’re about to go into some very deep waters here. I am getting ready to talk a little family business, which means some of you will actually be eavesdropping on a conversation. I don’t expect some of you to understand where I’m coming from. I don’t expect some of you to relate to what I’m saying, even though in many ways this crisis actually cuts across all racial and social barriers.

    I want to talk about why too many young black athletes in America keep finding themselves in these messes.

    I’m old school enough to remember when we had no shortage of black athletes of true substance and positive images. We had men with social conscience and resolve like Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Muhammad Ali, Curt Flood, Jim Brown, Bill Russell and John Thompson who used to be our heroes. They were athletes and coaches with social consciousness who felt a responsibility to portray themselves with a sense of dignity, pride and purpose.

    It wasn’t all about a multimillion-dollar shoe contracts. They had far more significant issues to handle. But somewhere between Jackie Robinson and Michael Vick, too many black athletes have gotten lost. In the words of Malcolm X, things have run amok, and we’ve been led astray.

    I’ve written about this before, and so I want to be very precise with my words. For far too many modern black athletes, “keepin’ it real” has become the dangerous anthem that is threatening to destroy all the good that the previous generation of black athletes helped create.

    “‘Keepin’ it real’ is one of the most dangerous phrases in our language,” St. Louis Rams Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson says. “It puts us in situations we have no business being in, then makes it almost impossible to get out of.”

    This is the misguided notion that the only way to appeal to the young demographic of the sneaker-buying public is to adopt the negative attitudes of the thug life popularized by black gangster rappers. It is all part of the systematic hijacking of the Black American culture. And the worst part is, too many of us just let it happen. We let it happen by passively condoning this mess. The minute we started embracing the images of Allen Iverson as the edgy iconoclast, but sniffed our noses at a straight arrow like David Robinson as “too soft” and lacking in “street cred,” we helped fuel this mess. We fueled it every time we sanctioned the repeat violations of stupidity by Vick and all the other new athletic minstrels every time they stumbled and we accepted their sorry alibis.

    It didn’t happen overnight. It was an insidious virus that spread over the past 20 years and has flowed through every bit of our culture. What has happened is that we let the real African American culture get buried under the darkest element of a hip-hop generation that glorified and perpetuated all the worst racial stereotypes our parents, grandparents and great grandparents took their lifetimes to erase. It’s not the music that did it, okay? It’s the culture that it spawned.

    It’s a culture that created a new generation of minstrels who are just as dehumanizing as Amos and Andy or Stepin Fetchit. Now they come glamorizing thug life and prison fashion, legitimizing derogatory racial insults into the mainstream, and convincing an entire generation that the only measure of true blackness is a hard-core gangsta edge, and anyone who rejects this is either hopelessly out of touch or a sad Uncle Tom. So the Pacmans and Michael Vicks just can’t pull away from the street, can’t tear themselves away from so-called friends who have rewarded them for that loyalty by escorting them to a front-row seat in a federal courtroom, then rolling on them to the authorities.

    So due process might still be in effect with Michael Vick in the U.S. vs. Michael “Ookie” Vick, but in the court of common sense, he and too many men in his generation are guilty as charged for the crime of living life under the wrong influence.

  2. T-New41

    T-New41 Shut 'em Down

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    That was a very good article.
  3. Faerluna

    Faerluna I'm Complicated

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    Excellent read.
  4. RomoIsBack

    RomoIsBack Active Member

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    vick friend ruin him when he snitch on him
  5. Regar the Bold

    Regar the Bold New Member

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    Bill Cosby was attacked after making similar claims.
  6. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Powerful argument, powerful writing.
  7. Zaxor

    Zaxor Virtus Mille Scuta

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    Well to this article I would like to add...

    When as parents our daughters run around naked (or as good as)with more of a desire to be a sperm receptacle than a Madame Curie and allow themselves to be thought of as Ho's & Bit##es little wonder there are problems.

    When as parents our sons run around with the amount of repect of a mustard seed for those that would be mothers, sisters, wives and when they give you trouble throw them away and get another no wonder there is trouble.

    When as parents our children are allowed to witness immoral and senseless violence that is plastered all over daytime soaps and primetime televison but get up in arms when they see a baby being breast feed you know priorities are not right.

    I think the expression of "I would hit that" is disgusting... What is it trying to say? does it originate from a Bit## slap? does it condone violence? does it show respect? Oh I get it:rolleyes: it is just an expression like... Nig### is an expression of someone from Nigeria... To say that words have no power over us is to be niave... I hear folks talking about being "dissed" (disrespected) but you don't get respect unless you respect yourself and others...

    <sigh> what is the sense... no one ever listens.. I could go on and on but I walked that dusty road before and it changes nothing...

    A Nation cannot change till its people change
    People cannot change till a single person changes
    A Person cannot change till they change their heart
    and a heart cannot change till...
  8. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    As has been pointed out- Bill Cosby has been saying this for the last several years and the Black community (the political elite and entertainment elite) have all but conducted a public LYNCHING on him.

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    It's because of the money. What Cosby and others are saying is not wrong but it's also not proffitable. Money drives much of this. The Gangster cult idiogligy doesn't really understand this in many cases or doesn't care because they feel it's beyond them, whatever the reason, money drives this. Hip-hop, shoe sales, gangster rags, whatever it is, it's all being driven by money and it's all being sold in billions of hard dollars to young people who are nieve enough to believe that all this represents something that will help there own self image. This is about people who are being taken advantage of because there two young to get out of the rain IMO. It is sad and I applaud Bryan Burwell for calling it like it is.

    Bravo Brian

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