Another reason I do not watch the NFL anymore: Michael Vick

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Another reason I do not watch the NFL anymore is Michael Vick. Vick should have been banned for life for his involvement in the dog-fighting ring which grabbed national headlines a few years ago. The NFL does, after all, ban players for life for gambling or repeated drug use. Why it would not ban a player who sadistically electrocuted dogs in his swimming pool is beyond me. Not only has Vick been allowed to play again, but he is being celebrated this year for his comeback with Philadelphia and is even being touted as an MVP candidate. And I see this morning that President Obama called Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie to thank him for giving Vick a second chance. As the Eagles get closer to the Super Bowl this crescendo of hypocrisy will only get worse.

NFL rosters these days are full of players like Vick. Plaxico Burress, Ben Rothlesburger, Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens are a few that come to mind. Every broadcast has a sub-plot: someone who has been shot, or has been involved in a serious fracas with the law or is under suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

In the glory days of professional football there was drug use, to be sure, but players were for the most part law-abiding citizens who just happened to play football. I think the most controversial player when I was growing up was Joe Namath. However, the controversy surrounding Namath had nothing to do with drugs, or guns or gang violence, what many NFL players nowadays seem to be involved in. Namath was controversial because he was a mainstay of the New York swinger scene who wore panty hose on game days. Though not used with Joe Namath’s name the phrase “role model in the community” was often heard during NFL and other professional sports broadcasts. Sadly, that phrase is no longer in use and when I use it here it seems antiquated.

It is enough to make you want to turn off the TV, which I often do these days when the NFL is on.

  1. funny thing about your piece…

    on the one hand, i couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said. michael vick did some gross and disgusting things to animals.

    on the other hand, he went to jail, served his time, got out and has slowly rebuilt his life, being mentored by one of the few remaining gentlemen of the NFL, tony dungee.

    on the one hand, i couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said about how – at one time – i looked up to sports stars but now do not as much.

    on the other hand, the ethical and moral conduct of the average NFL player is no different than the ethical and moral conduct of the average boxer or NHL, NBA, or MLB player and now – thanks to tiger woods – the average golf player.

    in truth, your beef isn’t with michael vick or with the NFL. your beef, frankly is with sports in general. because if you’ve lost respect for vick and the NFL, you’ve also lost respect for boxing and mike tyson, for golfing and tiger woods, for pete rose, barry bonds & mark mcguire and MLB, ron artest and dennis rodman and charles barkley and the NBA and hell: even zadine and major soccer stars of the world.

    friend, the attitude and culture of HUMANITY has changed, not the NFL. and you gotta ask yourself, if we root for grown men to run at each other at full speed and tackle one another, or to get into a ring and beat each other senseless, what right do we have to criticize the type of men who are attracted to and excel at those sports or the businesses that sprout up to promote them.

    stop complaining about and deriding michael vick: he’s not the problem, he’s just a symptom.

    • Michael Vick has “rebuilt” his life with the aid of a slick agent and a savvy PR firm. He is being coached through this whole “comeback” process becuase there is a lot of money involved. Is he truly remorseful for what he did ? I seriously doubt it. People who torture animals do so because they have deeply rooted psychological and/or sadistic impulses. These impulses just don’t disappear with a couple years of incarceration.

      I agree with you though that the problems we see in professional and amateur sports nowadays reflect the problems we see in our society at large. No argument at all on that.

      And you are correct, I do not derive any real pleasure from watching the athletes of the present era. They are overpaid, egotistical, immoral and you have no idea if their on-the-field achievements are genuine or not. The athletes of yesterday were far superior in every respect – physical and moral – to those you watch nowadays. Like Michael Vick.

  2. thanks for your reply post. i always appreciate a decent dialogue. and we certainly do agree on core principles about vick’s despicable crimes and the problems at large in today’s society.

    but your opinion (and mine) on whether or not vick is truly remorseful is irrelevant. vick was sentenced to jail, served a 23 month sentence and was set free. he chose to go back to the game he loved. if you don’t like those facts, then your beef’s with the legal and penal system in this country and with the NFL commissioner, not vick.

    you can use as many ironic “quotes” as you like to describe vick’s rebirth into NFL superstardom… you can be as cynical as you like about the possibility of violent offenders finding true rehabilitation. in the end, that’s not for you or i to judge. your lack of faith in your fellow humans to turn around says more about you than it does about vick.

    some men hit bottom and sink. no doubt about it. i’ve seen it happen up close and personal. i had a friend commit suicide just this year. but others… other turn their lives around and rise up again. no doubt about that either. i’ve seen men who’ve done far worse things – to humans, not dogs – turn their lives around and become productive members of society.

    so really: i’d ask you – if your blog is dedicated to pointing out what’s wrong and awful about today’s sporting world, i’d ask you: why bother spending so much time complaining and pointing out the negative? why not write a few posts on what you still really love about baseball or sports these days? about what’s still quality or – gasp! – about what’s even gotten better?

    cal ripken jr. setting the all-time iron man record ended in 1998, a record of mammoth proportions, just 12 years ago.

    ichiro suzuki’s 258 hit season in 2004, just six years ago. or his ten CONSECUTIVE 200+ hit seasons, the most of any player ever reached just THIS year

    roy halliday throwing the 2nd no-hitter in post season history THIS year. or throwing another, just five months earlier, a perfect game?

    brett favre, going 297 starts in a 20-year NFL career ending just THIS year?

    the longest tennis match of ALL TIME occurring at wimbeldon THIS year, a match that took over three days to play

    thing is, man: your entire blog focuses on what’s wrong and, you know, i can’t help but feel a little sad that you just pass over all of the amazing stuff that’s still going on. you seem like a smart fella. i just hope your heart lightens up.

    • David:

      Thanks for your response. One of the most enjoyable things in life I believe is having a heated, but intelligent conversation about sports. You are obviously very knowledgable and a real fan. It is a pleasure to read your responses and to clarify things in my own mind as I formulate an answer for you.

      Frankly speaking, because of the steroid scandal in baseball I really do not derive any real pleasure anymore from watching baseball. As I said you just never know these days if what occurs on the field is legit and what is not. The game has really suffered because of this, I feel. In fact, I know a few people who used to be big fans but simply never watch anymore.

      The point of the blog – if you read the ‘about me’ page – is to point out what is wrong with today’s game – from the drug use, to the over-inflated ticket prices, to the decadent new ballparks – while celebrating the heroes of yesteryear. If you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s you will see a lot on this blog you like. I think my love for that era in American sports comes across loud and clear here ( at least I hope it does).

      Thanks again for your input.

      Happy New Year to you and your Family,

      The Sports Purist

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