I don't even really like the National Football League (college football is much more fun to watch). And I don't really like the Atlanta Falcons. And I don't think, from my limited knowledge of the professional game, that Michael Vick is a very good quarterback. But I am of the strong opinion that he is being treated wrongly by a pack of leeches who can't wait to get in the first lick.
Have you ever noticed that when someone is captured for this or that crime, that more often than not the person's mug shot is on the evening news that night with the implication that the individual is clearly guilty of the crime for which he has been arrested? I think such statements by the media should be illegal. In most cases, the individual does turn out to be guilty, but what about the times when he or she not? Where do they go to get their reputation back?
One of the characteristics that has always made America great is the right of a person to be presumed innocent until he is found guilty in a legal court. It's a sign of the degradation of our society that so often individuals are sentenced by the media and the public before the case has even gone to trial. Who knows how much this early sentencing affects the outcome and distorts the "reality" of the actual trial?
If Michael Vick is guilty of being
a sinister thug who used his big payday to satisfy a lust for blood, who turned dogs into killers and signed off on gruesome executions when they wouldn't fight,
then he should be punished to the full extent of the law. That, however, has not yet been proven. Several people think he couldn't have done something like that, but that doesn't stop the media from flaying him before the facts are in.
The NFL thinks Vick is guilty. Michael Vick has been banned by the NFL from appearing at the Atlanta Falcons' training camp, despite still being under contract with his team, and despite his having as of yet been convicted of nothing.
Other rats are abandoning ship as well, all due to the court of public opinion. Several memorabilia and trading card companies have stopped selling Michael Vick items, all because they don't dare wait to find out whether he's guilty.
I can't help but wonder...what if it had been a white guy? Would we all be so quick to judge? But because he's a black guy who had a hard life...it's easy to make assumptions, isn't it?
Despite Michael Vick's possible involvement in dog fighting, he is a person who has just as many rights as you and I. One of his (and our) most important rights is not to be declared guilty by an angry mob.
"He's being portrayed now sort of like a monster, but that's not him," said Johnson. "I know his heart."
"Mike did everything we asked him to do," said Dan Reeves, Vick's first pro coach. "He was never any trouble, and he had a great attitude. "
Imagine his attitude now.
Update 7/31/2007: Greg Allen raised an excellent issue this morning on The Right Balance. What if this Tony Taylor has an ax to grind? What if Michael Vick is being unjustly framed for something that he didn't do, or that he wasn't nearly as involved in as he is being painted to be? Remember the Duke University case?