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article imageOp-Ed: Michael Vick and the Color Of Anger

By Hargrove Jones     Dec 11, 2007 in Sports
A lot of people are angry at Michael Vick about that dog thing. Kind of like they're mad at O.J. about the wife thing. Barry Bonds and steroid, along with Isaiah Washington and slurs. There's so much to be mad at, but the color of rage remains the same.
On December 10, 2007, Michael Vick was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for conspiracy to operate an interstate dogfighting ring. In his pleading he admitted that he provided most of the financing for the dog fighting operation and that he participated in several dogfights in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. He also admitted that he shared in the proceeds from these dog fights, and that he knew his colleagues killed a few dogs that did not perform well. He denied placing bets on the dogfights, and he denied killing dogs."
What he did isn't nearly as spectacular as how he got caught.
On April 20, 2007, Davon Boddie, Michael Vick's cousin, was arrested outside of a Hampton, Virginia nightclub because marijuana was identified with his vehicle, by a police dog. Boddie was found to be in possession of 3 ounces of marijuana, and was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Based on Boddie's arrest, on April 25, police obtained a search warrant for Boddie's house, that was owned by Michael Vick. The search was purportedly for drugs. Not finding drugs, but observing dogs and items related to dogfighting, a dogfighting investigation was initiated.
Whoever heard of police searching a person for drugs, based on a dog sniffing their car. If that's not incredible enough, add to it that, the possession of a mere 3 ounces of marijuana, justified a warrant to search Boddie's home for drugs. Now stretch your imagination to believe that, while the police knew the residence housed a dog kennel, merely observing dogs, and some apparatus, led the police to conclude that an investigation for dog fighting was warranted
Once they identified suspects, each and every one of them implicated Vick, as a condition of their plea deal. Making the police operation look less like a crack down on dog fighting, and more like a passion for taking Michael Vick down.
Michael Vick became the poster boy for animal cruelty, like O.J. Simpson for spousal abuse, and Wesley Snipes for income tax evasion, and Barry Bonds for steroids, and Isaiah Washington for gay bashing . . . Perhaps if we could get mad at another color, we could see how uneven our anger is.
Murder should have been suspected in the deaths of several celebrity wives. Robert Wagner's wife stepped off of a yatch into the ocean, although she was deathly afraid of water. William Shatner's wife wound up in a swimming pool, dead before she hit the water, with an injury consistent with a choke hold he'd applied to her in the past. Robert Blake's second wife was shot in the head, under conditions that he arranged, with a backdrop of abuse in his first marriage, that included putting a gun in his first wife's mouth and threatening her with a gun on another occasion. Two of these women's deaths weren't even looked at as possible homicides, and Blake was acquitted. All of these men were present when their wives died and all of them had a motive to kill them. But the only spousal death that Americans are angry about is the death of the former spouse of O.J. Simpson.
When Isaiah Washington got called to task for using the word faggot, Americans didn't even know that we weren't supposed to use that word. Before Isaiah, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter used it, and after Isaiah, T.R. Knight and Jerry Lewis used it. But it was only when Isaiah used it that Americans became enraged.
Then there was Barry Bonds, who may have at sometime used steroids. He says if he did he didn't know it. Nevertheless, the feds have investigated for five-year. Leaving no stone unturned to find proof that Barry Bonds lied, when he said he did not knowingly take steroids. Yet they won't prosecute Rafael Palmeiro who pointed his finger at the members of Congress, and while under oath, declared, "I have never used steroids. Period," and thereafter tested positive for steroid use. Barry Bonds has never tested positive for steroids. And he hasn't taken a flippant tone and pointed a finger at those in authority. But it's not Palmeiro Americans are mad at, they're just so mad at Barry Bonds.
Now there's Vick with the dogs. That makes us angry. But we weren't angry with Jack Nichols for throwing a woman down the stairs and over a hedge causing her permanent injury. The police weren't angry because they wouldn't arrest him for it. The media wasn't angry because they wouldn't write about it. Nor were we angry with Michael Douglas for hitting a gulf ball into the testicle of his caddy, and while the caddy was laid out on the ground "screaming with pain," Michael Douglas "stuffed a small amount of money into (his) pocket" and played on, saying to his companion, "I can't believe I hit the nigger." Nor were we angry at Brett Myers for punching his wife in the face and dragging her by her hair along the streets of Boston. For that, Brett Myers paid no penalty. Case dismissed.
The same federal government that imprisoned Michael Vick for his role in dog fighting, sponsors experimental use of foster care children, most of whom are *Diasporan, to test AIDS drugs. Some of these children have died. Many of them have suffered painful and debilitating consequences to their health, and in some cases, the researchers aren't even sure that the children have AIDS.
If we could change the color of our anger, perhaps we would stop imprisoning people and start uplifting them.
*Diasporan: A descendant of a survivor of the African diaspora.
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