Monday, July 30, 2007

Homeboys and Pitbulls

Someone help me understand what’s wrong with Michael Vick. How does a person turn their back on millions of dollars to make a few bucks watching pit bulls go at it until one of them dies? Of course my statement assumes the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons is guilty of the federal dog fighting charges he faces in Richmond.
Nike suspended its lucrative contract with Vick on Friday, while Reebok stopped sales of his No. 7 jersey. This on top of not being able to draw from his contract with the Falcons while he waits for a verdict on the charges facing him.
It is true that one is innocent until proven guilty. For all we know Vick was clueless that his cousin and homeboy’s were using the property he owns in rural Virginia to train 66 dogs, including 55 pit bulls to go to war. Yes, he may be that stupid. One thing is clear. If that is true, Vick, like many black men enamored with maintaining street credibility, is guilty of surrounding himself with people willing to use his resources in a way that could destroy everything he’s worked hard to build.
This is another example of being careful when choosing your friends. I’m down with not judging a person too soon, but shucks, if you hang with pigs long enough eventually you’ll end up smelling like your home is a pigpen. Vick is guilty of thinking, “Yo, those my homeboys”. Whatever. Truth is, as much as Vick wanted to be down with his boys, one thing prevails- he had much more to loose than they did. He is living with a higher level of responsibility, and, as a consequence, needed to deal with the burden of carrying people unwilling to protect his interest.
What is Vicks interest? He’s an African American quarterback in the NFL. For those of this Hip-Hop generation that’s not a big deal. For me and others who can remember back in the day, it means so much more. I will never forget the tears flowing from my eyes when Doug Williams led the Redskins to a Super Bowl win. Never mind I hate the freaking Redskins. I grew up a St. Louis Cardinals fan. The Cardinals, before they were shipped out to Arizona and the Rams replaced them in St. Louis, were in the same division as the Redskins. Those Deadskins were our divisional rivalry, but when it came to that game I wanted them to win because of Doug Williams.
As a former quarterback I fought to overcome the view that black quarterbacks lacked the stuff to succeed at the position. It was assumed that our natural place was to run and catch the ball, and to do a silly dance once we got to the end zone. The quarterback position required intelligence and leadership. Williams proved that black folks could do the job. Others followed to solidify the claim.
Then comes the knucklehead named Vick who lacks an appreciation for the history of the struggles to secure his right to stand behind the center. Too many people fought for his right to be there. How can he forget Joe Gilliam, the former quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers who was set to start ahead of Terry Bradshaw before getting hurt? How can he forget that Warren Moon was forced to go to Canada to play because no one was willing to give him a chance in the NFL. He went on to post Hall of Fame numbers.
The position denotes responsibility. We should never forget the sacrifices that went into his right to play the game and make the money that comes with getting that chance to play. His boys don’t care. They wanted to make their own way by playing games. The problem is they used dogs instead of pigskin. It’s sad how your friends can get in the way of your progress. Sometimes you simply have to let them go.

Carl W. Kenney II,


  1. It is sad for this great athlete. It seems the people closest to him would have sought to protect him from this type of onslaught. I pray for his innocence. I know so many of our young men seem to easily ignore the beauty of dogs as a part of God's creation. The cruelty of this underworld eventually spills over to inhumanity to one another. Let's keep praying for the brothers everyone enslaved by the lure of dogfighting...

  2. If the people around you are not committed to excellence and higher standards then you don't need to be around them. Michael has to be held accountable for something. All of this couldn't have been going on in HIS house and he didn't know something. The fruit doesn't fall far from it's tree.