You won’t find any fawning Pro Sports fans here at Grand Rants, so if that’s what floats your boat, you might as well enter the URL for ESPN and be done with it.
For a long time, it has been the opinion of all three writers here at Grand Rants that Pro Sports, like the entertainment world in general, is emblematic of all that is wrong with American Society: Greed, avarice, and the absolute willingness to rush headlong towards the lowest common denominator in society and cling to it as if it were an enviable aspiration. We Americans have come to embrace hype over substance and are willing to look the other way at any and all behavior, no matter how abhorrent, as long as the person is good-looking or famous. Nothing illustrates this so well as the media and public response to celebrities and professional athletes.
Ask yourself: Would Charlie Sheen be the subject of such adulation (from both sexes for, sadly, many of the same reasons) if he weren’t a star of TV/Movies?
Would Michael Vick have been welcomed back to his old job after serving time for his involvement in illegal dog fighting if he was a computer operator instead of an NFL quarterback? What message does it send, not just to the other NFL players, but to children who look up to professional athletes as their inspiration? This is a tragic case of opportunity lost (or as Barack Obama would call it, “A Teachable Moment”) and, as a society, we’re too damned stupid to even understand what, exactly, we’re missing.
Case in point: The sports world is buzzing over the performance of Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick logged on Monday Night Football’s matchup against the Washington Redskins. In that game Vick passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 80 yards and another two touchdowns. On the first play of the game, Vick threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson.
In the end, the Eagles romped to a 59–28 victory and the ESPN broadcasters went into a sustained orgasm, drooling all over one another in an embarrassing display of fawning. One would hope that if and when the second coming of Jesus Christ occurs, he will be afforded half of the accolades lauded on Vick.
On the basis of this game, Vick was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame asked for his game jersey to display as Vick became the first player to pass for three touchdowns and rush for two touchdowns in the first half of a game.
Not bad for a Dog Killer Extraordinaire. Or did they forget that little footnote? In case you did, here’s a quick refresher for you; a signed admission of guilt by Michael Vick and an article I did on Michael Vick when the Philadelphia Eagles welcomed him back.
And the hype… to hear the press coverage, you would think this was the biggest rehabilitation in pro football since the resurrection of Willie (Steamin’) Beamen (the quarterback in the fictional film “On Any Given Sunday”). And ESPN was, perhaps, the worst of the offenders since MNF airs on the network of “Anything Goes As Long As You’re A Winner.”
But there’s no conflict here at Grand Rants. Far be it from me to interject a little sanity and truth into the fray, but no matter what stats Vick compiles, it will never outshine the horrors and atrocities he inflicted on innocent dogs, nor will it ever whitewash the fact that he has displayed behavior than can only be described as psychopathic. And the mere 16 months he spent behind bars doesn’t even come close to payment in full for the atrocities he inflicted, not just on the dogs he was responsible for killing, but for the tortured dogs who will never fully recover from their ordeal… not in 16 months, nor 16 years.
For every touchdown pass, there’s a dog shaking in fear somewhere. For every bruise to Vick’s ribs at the end of a game, there are untold scars (physical and emotional) in those dogs who managed to survive his psychopathic behavior.
It’s a common belief in the psychiatry field that a psychopath is never truly “healed” from his/her behavior. The NFL and ESPN would have you forgive and forget Vick’s brutality. But hype and hoopla from the likes of the morally clueless like ESPN’s Mike Sando (who just bumped Vick up to the number 3 position in his so-called “MVP Watch“) cannot and never will cover the truth about people like Vick. They are little different to those “journalists” who, 2 years ago, didn’t have the guts (or intelligence) to vet Barack Obama.
Vick has made statements apologizing for his actions, but they read like something from a legal brief written by his lawyer and edited by his publicist. There were a few appearances where he spoke out against the kind of abuse he perpetrated on his dogs, but once the cameras were turned off and there was nothing further to be gained, it seemed those appearances ended. And it’s simply gone back to “All About Michael.” A quick trip to his website has nothing other than a photo of Vick with the plea to “Vote For Michael Vick – 2011 Pro Bowl” with a link to the NFL web site entry ballot. All about Michael…
Not that I give a rat’s ass, but one wonders just what kind of parameters Mike Sando employs when coming up with his MVP list. Obviously, statistics are the key, but apparently character doesn’t weigh heavily in the process. If only Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Tung and Sadam Hussein had good throwing arms and running games, perhaps Sando would find room on his “prestigious” MVP watch on ESPN for them as well.
Let me make this clear: The moment Michael Vick’s name appeared on Sando’s list, Sando himself lost any claim to having anything prestigious (or credible) about his work and merely became another contributor to the decline of western civilization as we know it. Period.
And somewhere, OJ Simpson must be sitting in his prison cell thinking, “Damn! Maybe if I had committed my crime when I was playing in my prime, I’d still be in the hall of fame and I’d probably be doing play-by-play coverage at ESPN!”
Damn the luck, eh, OJ?