Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Monday, August 31, 2009

Federer poised to defend title at US Open


Tennis fans were hoping for another Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal final at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Mason, Ohio last week. Just like at the French Open Federer kept up his end of the bargain by reaching the final. Nadal didn’t make it because Novak Djokovic got into the way by beating him in the semis.

Federer looked razor sharp against Djokovic during the entire match, particularly in the first set. After a thirteen minute second game Federer finally broke Djokovic in running away with the first set 6-1.

Second set was highly contested before Djokovic succumbed to the Federer arsenal. He displayed an array of penetrating ground strokes and crisp volleys in capturing the second set and the championship 7-5.

Last year at this time Federer was struggling and was ranked No. 2 behind his arch rival Nadal. He had no grand slam victories to his credit and was struggling to regain his dominant form. Somehow at last years US Open Federer summoned past glory to best a weary Andy Murray in the final to capture his 13th grand slam title.

A year later he has two grand slams in his pocket. He finally won the French Open and beat Andy Roddick in a sensational final at Wimbledon. Federer is now married with twins and once again playing at the top of his game. He now enters the US Open as the No. 1 seed and feeling good about going back to the “big city of dreams” to defend his crown.

When I recently asked Federer about his fans and his current confidence level compared to last year he responded, “The fans for me really turned it around, and that’s why this year I’m so excited going back there. I’ve had even better results, so I hope I can again show them what I can do on a tennis court.”

If Federer rides his momentum into the US Open and hoists the trophy for a sixth consecutive time and wins the 2010 Australian Open he’ll have all the grand slam trophies on his mantel. The way Federer is playing the “Fed-Slam” is quite possible.

Based on the summer Federer has put together many have anointed him as the greatest tennis player of all time. When asked if he thinks he’s the greatest Federer stated, “It’s hard to compare eras, and that’s why we don’t know who it is.”

Being in the now many often fail victim to the present and forget about the games greats like Laver, Borg, Connors, Agassi and Sampras. Federer is still playing. Let’s see where he ends up after he hit’s his last ball. Let’s see if someone other than Rafa can wrestle grand slams away from Federer. Let’s see if he stays healthy for the next few years then let’s reconvene.

In any event, Federer is poised to win his sixth consecutive US Open title. Whether he’s the greatest of all time remains to be seen, but one thing is certain he’s surely one of the greatest.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Plaxico Burress: Does the time fit the crime?


Embattled former New York Giant wide receiver Plaxico Burress pled guilty to weapons charges yesterday. Now he’ll serve a 2-year prison bid for shooting himself in the thigh with an unregistered handgun last November in a Manhattan night club. If Burress didn’t plead out he could’ve gotten as much as 3 ½ years behind bars.

For some reason that just doesn’t sound right. A man shoots himself and gets a 2 year bid and Donte Stallworth was in jail for 24 days for killing a man while driving intoxicated.

Does the time fit the crime?

The New York City law is a joke-far too harsh. It makes no sense for a man to serve 2 years for being stupid. Yes, Burress should have exercised better judgment by simply registering his gun. But don’t you think 2 years in prison for being stupid is fair?

One thing is being overlooked here is intent. It’s plausible to assume Burress didn’t leave his home, go to the nightclub with the intent of shooting himself. He didn’t intend to harm himself or anyone else. Burress wasn’t operating in the capacity of a criminal nor sought to engage in any wrong-doing. In all likelihood the gun was for protection.

Agreed?

In essence Burress is being punished for his celebrity and what “could” have happened. Let’s be real here, Burress accidentally shot himself then goes to the hospital for treatment and that’s it. Purely accidental. But the kicker is Burress didn’t register his gun with the state. For that he will soon sit in a prison for two years to ponder his thoughts.

Again, does that seem fair?

To add further salt to the wound NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Burress for the length of his prison term. Once complete he can be reinstated and sign with a team of his choice. Burress will be 34 when he completes his bid. Without question it wasn’t a good day for Mr. Burress.

Even though Burress put himself in this position doesn’t negate the fact the New York gun laws are too severe. Why isn’t anyone speaking out in trying to get it changed? Why hasn’t any of his “friends” in the NFL spoken out against the law?

Where were his NFL buddies while he was going through this fiasco? At least Terrell Owens spoke out on Michael Vick’s suspension by Goodell by freely saying it was too harsh. Seems like if Burress would’ve had the support of his fellow NFL brethren perhaps, just perhaps it could’ve helped to get Burress a measure of leniency.

Professional athletes, especially African American, only speak out when their individual well-being is threatened. Rarely do they speak for the betterment of others.

This is not the 1960’s. We live in an “I got mine, you get yours world.” Sad indeed. People need to realize that for those who are “getting theirs” someone from back in the day paved the way. Those endorsement deals you get on the side and million-dollar contracts you have largely came through the efforts of Curt Flood and other pioneers who made sacrifices.

Oh well, would’ve been nice for Burress’ former cronies speak out against the severity of his sentence and show support instead of mainstream and corporate obedience by being distant. At the end of the day Burress is responsible for his actions. Just doesn’t seem like the time he’s serving fits the crime.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Favre is back, but does anyone care?


Brett Favre flew in to Minnesota yesterday afternoon cavalier style to become the newest Minnesota Viking quarterback. After being followed by a helicopter as he was in the air to being flanked by Viking personnel as he landed head coach Brad Childress finally got his man. This news came out of the bushes to become the story of the day in sports. But questions linger. Can Favre still play? Will Minnesota make it to the Super Bowl? How do the fans feel in Packer-land?

Given Favre’s wayward decision-making on retirement in recent years does anyone care anymore?

Favre inherits a team that features arguably the best running back in the game in Adrian Petersen, a great defense led by Jared Allen and an offense he’s very familiar with. Seems like all the ingredients are in place to make a run at the Super Bowl but the key is will Favre’s throwing arm hold up long enough.

One can question how the Favre signing went down. Why did the Viking organization have to do it such secrecy like the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick? Why the Viking organization lead everyone to think Favre was done only to get him off the riding mower in Mississippi for yet another season? No matter how the deal went down from a football standpoint the move make sense.

Why?

Because no matter how you feel about Favre the bottom line is he gives the Vikings the best chance to win on Sunday. Period. Sage Rosenfels and Tavaris Jackson aren’t going to get a team to the Super Bowl. Some could argue a soon-to-be 40 year old quarterback can’t either. But Favre at nearly 40 is better than the journeymen (Rosenfels) and the oft injured youngster (Jackson) put together.

For those who criticize Favre for not being upfront about his plans have a legitimate gripe. People have grown weary of hearing the same ole back and forth drama he likes to engage in. I’m not terribly fond of Favre but I understand to a degree why he often wavers. As he stated yesterday about coming back he stated, “I still love to play football no matter who it’s with.”

Favre is man who makes millions of dollars for playing a game. He’s a man who was once perceived as the games best quarterback. He’s a man who is beloved by many in the sports world. He’s one of 32 men who play at the marquee position in sports. Running out of an NFL tunnel being perceived as “the” man has to induce a remarkable high most of us will never feel.

In society most of us die once: professional athletes die twice. Most of us will work until we are 65 and ride off into the sunset. If an NFL player is lucky he’ll play into his mid 30’s-the NFL average career span is just over 3 years but in society the number is much larger.

What’s my point?

It’s difficult to replace the euphoria of being beloved, paid millions of dollars, and leaving something you love. It’s difficult to walk away from something you have passion for and not having something to replace it with such a long life ahead of you. Favre is a football player. He’s won’t be doing commentary for ESPN, become a head coach, or a general manager when he’s finally retires. When Favre is done, whenever that is, he’ll retreat back to Mississippi in his 40’s with full life ahead of him without football.

When asked if his legacy will be affected by his latest comeback Favre shot back with, “When people start talking about my legacy it’s mine.”

Isn’t that true?

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what you and I feel. Favre can do what he wants. If feels he can play he should play. Favre will end up playing until either he can’t do it anymore or until nobody wants him.

ESPN made Favre their top story yesterday, the Minnesota Vikings got the man they really wanted and the fans in Viking country are largely happy.

Does anyone care about what Favre does?

Sure seems like it doesn’t it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Y.E. Yang tames Tiger Woods, greatest upset ever?


Tiger Woods got looked squared in the eyes by self-taught golfer S. Korean Y.E. Yang on Sunday and tamed Tiger. Yang snatched the PGA Championship away from arguably the greatest player of all time. It was essentially match play golf for the last 18 holes as no other players seriously threatened Woods or Yang. But at days end the 37 year-old hoisted the trophy in triumph while Woods abruptly left the course refusing to speak to course-side reporters.

We all know Woods resume. We know of his perceived invincibility, the legendary shots, his 70 tour victories and his 14 Major Championships, and mental toughness. But not of that seemed to matter to Yang yesterday. We know that Woods will probably go down as the greatest of all time, but yesterday Yang was just better.

Yang’s Victory has to be one of the greatest upsets in sports. Yang didn’t take up golf until he was 19 years old who never had a coach until recently. The 110th ranked unknown got his first tour of the year at this year’s Honda Classic-his second was winning the PGA Championship over Tiger Woods.

Woods simply didn’t make any putts. Fans, myself included, kept waiting for Woods to make a run but it never happened. Woods said, “I made absolutely nothing.” He continued “You have to make puts and I didn’t do that. Today is a day that didn’t happen.”

Yang did something to Woods on golf’s grandest stage know other player has been able to do. Woods didn’t lose the PGA Championship. Yang took it away from him.

Yang chipped in for eagle on No. 14 to take a two shot lead. Then on No. 18 he nearly holed-out when he drilled using a hybrid from just over 200 yards to make birdie. Yang, the first Asian born player to ever win a major ousted the first African American to ever win a major.

Yang triumph takes me back to 1964 when a loud-mouthed 21 year old told the world he was the greatest of all-time. Cassius Clay, later to be Muhammad Ali said he would beat the indestructible Sonny Liston. Clay, a man of his word, beat Liston into submission when Liston couldn’t answer the bell after round seven. His efforts made him the heavyweight champion of the world.

How about Lake Placid at the 1980 Olympics? Herb Brooks took his young hockey team and beat the mighty Russian team that was thought to be unbeatable. The Russian players were bigger, stronger, faster, and simply better. Probably so, but it was hockey team lead by Mike Eruzione and goalie Jim Craig that took home the gold medal after beat Finland in the final.

This takes me back to 1985 when the Villanova Wildcats squared off against the mighty Georgetown Hoyas for the NCAA Championship. Few gave the undermanned Wildcats a chance to supplant John Thompson’s team lead by Patrick Ewing: but when the last second ticked off the clock the Wildcats where the champions.

Most sports fans can remember where they were in 1990 when “the baddest man on the planet” Mike Tyson took on unknown James “Buster” Douglas. It was a match Tyson was expected to win easily. Instead Douglas beat the pants off Tyson as he was counted out as he was fumbling about on his knees trying to secure his mouthpiece.

Where does Yang’s feat rank amongst sports greatest upsets? That’s up for debate like most things in life but there’s a lesson here nonetheless. No matter how great a person or a team there is always a change of being beat despite your perceived aura of invincibility.

We all know Tiger Woods will probably go down as the greatest golfer of all time: but for 18 holes of golf yesterday Y.E. Yang was the better player.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rod Woodson: Local kid does good, enters Pro Football Hall of Fame


On August 8th Rod Woodson entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While beginning his speech he quickly issued the following, “But first I want to thank my lord Jesus Christ. He is my savior. He died for my sins and my salvation, and really without him I would not be here.” Woodson continued, “And without his mercy, without his love, and without his compassion for me as a person, as a human being, as one of his children, I wouldn’t be here. So I say thank you Jesus.”

The most poignant moment for me during his speech was when Woodson spoke about race and ethnicity and growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He talked about how people still unfortunately judge you by color over character. Woodson issued the following, “I grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, in a biracial relationship. And it taught me a lot. I think it taught me early in life that people will judge you by your skin color. Not the content of your character.” Woodson continued, “Society wants us to choose what side they’re on. You know, we always want to choose, but we don’t have to choose. God made you what you are, remember that.”

As his life-long friend Tracy Foster suggested while introducing Wood the “reluctant hero” used his athletic platform to issue the following message to biracial children of the world. The only time he nearly choked up during his lengthy speech Woodson stated, “You people who have mixed marriages tell your kids they do not have to choose what side they’re on. You know, we always want to choose, but we don’t have to choose. God made you what you are, remember that.”

Hallelujah! Someone who uses his platform for something other than self-promotion is refreshing.

Woodson went on to talk about his family and how instrumental they were in his development as a child. He thanked his former coaches from his PAL up to the pros. He thanked his wife of 17 years for “saying yes” and for giving him five wonderful children.

Woodson went on to mention three men who were very instrumental in shaping his faith. The first was local agent Eugene Parker. Those who know Parker know his faith is very important to him. Woodson thanked him for being a more than his agent. He thanked him for being a mentor and teaching him that word is really bond.

Next it was Rodney Harrison who was the team chaplain with the Baltimore Ravens who helped to lead him down the righteous path to fully embrace the word of God. Then finally it was former NFL player and now Senior Pastor Napoleon Kaufman he thanked for helping him become a man of God out in California.

Woodson briefly talked about his days in Pittsburgh and some advice legendary coach Chuck Knoll uttered. Knoll told Woodson, “You have to get on and do your lifes work.”

It appears that Woodson is doing his lifes work after football. He’s a man of faith who is about faith, family, and helping children. He’s using his celebrity for the betterment of those around him and afar. And the great thing about is he’s not seeking the limelight of the press. He’s now seeking the light of God.

You see, football is what Woodson did, it’s not who he was. His speech clearly defined that.

Speaking of the power of choice Woodson ended his speech with Matthew 22:14. Woodson concluded his speech by saying, “I leave you today with these thoughts. Choose. Choose to love rather than hate. Choose to create rather than to destroy. Choose to persevere rather to quit. Choose to praise rather than gossip. Choose to pray, rather than curse. Choose to live, rather than die. Choose Jesus Christ over the world. God bless you.”

I found it to rather in interesting while covering the Hall of Fame ceremonies that Woodson talked very little about sports. He mostly talked about his faith, his family, friends and those who helped him along the way. He talked about race and ethnicity and the power of choice. It’s rare for a football player entering the Hall of Fame to talk about such things, but I guess that’s Woodson’s choice.

Oh by the way, he was a heck of a football player too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Curt Flood belongs in the Major League Hall of Fame


The recent rumblings that Commissioner Bug Selig may consider lifting the ban on Pete Rose and allow him in the chance of getting into the Hall of Fame got me to thinking: if Rose is being considered why isn’t….

Not so fast.

Without question 1969 was a historic year in society and sports. Man walked on the moon. In sports Rod Laver won the Grand Slam of tennis. The New York Jets behind quarterback Joe Namath “guarantee” beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Bill Russell led his Boston Celtics to an NBA Championship as player/coach. The New York “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets won the World Series.

Watching the Major League All-Star game in St. Louis several weeks ago ignited memories of those great Cardinal teams of the 1960’s with Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tim McCarver, Bill White, and Roger Maris. But there was a diminutive center fielder that was fleet of foot, hit for average, stole bases, and was a gold-glover with the Cardinals. This player was a part of two Cardinal World Series Championships in 1964 and 1967.

Who is this man?

Curt Flood.

When covering last years World Series I spoke to one of Flood’s teammates FOX Baseball Sports Analyst Tim McCarver. I asked McCarver point blank should Curt Flood be in the Hall of Fame. He responded, “Without question Curt Flood belongs in the Hall of Fame. He was great baseball player, a great man and he was my friend.”

Then I spoke with MLB.COM and television analyst Harold Reynolds. On whether Flood belongs in the Hall of Fame Reynolds responded, "Yes. When you look at both his play and what he did off the field there’s no doubt. When you look at what he did as a player and what he did to help players he should be in the Hall of Fame. As a player alone it's arguable whether he should be there or not but when you look at the social significance Curt Flood should be in the Hall of Fame."

Flood’s numbers on the field:

*Lifetime batting average of .293

*1861 career hits

*7X gold glove winner

*2X World Series Champion

*When he retired in 1971 he’d played more games in center field in National League history except for Willie Mays and Richie Asburn.

Now for what Flood did off the field.

In 1969 Flood was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Flood refused to report to the Phillies because he felt the trade wasn’t just. Back in the day baseball operated on the “reserve clause.” That meant owners essentially owned the players. Owners could trade or cut a player and there wasn’t anything they could do about it.

The latter clearly violated Americas’ anti-trust laws. But legal deity Oliver Wendell Holmes stated that Major League baseball would be exempt from anti-trust laws thus enabling owners to exercise total control over players.

Flood didn’t agree with the trade, the reserve clause, or Oliver Wendell Holmes. He felt if he there was a decision being made on his fate he should be involved in the decision-making process. Flood boldly sued major league baseball in 1970. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court where he lost on a vote of 5-3.

Though Flood didn’t win he opened the door that Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally to ultimately would walk through in 1975 giving birth to free agency. Shortly before he died in 1997 Flood stated, “All of the grand work was laid for people who came after me. The Supreme Court decided not to give it to me, so they gave it to the two white guys. I think that’s what they were waiting for.”

Flood sacrificed his career for the betterment of all players. On the field his accomplishments are noteworthy and warrant strong Hall of Fame consideration: his off the field heroism only adds to his forgotten work of legend.

Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Bill White are on the Veterans Committee. They went to war with Flood during the 1960’s yet they seemingly have nothing to say about their late friend getting his just due?

Jackie Robinson provided African Americans a chance to play the baseball. Flood is an overlooked pioneer who allowed all players to get paid. It would be nice for the Hall of Fame to pay Curt Flood back for what he did on the field as well as off it.

If Pete Rose is kept out of the Hall of Fame for what he did off the field that shamed the game why shouldn’t Flood be in the Hall of Fame for righting an obvious wrong that benefited the game?

Put Curt Flood in the Hall of Fame.

Henry Louis Gates: Esteemed scholar treated like second-class slave


The late historian Carl Degler stated the following many years ago: “The central question of the twentieth century is whether the United States will be able to work out a biracial society in which blacks and whites will be able to live together in mutual respect and justice. That question is still open, not only because such a society has not been achieved in the United States, but because it has not been achieved in any nation in which whites dominate.”

That statement still rings true today.

When President Obama extended an invitation to Henry Louis Gates and SGT. James Crowley many thought there would be sweeping change and we could rally around this “teachable moment” that was about to take place.

Yeah right.

When Professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested by SGT. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department several weeks at his home on disorderly conduct charges it ignited uncomfortable dialogue about racism and racial profiling. Gates felt he was unnecessarily harassed by Crowley because he was “a black man in America.”

To mend fences President Obama first had to back peddle from his comments suggesting the Cambridge Police Department “acted stupidly” in handling the Gates situation. He soon cleaned up his statement by suggesting he could’ve “calibrated” his words differently. Then he recently arranged a Happy Hour session over beers with Crowley and Gates at the White House. Apparently no apologies or admission of wrong-doing was offered by either side. In short, both parties respectfully agreed to disagree.

What happened to this “teachable moment” that was supposed to bring closure to this situation?
What was really accomplished?

Where are the results?

This meeting was staged to give the appearance of healing when actuality it was to assist in sweeping this racial situation under the rug. It was mere political posturing to merely add to the allure of President Obama. Obama’s track record in dealing with racism is sad to say the least. He avoids racial situations like the plague. In essence the president merely assisted in watering down a situation that could’ve been a real “teachable moment” if he dared.

So let’s get this straight. A man gets arrested for attempting to enter his own property then he charged with disorderly conduct? Despite his impeccable credentials Gates was treated like he was second-class slave: he was stripped of his titles and the power of the police transcended who Gates was a man. Without question part of his treatment stemmed from a combination of racism, racial profiling and ignorance.


Some are quick to point out there was an African American cop along with Crowley who suggested he acted justly in handling Gates. What’s lost here is if Crowley acted so justly why where charges immediately dropped?

Two things to note of importance here: it’s difficult to speak out and keep your job. Secondly, just because you are African American doesn’t mean you are sensitive to their plights nor even care. Many subscribe to the Uncle Tom way of life. These types of African Americans appease to the white establishment to gain favor amongst their white bretheren. In short, you can be African American by race but white by heart.

Gates shouldn’t have met with the President and Crowley: he should’ve been strategizing with his lawyer on pursuing legal action against the Cambridge Police Department. Instead of having a beer with the source of his problems (Crowley) and President Obama Gates should’ve reflected on how humiliated he felt when he was handcuffed unnecessarily. Instead he was lulled to sleep by the allure of President Obama which stymied Gates initial passion for true justice to subside.

Bottom line: most are afraid to openly talk about race. The time has come to have what I call table-talk. Put it all out there and begin to let the chips fall.

How?

Gather the top historians, teachers, media personalities, athletes, entertainers, and citizens and have an ongoing summit that’s geared towards social inclusion and understanding. Broadcast live for all to see. The first order of business is to talk openly deal with the significance of slavery and the impact it’s had in America. African Americans can openly voice how they feel and why. In turn misinformed whites would understand the source from which social differences arise and America can constructively begin to truly heal.

Sadly the latter won’t happen soon. First, President Obama won’t dare go there because racism is clearly not on his agenda. Secondly, a segment of white America can’t talk about slavery openly. Once African Americans raise doubt in the system beginning with slavery they are typically labeled angry agitators.

The Gates arrest was the perfect catalyst to ignite that much needed discussion and provide possible future resolution. Instead, true to form President Obama watered the situation down and relied on the, “can’t we all just get along” cliché instead of attacking the problem vehemently and constructively.

So much for that “teachable moment.”

The saga of Michael Vick continues, seeks team but not takers


Michael Vick is back. But when will he suit up? Commission Roger Goodell reinstated Vick but only on a conditional basis. He can sign with a team and practice and he’s permitted to play in final two games of pre-season (providing he finds a team to sign him) but its possible Vick won’t be fully reinstated until October.

Huh?

I’m sorry but this makes no sense. Didn’t this guy serve 23 months of federal time? Has he taken a snap in the NFL since December of 2006?

Vick has paid his debt in full to society and the NFL. The conditional suspension simply adds salt to the wounds of Vick. During his 23 month sentence Vick lost his job, money, endorsements, and more importantly the respect his name use to garner. Now the commissioner gives him even more time away from potentially working his magic.

To make things worse ESPN ran recent poll of asking participants who they thought were the most disliked athletes in sports were. Of the top ten athletes 8 were African American and Hispanic. Number 9 and 10 were white. To my surprise Michael Vick was number one. Yes, a man who hasn’t played football since December of 2006 is the most disliked athlete in sports today according to ESPN’s poll.

More interesting the number 10 most disliked was John McEnroe. Now that’s laughable. Mac hasn’t played on the ATP tennis tour since 1992 full time and he’s on the list? Perhaps he was just a throw in to provide racial balance?

In any event, let’s look at the bigger picture here: ESPN and the media is seemingly is attempting to socially engineer the public to further punish Vick. The negative press is being utilized as a tool to make it difficult for Vick to get his life together. The media is cleverly creating an atmosphere that’s discouraging teams to give him a chance. As it stands now over half the teams in the league said that don’t want Vick.

The media and the NFL hierarchy seemingly are attempting to do destroy Vick like Major League baseball has done to Barry Bonds. It’s too bad Vick has to pay late fees on the debt that’s already been satisfied. Suggesting he switch positions, further tarnishing his name, being black-balled by teams and the media, and trying to force him to play in the newly formed UFL simply isn’t right.

When will the haters let this man move on?

Vick shouldn’t have such a big problem finding a home. With the rust he’s arguably better than some potential starters right now. What about Cleveland? Derek Andersen and Brady Quinn together aren’t better than Michael Vick.

What about Seattle? Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace aren’t better than Michael Vick. Plus head coach Jim Mora coached Vick in Atlanta. The move makes sense.

What about the Minnesota Vikings? Now that Brett Favre dissed them and Tavaris Jackson is hobbled with a MCL strain leaving Sage Rosenfells as the guy. Why shouldn’t Vick hand the ball of to Adrian Petersen and run that west-coast offense similar to what he was running in Atlanta when he was the highest paid quarterback in the league?

Looking at the grand scheme of the Michael Vick situation it’s a shame we live in sanctimonious hypocritical society.

Why?

Michael Vick was convicted of funding a gambling ring and helping to kill some dogs. Dog fighting, particularly in the south is part of African American culture. But when Peyton Manning and Brett Favre dawn their camouflage and kill deer that’s considered sport?

From a legislative standpoint what you have the likes of Donte Stallworth who gets boozed up in Miami Beach, Florida and kills an innocent man after a night of partying. Stallworth serves 30 days in jail and pays the deceased family a large settlement and gets house arrest.

Meanwhile Michael Vick serves a 23 month sentence for funding a gambling ring and killing some dogs and Stallworth gets 30 days for killing a human being? Cut the cards as you wish but there’s no plausible answer to justify killing a human being warrants a 30 day jail sentence and killing some dogs gets you 23 months of federal time.

Vick has been punished enough. The time has come to stop trying to switch him to another position, stop bashing him in the media, and let this man continue to get his life together.

Terrell Owens bashes NFL for treatment of Michael Vick


T.O. speaks! And surprisingly it was highly relevant. Terrell Owens recently spoke on Michael Vick’s recent conditional reinstatement and suspension. Owens suggested Vick has paid his debt to society and he shouldn’t have been punished further by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Speaking at Buffalo Bills training camp the wide receiver recently issued the following on Vick:
"I think the way the commissioner is handling it is unfair to Michael Vick," Owens said. "I think he's done the time for what he's done. I don't think it's really fair for him to be suspended four more games. It's almost like kicking a dead horse in the ground.”

Owens continued: "A lot of the guys around the league need to speak up. I think the players' union needs to step in because the guy's already suffered so much, and to add a four-game suspension onto a two-year prison sentence, I mean, that's ridiculous."

Also, after his press conference Owens suggested Goodell should try spending 23 months in prison and see how it feels.

Halleluiah! There is hope!

When Owens spoke out I was pleasantly surprised that an African American athlete used their platform for something other than self-promotion and to appease to white corporate America. Finally, someone said something that was relevant and timely and yet it the media didn’t give it much attention.

Gee, I wonder why.

No, Owens didn’t bash anyone like he did Donovan McNabb five years ago for not being in shape. No, Owens wasn’t surrounded by reporters as he ridiculously trained in his drive in army fatigues before ultimately signing with the Dallas Cowboys. Nor was Owens crying at a press conference because of the media’s harassment of former teammate Tony Romo.

I can’t believe it. NFL wide receiver turned reality show star Terrell Owens finally did something of relevance off the field. Not only did Owens speak out in support of Vick he challenged the NFL hierarchy (Commission Roger Goodell) and didn’t shy away from his words.
I’ve long called for the African American athlete to get involved: I’ve long called for modern-day stars to use their platforms for other than self-promotion. It would be nice if Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LaDainian Tomlinson and others should put their money where their collective mouths are.

I’m not holding my breath.

Long gone are the Jackie Robinsons’, Muhammad Alis’, Jim Browns’ Curt Floods’ and the Bill Russells’. The latter athletes along with others have made it conducive for the modern-day star to be privileged. No, Owens didn’t speak against the ugliness of racism, nor did he assemble African American athletes like Jim Brown did for Muhammad Ali in 1967. But it’s a step in the right direction if other athletes would simply speak.

Without question there’s a collective fear amongst African American athletes to go public with controversial topics. Rarely will they divulge in public what they’ll utter in secrecy. Usually the athlete will subscribe to the social script and keep quiet or offer nothing. But for a fleeting moment at the Buffalo Bills training camp Owens kept it real.

Personally I’ve never met Owens. Some of his behavior in the past can be considered rather ridiculous. But in the grand scheme of things what has he done besides want to win? The facts are he’s never been in trouble with the law, doesn’t smoke or drink, never been convicted of a crime, and he’s one of the best receivers in the NFL.

Right or wrong?

We’ll see how bad the Cowboys will miss him this year in their new billion-dollar stadium.
I’ve always felt to much is given much is expected. Those in privileged positions should lift as well as climb. But sadly the more money the professional athletes earn the less they are to speak out on issues such as racism and inequality. I was beginning to lose hope until Owens stepped up.

The Owens moment came and went without a lot of media attention. Had Owens shot someone (or himself), been accused of assault, or caught taking steroids the media would’ve feasted on the coverage. But because he spoke out against the establishment, called for players to unite and speak out against inequity the coverage was squashed.

Owens demonstrated he can be relevant and provide substance to situations when needed. Kudos to Terrell Owens for doing something other African American athletes are afraid to do.
Speak out.