First, he plays the race card:
Next, I feel sympathy for Vick because there is racial animus in the current turn of events. If Vick really is guilty of cruelty to animals and associating with lowlife gamblers, these things leave him open to a kind of condemnation that has nothing to do with race. But don't you just sense there are loads of people who are happy to have the chance to condemn the first African-American quarterback who was drafted first overall -- via an accusation that has nothing to do with race? That there might be racial animus against Vick is not an excuse; he is responsible for his actions regardless of what others do or think. But suppose everything about the Michael Vick controversy was exactly the same except Vick was a white quarterback from an upper-middle-class family in Winnetka, Ill., Newport Beach, Calif., or Coral Gables, Fla. Can you say with a straight face that the public reaction and government action would the same?No, actually, I don’t “sense that there are loads of people who are happy to have the chance to condemn the first African-American quarterback who was drafted first overall.” In fact, until TMQ wrote that, I didn’t even know that was the case. Does TMQ really want us to believe that people care that Vick was a black QB drafted first? Is there some subset of knuckle-draggers out there thinking “I can’t wait to knock that cocky black quarterback down a peg or two, just to show him that white quarterbacks should always be taken first!” Don’t black players routinely get taken first overall?
Now, if he wants to say that there’s a racial line between Vick’s attackers and defenders, that might be true. Is it because dogfighting is popular among blacks and viewed askance by whites? I dunno. I’m white, and I don’t know anything about dog fighting. Clinton Portis claimed he knew quite a bit about it, and he’s black. Wouldn’t be the first time whites and blacks looked at an issue differently.
But honestly, this is the first time a professional player has been accused of widespread animal cruelty. It’s uncharted waters. If we were talking about attempted murder, or wife beating, or rape, we’ve been there before. But this is new. How can TMQ just *know* that the response to a white player would be different? Would TMQ’s reaction be different if it were a white player?
If that’s the case, then TMQ’s the racist.
Second, the “where good keep silent evil reigns” card:
Deion Sanders wrote of Vick's dogs, "Maybe he identified with them in some way." NFL Network quickly invoked Sanders' contract terms to require he not comment on Vick and the dogs again. Why does Roger Goodell, a good man, fear Deion speaking his mind about Vick and dogs? When the good fear honest speech, all should tremble. And if Vick is railroaded, who will say so?TMQ chooses to quote just one small part of Deion’s long, rambling, quasi-literate defense of Michael Vick. I urge you to read the whole diatribe here, a masterpiece of unintentional comedy (to borrow a phrase). I think that Roger Goodell probably forced Deion to keep his mouth shut for Deion’s own good, as well as the good of the network, and not out of fear of Deion revealing some terrible truth.
I don’t think it’s honest speech Goodell fears, I think it’s stupid speech. There’s a difference.
Third, the “It’s Nice Out Here in Left Field” defense:
You don't need to be Dr. Freud to see the parallels between killing a dog that lost a fight and cutting an NFL player who had a bad game -- or shrugging as a soldier dies in the Iraq desert because the Pentagon didn't care that a corrupt defense contractor stole the money that was supposed to be used for armor.What the hell? Where did that come from? Is TMQ assuming that we’re all cocaine junkies like Freud, so we get his out-of-left-field simile between the Iraq war and dog fighting?
The first analogy, I get. Killing a loser dog is like ending the career of a loser NFL player. Except that rarely does an NFL player get cut for one games’ performance, and they’re free to take up other professions, and they choose to be NFL players instead of, say, warehouse guards or super models. Other than that, it’s a pretty robust analogy.
Worse, though, is TMQ’s implication that if a defense contractor stole money and then a soldier died a third party who doesn’t immediately storm the Bastille in protest is as guilty as if they’d killed the soldier themselves on purpose for not having armor. In what origami world does this spaghetti logic work?
I wrote before about how I was worried that TMQ was slipping into anti-conservative dementia; I’m afraid that this has to go into the “evidence” pile.
Now, let’s try out the last part of that crazy analogy and see if we can find something that fits:
“You don’t need to be Dr. Freud to see the parallels between shrugging as a soldier dies in the Iraq desert because the Pentagon didn’t care that a corrupt defense contractor stole the money that was supposed to be used for armor, and trying to defend a lowlife who set up rape stands and wantonly murdered dogs in a barbaric practice that all civilized peoples abandoned over a hundred years ago.”
I think that fits a little better, but it probably doesn’t salve his conscience as much as self-righteousness does.