ESPN sparks controversy, asking ‘What if Michael Vick were White?’

first_img“Race is an undeniable and complex element of Vick’s story, both because of his style as well as the rarity of Black QBs in the NFL,” Toure writes in the article. “A decade after he became the first Black QB to be drafted No. 1 overall, about one in five of the league’s passers is African-American, compared with two-thirds of all players. But after his arrest for dogfighting, so many people asked: Would a White football player have gotten nearly two years in prison for what Vick did to dogs?”The story goes on to contrast the treatment Vick received for charges of dogfighting, detail the backlash from media, and imagine what his jail sentence would have been if he were White. The story received numerous comments on its first day posted, with ESPN visitors debating everything from race to the justice system. Toure even opens the article with a controversial beginning:“I see streetball. I don’t just mean that sort of football where you have to count to four-Mississippi before you can rush the quarterback, nearly everything breaks down and it’s all great fun. I also mean street basketball,” he wrote. “Vick’s style reminds me of Allen Iverson—the speed, the court sense, the sharp cuts, the dekes, the swag. In those breathtaking moments when the Eagles QB abandons the pocket and takes off, it feels as if he’s thumbing his nose at the whole regimented, militaristic ethos of the game.”“All of that is why, to me, Vick seems to have a deeply African-American approach to the game,” Toure writes. “I’m not saying that a Black QB who stands in the pocket ain’t playing Black. I’m saying Vick’s style is so badass, so artistic, so fluid, so flamboyant, so relentless—so representative of Black athletic style—that if there were a stat for swagger points, Vick would be the No. 1 quarterback in the league by far.”The story has caused a wide range of emotions on the Internet and been covered with extensive debate on ESPN television shows “Mike and Mike” and “ESPN First Take.”(Reprinted from the Afro American.) (NNPA)—Popular sports giant ESPN drew the ire of fans last week after it ran an online article headlined “What if Michael Vick Were White?” on the front page of its football section. The article, which featured a re-digitalized picture of Vick with a White face, was quickly removed before being reposted Aug. 24. The story was written by Toure, a New York-based writer. WHAT?IF?—This illustration of Michael Vick as a White person featured in September’s edition of ESPN The Magazine is sparking controversy and debate about the role of race in football. (Courtesy Image/Photo Illustration by D’arcy Hyde for ESPN The Magazine) last_img read more

Gumbel calls NBA Commissioner Stern a “modern plantation overseer”

first_imgThe league’s lockout has stretched on for more than 100 days, causing the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season and threatening to derail the entire year.“The NBA’s infamously egocentric commissioner seems more hell-bent lately on demeaning the players than solving his game’s labor impasse,” Gumbel said on the show. “Stern’s version of what has been going on behind closed doors has of course been disputed, but his efforts were typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys.”Shaun Powell, commentator for ESPNNewYork.com, criticized Gumbel’s claims, saying Stern is the “the last person” that should be given such a label.“So let’s get this straight: The only commissioner in sports who constantly pushed for and finally secured Black ownership within his league is somehow linked to a slave master?” Powell wrote. “David Stern, who made more Black men rich than anyone in history, lives in the Big House?”Gumbel has a history of stirring up controversy. In 2006, he made headlines when he criticized a lack of diversity at the Winter Olympics.“Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of Blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention,” he said.(Reprinted from the Afro American) (NNPA)—Bryant Gumbel, host of HBO’s “Real Sports” lashed out at NBA Commissioner David Stern for his treatment of players during the league’s ongoing lockout.According to NBC New York, Gumbel spoke out against Stern during the closing commentary of the Oct. 18 show, blaming Stern for the NBA’s current woes. BRYANT GUMBEL last_img read more