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What if Michael Vick was White?

RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 27:  Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick (R) leaves federal court August 27, 2007 in Richmond, Viriginia. Vick pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting charge.  (Photo by Steve Helber-Pool/Getty Images)
Seattle SportsnetCorrespondent IMay 27, 2009
What would the world think of Michael Vick if the former NFL quarterback was white?

Would we be as quick to blame him for his past mistakes, including most notoriously, the dog fighting ring he was found guilty of operating?

Would we have labeled him a sociopath, as Seattle radio host Kevin Calabro has done?

Would we be decrying his freedom, and challenging his opportunity to return to a life that might possibly include a future, once again, in the NFL?

If Michael Vick was white, would we be more forgiving?

If Michael Vick was white, would we withhold the name-calling, the labeling, and the character insults?

If Michael Vick was white, would we allow him the freedom he has earned, credit him for admitting guilt and serving his court-appointed prison sentence, and let him back into society?

We may not want to admit that skin color has anything to do with this issue, but it does. It may not influence you, or the person sitting next to you, or the person sitting next to them.

But it does influence a multitude of people around this nation, who only wish to bring down Michael Vick because of one simple fact: He is black.

What if this was a white quarterback, at the top of his game, who experienced a similar downfall due to the same circumstances as Vick?

What if this was Brett Favre, a guy who endured a similar career trajectory as Vick, who was found guilty of the same transgressions?

Would we punish Favre in the same way? Would we clamor for a greater penalty? Would we denounce Favre’s freedom, and demand an extension of justice? Would we place Favre in societal purgatory?

I wager that if Michael Vick was a white man, this situation would have gone much differently than it has.

You see, we can chastise Michael Vick for his actions.

We can despise Vick for the villainous deeds he has done.

But whether the man is black, white, red, yellow, green, blue, purple, or any other color on the spectrum, we must treat him justly and equally.

Michael Vick has come forward and admitted his wrongdoings. Society needs to do the same.    

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