Mind Over Sports

The difference between Michael Vick and Mike Singletary

Posted on: August 28, 2007

m_singletaryI’ve waited quite some time before writing something about the Michael Vick saga, and I want to go on record and state that what happened to Michael Vick had nothing to do with race. It didn’t make any difference what color he was, he broke the law and is now going to have to pay the penalty. What happened to Michael Vick was created by Michael Vick.

Which brings me to the subject of why so many professional black athletes have been having problems with the law. It isn’t because of their perceived wealth. In almost every case, if you look back at their childhood, many were treated as though they were young superstars destined to do great things in the world of sports, which would eventually translate into their becoming millionaires. It was a world of entitlement for them, and they were allowed to do whatever they wanted without having to face the consequences. And who is to blame? Their coaches and their parents. They looked the other way and didn’t hold these young men accountable because they had such fantastic talent (talent that began to reveal itself even when they were as young as four years old.) They were seldom disciplined by their parents and coaches (especially their coaches.) When they got into trouble, no problem. The coach (or somebody) could fix whatever needed fixing. They were not responsible for their actions. There was always somebody waiting to bail them out. But when they got out into the real world, they found out pretty quickly that that didn’t work when it came to breaking the law.

While watching television, it’s ridiculous to see these young black sports journalists blaming our society for what happened to Michael Vick and other black athletes. There’s no question that we live in a racially biased society, but when someone breaks the law, regardless of their color, they need to be held accountable.

I even heard one person call in to a sports talk radio show and compare what Michael Vick did with people who have abortions, and that “killing babies” was much worse than “killing dogs.” But what he failed to mention was that abortion is legal, dog fighting is not.

I also watched ESPN-TV while the sports pundits talked about the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals, whose players have had many run-ins with the law, have opted to recruit “Choir Boys” and then one of the announcers mentioned that NFL football was a violent sport and that they may not be up to the challenge. Excuse me. I wouldn’t exactly call Mike Singletary a choir boy. Mike Singletary grew up in a family that had strong Christian beliefs (and he still does.) He once told me that he was the youngest of (if memory serves me) eight children and because he was the baby, his mother heaped mounds of love on him and he felt that the love he received from his mother was primarily responsible for the success he experienced as a Chicago Bear and the success he is yet to experience as an NFL Head Coach. You would never find someone like Mike Singletary mistreating a pet, because he was brought up to know that every living thing is one of God’s creatures. When he was linebacker coach for the Ravens, he and I once spoke over the phone and he told me he was not only preparing his players for the NFL, but also for life after the NFL. It’s too bad there aren’t more Mike Singletary types around.


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