Let's get this out of the way early: I don't support the fighting of dogs. I am not sitting here in a Michael Vick jersey snacking on Labrador fajitas thinking that his 12 month plea bargain is the greatest injustice since Sacco and Vanzetti. Please don't send me emails saying that I hate dogs. Please don't write that I am a "supporter" of Michael Vick, whatever the hell that means. I don't love dogs. I don't hate dogs. I will say I'm not a vegetarian. I love a good haggis. I gargle with gravy. I think short ribs are a "side." None of that means I hate dogs or think Vick is some kind of political prisoner. Like many, I eat meat, abhor dog fighting, and am comfortable with that hypocrisy.
But all that said--now that we have gorged on disclaimers--I find the reaction to this entire dog fighting case to be a frightening example of the worst kind of group-think: an unreflective mob-mentality run amok. I will not dwell on the various Internet postings that call for Vick to be lynched, beaten, or put in a phone booth with pit bulls. In less than five seconds of mouse-work, you too can buy a "Save a Pit Bull & Neuter Vick" T-shirt. They are easy enough to find since he Internet has always proven comfortable quarters for enterprising bottom feeding parasites.
I will also not harp on the sundry sports columnists using this opportunity to cluck about black athletes, "hip hop gangsta" culture, and what happens when you hold onto your "boyz." I think they speak for themselves. They are as predictable as a setting sun, their arguments and prose so mundane one wonders if they have a computer program where they enter key words like "gangsta", "hip hop", and "boyz" and just watch as the graphs spew themselves.
And I certainly do not wish to draw any unnecessary attention to Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia and the bizarre Senate floor speech in which he condemned Michael Vick to Hades, saying, "I am confident that the hottest places in Hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt!" I am also way too classy to may hay out of the fact that Byrd's "youthful indiscretion" was joining the Ku Klux Klan, a group that used dogs on black people the same way people want dogs used on Mr. Vick.
There is simply no need to take aim at these obvious targets when our best sports columnists
Dave Zirin is the author of the book: "Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports" (Haymarket). You can receive his column Edge of Sports, every week by going to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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