ThisÂ “mother of all disclaimers” shouldÂ make it is crystal clear whereÂ this authorÂ stands on the subject of dog-fighting.Â While the appalling actions of a few financed by one multi-million dollar athleteÂ concerns me,Â theÂ appalling actions ofÂ many financed by one multi-billion dollar corporationÂ scares the crap out ofÂ me.Â Of course, I am referring to ESPN’s Virtual Mob otherwise known as “ESPN Conversation” comment sections accompanied after many of its website articles. Michael Vick’s dog ring has officially ended, but ESPN as ringleader has no end in sight.
August is normally a slow sports month. Exactly one year ago, ESPN was able to manufacture a month-long story out of thin air (anyone remember Terrell Owens on his bicycle). This year noÂ magic was needed as ESPN received Michael Vick on a silver platter. AsÂ has already been detailed in “ESPN’s RAP SHEET: Pacman as Black Man”,Â one of ESPN’sÂ favorite topicsÂ is black athlete misbehavior.Â TheÂ moreÂ ESPN has itÂ in the news, the more TV viewers, more website clicks,Â more interactive commenters, and of course, more money from advertisers. The commentersÂ who keep clicking back are often the straw that stirs the ESPN website drink. ESPN creates the meeting place, sets the table,Â and then lets the mob take over.Â They also employ “comment moderators” to eliminate commentary unfit for the “World Wide Leader in Sports”. Today we will show you what made the cut.
AÂ MILD Michael Vick article was deliberately chosen to make a point.Â This isÂ not theÂ article where Vick pleads guilty and the virtualÂ mob took their vitriol to the web in the tune of over 5000 comment bashfest. No, this article, Vick Apologizes; Asks for Forgiveness in Post-Plea StatementÂ was strictly limited to Vick’s APOLOGY, one that he chose not to read any standard prepared statement. What you will read is pretty typical stuff for the ESPN’s virtualÂ mob. It is the usual stew of hate, mockery, bigotry, sanctimony, and/or retardation. All that needs to be done is switch up the misbehaving black athlete of the month faster than you can forget Tim Donaghy. Enough context – let’s get started (Note: spelling errors have been left in place):
A) READYâ€¦ SETâ€¦ HATE!Â Â
1 - DAILEYSPINALTAP (8/27/2007 at 5:16 PM): MICHAEL VICK IS A BIG FAT POOSY PUNK. TAKE IT LIKE A MAN MICHAEL…Â Â
2 - buckeyesrule01 (8/27/2007 at 6:11 PM): You know what Mr. Vick? You repulse me in everyway imaginable. â€¦ Then you come out on National television and read the words that I truly don’t believe you wrote anyway and to top that off now and i mean NOW you find GOD? You really are crazy!!…Â Â
3 - pkrake (8/27/2007 at 9:31 PM): Michael Vick- you are a disgusting human being…Â
4 - Urlachoftalent (8/27/2007 at 9:38 PM): He is still a peice of s#$#, and a bigger peice of s#$# for saying he found god good PR move.
5A - cdgwinn (8/27/2007 at 9:59 PM): He’s not sorry, He’s only sorry he got caught. Once a thug always a thug!Â
5B - cdgwinn (8/27/2007 at 10:12 PM): dogfighting + drugs + guns + and who knows what else, because heâ€™s trying to cover it up = thugÂ Â
6 - tit4567788 (8/28/2007 at 1:02 PM): he should be tortured and stripped of all his money…and all the idiots who agree dog fighting is a sport should burn with him…
Rare Voice of Dissent Â jpheber (8/28/2007 at 9:56 AM) : The sad thing about the whole situation is that people are saying he was cruel and inhumane, a monster even for killing those dogs. Those same people are spewing hate from their mouths, saying some pretty bad stuff, they make their young children (3 years old) wear “Vick makes me sick” shirts. What are we teaching our kids, you make a mistake and you get crucified for it. That you can condemn someone for an act that you feel is unforgivable. I don’t see these same people protesting game hunters, who kill animals for sport and a trophy to hang on their wall….how sick is that.
B) EXPERT SOCIAL COMMENTARY
1 - Guest (8/27/2007 at 12:53 PM) â€¦ Leave those fake gangstas alone from your hood. Live your life like you were supposed to do when you became famous. Away from the ills of the hood. You has lost alot and some on here are very glad for it. It’s the jelousy of the people who were not as good as you and want to see you fall. Now that you have. Repay your dept. and come back to football a better person. YES HE DESERVES TO COME BACK TO THE LEAGUE!!!!!!!! He’s a very good football player. he will be back. Leave your true friends and cousins in VA.Â Start hanging out with white people. They don’t sell you out Â Â Â
2 – thwipp89 (8/27/2007 at 1:08 PM): I’m sure he’ll be in solitary, away from the general population, but I’d like to see him have to fight for his life in the prison yard, just like those dogs were forced to fight for him. maybe the guards could drown or electrocute him afterwards, if he didn’t “perform well”. the guy’s a punk and has always been a punk. now he’s a criminal. good riddance. say good bye to your $100 mil contract and incredible lifestyle you threw away to fight dogs and be a thug. what a compete and utter moron. you reap what you sew, mr. vick. i saw some quotes by his mom and it’s no wonder he doesn’t know any better. she’s a damn moron, too.Â
3 – bigyanksfan77 (8/27/2007 at 2:01 PM): â€¦ And also a response to the people who complain that we are angrier about this than we would be if he killed his girlfriend. A dog is an innocent beautiful creature whose natural instinct is to be a friend and companion to it’s owner. Any woman who runs with a pro athlete is probably a money grubbing ####. Not that it makes it right to kill her, but i would be more sad for the dogs.Â Â Â
4 – jamesascully (8/27/2007 at 6:07 PM): How come in all the heinous acts committed by athletes of African American race seem to find “God” once they’ve been caught and must admit guilt? Is that the automatic I’m sorry you can’t challenge my apology statement because I claim I’ve found “God” now statement?…Â
5 – mde2004 (8/28/2007 at 1:25 PM): Bottom line, He got caught and is now working for the feds. He is an informant and we already know how many African Americans despise snitches. Every single one according to rap music. So now he has over half of Americans against him since many are pet owners and blacks who hate snitchesâ€¦.
6 – jamiesonmatthews (8/28/2007 at 5:25 PM): Dear Mike Vick, As President of my committee, it is an honor to say, We forgive you with all of our hearts!! Sincerely, OJ Simpson and friends, Â Lawrence Phillips, Maurice Clarett, Ray Carruth, Kobe Bryant, Tank Johnson, the 1990s Dallas Cowboys, Mike Tyson, Cornelius Bennett, Jason Kidd, Darth Vader, Jeffery Dahmer, Charles Manson and Gargamel from the Smurfs Â Â
Rare Voice of Dissent – maniacal223 (8/27/2007 at 2:26 PM) : What Vick did was wrong and he will serve his time and debt to society. But I have a question for all these “outraged” people. Are you outraged about the PEOPLE dying in Darfur needlessly? Are you plastered all over the comments sections of those articles? Are you looking for news coverage of this genocide? How do you feel about the innocent women and children dying in Iraq? Is it not so important to you because they are Iraqi? Are Iraqi’s less than equal to dogs? I think if you looked into those real tragedies you would revisit this Vick thing with a different perspective.
C) SPEECH ANALYSIS: Â Â
1 - pkellen2313 (8/27/2007 at 12:53 PM): that was, you know, kind of difficult to, you know, read.Â Â
2 - GP360 (8/27/2007 at 12:54 PM): You know, I think that, you know, it is hard to believe someone is, you know, truly sorry for something they did for, you know, 6-7 years. It seems to me, you know, that he is , you know, sorry for getting caught.Â
3 – Entoman22 (8/27/2007 at 1:02 PM): No Mike, I donâ€™t know! Is it just me or does he sound like a teenage girl.
Â Â Â
4 – KJagman (8/27/2007 at 1:18 PM): Vick must be saving his money for his fine, lawyer fees and lost wages. But he’s made an aspiring middle school speechwriter very happy!Â Â
5 – jskim9 (8/27/2007 at 1:48 PM): I wanna, you know, just comment, you know, on the you know, the Michael Vick apology, you know. And for all of you, you know, having a religious, you know, discussion, you know, stop please. You know, to each his/her own, you know. Whatever, you know, you believe, you know, is all good. As long as, you know, that you know, you know, breaking the law it not right, you know, and killing, you know, dogs is wrong, you know. As long as you know, you know, that lying to the NFL commish, you know, is wrong, you know.Â Â Â
6 – NTBull (8/27/2007 at 5:40 PM): I, you know, think, you know, it’s easy, you know, to apologize, you know, when you are found, you know, to have committed, you know, a crime, you know. Now, you know, serve your, you know, time, you know, and let, you know, the Falcons, you know, carry on without, you know, you. What’s Vick’s rating gonna be, you know, on Madden next, you know, year?Â Â
Rare Voice of Dissent: Â DaMotts1972 (8/27/2007 at 4:21 PM): I think ESPN should change their name to the Michael Vick Network News, it Michael Vick 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Michael Vick all the time, morning, noon and night. Wake Up Michael Vick. Go to bed Ron Mexico. Its nonstop Michael Vick, just call your local cable provider and make sure you get your four month free trial period.
D) THE APOLOGY:Â Â
1- littleTcell (8/28/2007 at 10:56 AM): â€¦ Saying “I want to apologize” is not apologizing, listing those to whom you “want to apologize” is not the same as apologizing to each of them as they deserve, putting your expressions in the past tense — “I was ashamed…and disappointed” — is not the same as owning your actions now. Let’s give credit where it is due. Vick did plead guilty, and he did admit that he lied. Now we need to hear him actually say, “I’m sorry,” and to see him back up those words with action.Â Â
2 – jusdane (8/28/2007 at 11:16 AM): I didn’t watch his staged insincere apology as that would have been a complete waste of MY timeâ€¦Â Â Â Â Â
3 – aggiesbeathornets (8/28/2007 at 8:28 AM): Vick’s body language and shifty eyes did not match his words. I do not believe he is sincere in his apology one bit.Â Â
4 – Bonnielovesravens (8/28/2007 at 9:12 AM): Okay, that was the most pitiful apology I have ever heardâ€¦Â
5 - hlope003 (8/28/2007 at 11:47 AM) â€¦ His apology did not match his body language..This apology was not sincere, he is a failure as a human being!Â Â Â
6 – pesca66 (8/28/2007 at 12:08 PM): â€¦ Vick is sorry that he got caught and tanked his career in order to live out some silly rap video fantasy lifestyle.
Rare Voice of Dissent – seanditzel (8/27/2007 at 2:13 PM): As appalling and inhumane as dogfighting is, I am equally appalled by the lack of humanity from people on these boards. â€¦Who are you to say that he is only sorry he got caught… his mom? If we could all just acknowledge that this apology is a big first step in the path toward forgiveness, then I think our bickering could be put aside. â€¦ please have some humanity for HUMANS… not just animals.Â
Â Â Â Â
E) Â WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY?Â Â
1 – TMill1380 (8/27/2007 at 2:51 PM): It makes me ill whenever someone messes up big time they always seem to “find” religion… Â Â
2 – freak326 (8/27/2007 at 6:59 PM): Am I the only one who found Vick’s apology hilarious? How can anyone take the guy seriousâ€¦
3 – skipvanpelt (8/27/2007 at 8:36 PM): How nice that Vick has turned his life over to God. That’s a load of crap that the guilty always trot out in order to con the court into reducing or suspending their sentence. I don’t believe him for a second.Â
4 Â – ean.craigie (8/27/2007 at 9:19 PM): I am just stunned that again an athlete gets caught and suddenly finds religion and thinks thats that. What Vick did takes him from human back to animal and until he shows he is human again then all the talk is just thatâ€¦Â Â
5Â – sdimposter (8/28/2007 at 12:32 AM): The Vick apology is a crock of SHI*! Words from the heart of some unknown public relations lackey trying to put the right spin on things. Glad Mike’s “found Jesus” though. Now I feel better about him (NOT!). Why does every dirtbag immediately find Jesus after being caught and expect forgiveness? Pathetic!Â Â
6 – mmfitzpatrick (8/28/2007 at 11:38 AM): Invoking JESUS??? Go to hell, Michael Vick! You cannot play the JESUS card here! â€¦And to you supporters of Vick: you are all idiots and/or racist bigots. This is not an issue of racism, it is one of ANIMAL CRUELTY! Vick is being villified because he is one of the cruelest human beings on the planet! Someone who can slam puppies to the ground is as heartless as Lucifer, your true messiah! Leave Jesus out of it!Â Â
Rare Voice of Dissent: nsassy15 (8/27/2007 at 1:27 PM): Speaking as Christian, a father and a husband, I have been required to both issue and respond to apologies for some very serious transgressions in my life. The teachings of Christ on this subject are certainly very clear. We are to forgive our brother when he asks for it, regardless of our perception of his sincerity. It is not our place to judge his heart. As for his profession of newfound faith, it too should not be subject to our interpretations of sincerity. We are commanded to accept him into the fold, and only judge his actions, not his heart. All people sin, and some of us repeat the same sin many times over. That is not an indication of our insincerity of faith, but a reflection of our human weakness and the power of the Enemy. I will accept his words and have already forgiven him. Such Christian forgiveness does not excuse him from just punishments (suspensions et. Al), and I hope his are just. It does require that we as Christians refrain from gloating and glorying in his failings, and continue to use those as a form of mockery. Christ forgave many “unforgivables” in his ministry, including prostitutes and tax collectors. The most reviled people on the Earth were who he ministered to. If you feel as though you are the arbiter of his forgiveness and sincerity, then I would humbly suggest you return to the Word and read it carefully, and ask for forgiveness for your own arrogance.
F) SPREADING THE LOVE!Â Â
1 – rbaldrate (8/28/2007 at 8:45 AM): â€¦The comments from Emmitt Smith and Keyshawn Johnson just show how pathetic they really are all they could say is look what Michael Vick has been going through and had to deal with lately who cares about Michael Vick he is a animal abuser, killer and LIAR. He should be in prison for at least 20 to 25 yearsâ€¦ Â Â
2 – jadkins45 (8/28/2007 at 10:42 AM) â€¦ I am a Cowboy fan and at one time an Emmitt Smith fan as well as a Keyshawn Johnson fan but after those two gave their pathetic remarks about how sorry Vick was, I have lost all respect for those two as well. It seems race trumps honesty everytime.Â Â
3 – steve1966427 (8/28/2007 at 10:42 AM) Â â€¦ I believe he was wearing an ear pierce with someone telling him what to say. Too many pauses where he looks like he is listening to someone. Yes I am mad, the athletes today think they are above it all. Plus former atheletes like Keshawn Johnson try to protect them. I was shocked when he said Micheal apologized and I accept it. Protect their ownâ€¦.Â
Letâ€™s not forget the Obligatory Al Sharpton References!Â
4 – amadone (8/27/2007 at 1:25 PM): You know, it’s times like these when the soothing voice and succinct views of Al Sharpton are needed most.Â Â Â
5 – bambamadams (8/27/2007 at 3:49 PM): â€¦ We are giving Vick a pass because he admits guilt but we hammered the Duke Lacross kids even though they were innocent and not found guilty. That fat toad Sharpton was pussing most of it and never said I am sorry to the White kids. Vick have fun with your cell mates, I hope you spend alot of time behind bars. Nice touch finding god when you have done something wrongâ€¦Â Â Â Â
6 – bambamadams (8/27/2007 at 4:12 PM): YOU KNOW…2nd grade education. Where is al sharpton….white man is trying to hold down another african american man…lol u get whats coming to you vickÂ BONUS Parting Shot!: Urlachoftalent (8/27/2007 at 9:44 PM): Ray Lewis is a peice of S#$# too.Â
Rare Voice of Dissent: nursedog (8/28/2007 at 8:25 AM): â€¦MV has become public enemy #1, dogfighting has been a subculture of america for decades mostly in the rural south, you would think by peoples’ reaction that MV created the culture of dogfighting. What MV did was illegal and he will be punished for it but the overemotion shown by some of the posters calling for MVs head on a platter and that he should be shown no mercy is out of control.
SPECIAL THANKS TO BigRoosta!: Many times I have personally been stuck on one of ESPNâ€™s Virtual Mob â€œConversationsâ€ and it is no fun at all battling all of the haters, bigots, and retards. It is non-stop work, but necessary work to stop the tide of hate. Â While dissenters are few and far between there was one poster â€œBigRoostaâ€ who was on a personal mission not to let all of the lynch mob completely have their way. Â While he must have posted at least 20 times we will end with four from him. Â Â
1) BigRoosta (8/28/2007 at 10:36 AM) : Manc6267. I am a pet owner, as a matter of fact I just opened my home to another small animal that was abandoned. So I don’t condone animal fighting in any shape or form. The American public is just full of hating hypocrits. Let the man do the crime for his time. But show the same vigor or disgust when crimes and lies against humanity are committed by elected officials.Â
2) BigRoosta (8/28/2007 at 1:33 PM) mde2004, Get the hell on with those racially inflammatory comments… The sad thing about your comment is that it provides insight into your own racist nature and ideology.Â Â Â
3) BigRoosta (8/28/2007 at 11:45 AM): What do any of us have to forgive Michael Vick for? â€¦ Your forgiveness is not part of the legal process so it doesn’t matter. You act as if Michael Vick has to answer to you or like he betrayed you in some manner. All he is a football player. It is you the public who placed him on a pedestal. It is you who went out and bought his jersey. It is you who went out and exalted Michael Vick. You only did this because he could entertain you. You never once asked “Is Michael Vick a good person?” Well now you are mad because the level of his physical talent is not congruent with what you think his morality should beâ€¦Â Â
4) BigRoosta (8/28/2007 at 12:19 PM): â€¦ It seems to me people don’t really want justice they want vengeance â€¦mmfitzpatrick_ so Michael Vick has surpassed Osama Bin Laden when you say “Vick is being villified because he is one of the cruelest human beings on the planet! ” Are you serious?… Michael Vick is an object of hate for all the haters across America. You hate on him because he is vulnerable. You hate on him because deep inside you feel inadequate and seeing him suffer somehow makes you feel better. But you know what after he serves his time and does whatever he decides to do with his life you will still have that voice deep inside you telling you how inadequate you are. Â Â
Parting Retard Shot: Â EPL_FAN (8/27/2007 at 10:55 PM): Mike, what happened to your braids??? Sellout!Â