I only caught about 20 minutes of the Town Hall Meeting when I got home from work the other day, but my prevailing reaction was that the people in the audience have formed a cult of personality around Michael Vick and are completely blind to any form of rational thought on the issue. I'd like to think that the story should not be viewed through a prism of race and that it's just about one guy with remarkably poor judgment pissing away a promising career, but that's a hard position to take when he is backed by the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP. The people in the audience hooted at anyone who said anything remotely critical of Vick, including Terrence Moore (black), Terrence Mathis (black), and Chuck Smith (black). I won't even begin to discuss their outrage at the notion - advanced by Chuck Smith, John Kincaid, Neal Boortz, and just about anyone else with an ounce of clear thinking - that Vick should play again, but that he won't do so in Atlanta. OK, I'll say one thing about that. One of the first statements out of Vick's mouth after he pled guilty was to apologize to Arthur Blank and the Falcons for lying to them and letting them down. How in the world could Vick possibly come back to a team that he screwed, as himself acknowledges?
So, after several hundred folks on Tuesday night represented many among the “they” by embarrassing themselves and an entire city on national television with senseless booing and hissing during what was supposed to be a civil debate, they couldn’t care less.
This is beyond disgusting, and it needs to stop. Those nationally and locally who keep suggesting that Michael Vick has become a martyr around Atlanta because of the city’s legendary ties to the civil-rights movement are spitting on the graves of Martin, Malcolm, Sojourner, Rosa, W.E.B., Booker T and Frederick.
Overall, I'm happy that ESPN wasn't able to find our white racists to create a Geraldo atmosphere, although I'm sure that it's not for lack of trying. I'm happy that the panel of speakers was multi-racial and demonstrated agreement as to the seriousness of Vick's predicament and the future for him and the Falcons. And in a weird way, I'm happy that the extreme wing of der Vickgruppen were exposed as being totally irrational. All that said, I'm sad that the NAACP (or at least the Atlanta chapter) has stooped to this level, I'm sad that ESPN thought that this show would be a good idea, and I'm sad that I watched 20 minutes and then spent 15 minutes writing about it.