July 23rd, 2007 03:41 EST
Michael Vick and Barry Bonds Face Similar Demons
Those who are neither black nor athletically talented cannot really appreciate the cross that black superstar athletes are forced to bear in the contemporary sports world.
In the parlance of the time, you have not walked in their shoes, so you simply do not understand.
For instance, take Michael Vick. (An action that officials of the National Football League and Atlanta Falcons would heartily welcome!)
Vick is a 27-year-old quarterback and black messiah all rolled into one. He is THE MAN expected to lead a contingent of athletes from Atlanta to the Super Bowl, perhaps several times over the next decade or so.
Vick's star is so bright that some political pundits are predicting a political career for the charismatic athlete. Senator Joe Biden even went so far as to note that Vick is "clean and articulate," a sure sign that the quarterback is a man to be reckoned with in Democrat politics.
In just ten short years, Biden added, Vick will be old enough to run for the presidency.
That was the sort of upbeat optimism surrounding Vick. Before last Wednesday, that is.
But Vick's star came crashing to earth when the ebullient superstar was sacked with a federal indictment for intentionally grounding a few dogs in Virginia.
Having seen the "dog fighting" clips on the news 2,00,890,123 times over the past four days, the Vick indictment seems flimsy from a legal perspective, and vastly overblown as breaking news.
A "high tech lynching," seems an apt description for the woes faced by Michael Vick.
In the interest of being factual, it is prudent to point out that all of the mutts Vick is alleged to have mistreated are obviously animal shelter rejects, half-breeds destined to be put down sooner rather than later.
The only debate is whether lethal injection by a vet would be more "humane" than being hung, electrocuted, shot, slammed to death or all of the above, by a black hero and media star just trying to augment his $100 million football income with a little extra entertainment revenue.
Yet, Vick is being pummeled in the media for his entrepreneurial zeal as if he were some sinister, evil character guilty of unspeakable acts. You know, a George W. Bush type of guy.
Even Joe Biden has changed his opinion, and now contends that Vick could not be elected dogcatcher.
Meanwhile, on the west coast, another black superstar is being abused, mistreated and made to feel like a slave.
That would be the unlovable Mr. Bonds-- Barry Bonds.
Bonds is sitting on 753 home runs and, with three more, will pass Henry Aaron, thereby becoming the all time career leader and holder of the most coveted record in American sports.
However, being the most prolific home run hitter in baseball history does not automatically make the San Francisco superstar's life a bed of roses. Thorns aplenty were apparent when it was recently announced that the term of the grand jury investigating Bonds for perjury and tax evasion has been extended six months.
Adding to Bonds' woes is the behavior of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig who has all but ignored the historic event that is about to overwhelm San Francisco.
Selig, it appears, would rather be caught playing high-stakes poker with Pete Rose than commenting on Barry Bonds, Henry Aaron or the number 756.
Meanwhile, Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains, is working the court of public opinion by denouncing the federal investigation of his client. In his latest stunt, Rains claimed that any decision to indict Bonds would likely be made by George W. Bush himself.
Playing the "Bush card" is a new low even for Rains. Still the stakes are high so one should not be surprised at the extremes to which a lawyer making $500 an hour will go in order to defend his client.
Given the fact that he earns only $18 million a year, Bonds is perfectly justified in feeling like an enslaved victim!
Oh, the perils of starring while black in America!