ESPN has a fantastic article about the history of racial injustice in the South, and how it’s influencing opinions about Michael Vick’s alleged dogfighting.

“You would think that Michael Vick is the largest criminal this country has ever encountered, by the media play,” [prominent 1960s civil rights activist Juanita Abernathy] says. “The way they have portrayed this, you would think he’s guilty until proven innocent because now it’s his goal and his responsibility to convince America that he’s innocent.”

Kwame, 36, reluctantly paraphrases Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, not exactly a favorite of most African-Americans: “It’s an electronic lynching.”

I’m an “animal person”. I have horses, dogs, and cats – one dog who is paralyzed, and two kittens recovering from a dog attack suffered out at the farm. I have little sympathy for people who abuse animals (or anyone/thing unable to stand up for themselves). The information presented in the press does not look promising for Vick; nor do his excuses and protestations. But the African-American community is right – Vick is innocent until proven guilty, and deserves his day in court to face the accusations leveled against him. In fact, it is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove Vick’s guilt.

Frankly, I can’t blame them for believing that skin color impacts due process in America. It’s historically true, and appears to still be true. African-Americans are incarcerated at six times the rate whites are incarcerated, and three times the rate of Latinos.

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  • I could care less about this story. First of all, animals should always be legally treated as property, and thus the only crimes against dogs should be crimes against property. Secondly, this is nothing compared to the millions of unborn children who are murdered every year.

  • I’m just excited to see the big NAACP vs PETA brawl. It’s the old guard vs. the brash, young upstart. My money’s on PETA.

  • ESPN has consistently had the best reporting on this story.

    Their early reports on dogfighting were truly stomach turning.

    Kind of like Matt N.

  • Wait, hold on.

    Vick’s battling the entire South? So the docket reads, what, the Confederacy v. Vick?

    Vick’s in this mess b/c at the very least dog fighting and/or training occurred on his property.

    To make his role, still unproven, some proxy for a renewed civil rights movement is silly.

  • I agree, redhorse. Absolutely. I certainly don’t find the “the kennels were at my house but I didn’t know nuthin’ about it” defense less than compelling.

    I just find the article interesting. Despite being strongly pro-civil rights, and pro-equality, I’m an outsider to that community. I don’t really agree that the arrest of a prominent male athlete for allegedly running a brutal dogfighting ring is a racial issue, but I think I can understand why many African-Americans feel like it is.

    I think class inequity has far more to do with the flaws in our criminal justice system than anything else. IOW, being poor is a bigger strike against you than being black. Being poor and black – well, we’ll see you when you get out.

    I have little doubt Vick will get the best possible outcome for whatever his real level of guilt is; and perhaps better. Contrast that with Genarlow Wilson.

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