A day after R.L. White, Atlanta NAACP president spoke in support of Michael Vick, the national president of NAACP also speaks up.
Dennis Courtland Hayes, interim president and CEO of NAACP, said Vick is not a victim, and he should be held accountable for his actions.
Hayes also added that the public should not be so quick to condemn Vick so quickly. He said that Vick acknowledges that he made a mistake, and there is reason to believe that he can change.
In regards to White’s comments of support, Hayes said that those who are coming to Vick’s defense are expressing a frustration with the disparities in the criminal justice system.
“People need to understand the backdrop as some in the African-American community make their expressions of support,” Hayes said. “That backdrop includes anger and distrust with the criminal justice system that disproportionately pays attention to African-Americans and Hispanics. While no dog deserves to be mistreated, the backdrop includes the perception among some African-Americans that the criminal justice system treats them like animals and that nobody seems willing to do anything about the disparity.”
Hayes also rejected the perception that dog fighting is an acceptable part of urban black culture. He said this is a product of stereotypical thinking, and dog fighting exists everywhere and not just in the African-American community.
Hayes said the national group of NAACP does not have an official position on Vick’s case or if he should be reinstated to the NFL. He also does not want to speculate if Vick is being treated differently because his is black.
“He may in fact be being treated better than some African-Americans and Hispanics who don’t have the resources and financial means that he has,” Hayes said. “On the other hand, there might be some of a different race or different ethnicity who might be treated a bit differently.”
Other African-American leaders share their opinions on Vick and his involvement in dog fighting.
Bryan Burwell, a sports columnist for MSNBC.com, who is African-American, said it is unreasonable to say that Vick was unjustly persecuted.
Burwell stated the negative images that many young, African-American men look at need to be changed. They need to see that intelligence is right and ignorance is wrong. Burwell further said: â€œWe need to alter the perception so that itâ€™s cool to be smart and the thug and gangster lifestyle is wrong. When your friends canâ€™t understand that, they arenâ€™t your true friends.â€
Another African-American columnist, Jemele Hill, who writes for ESPN told young, African-American men to not make Vick a martyr. They should not applaud him or blame others for Vick’s situation because he should be held responsible for his actions.
In other Vick-related news, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, the judge that will be presiding over Vick’s case, has been mainly described as a “tough but fair” judge. (Side note: Judge Hudson owns a bichon frise.)
He has shown little mercy for high-profile defendants, and he tends to be in the middle or upper range of the sentencing guidelines.
Vick’s lawyers are trying for the shortest possible sentence.
But a defense lawyer who has personal experience with Judge Hudson said unless there are some extreme mitigating circumstances, the defense team will run in some problems. He added Judge Hudson is a tough sell.
Vick’s lead attorney, Billy Martin, said: “We’re hoping at the right time to show the other sides of Michael Vick to Judge Hudson. The media and the indictment show one very small side of Mr. Vick, which is not his best side. We’re hoping to show the whole person as this case evolves.”
(Thanks menusux, Lynn)