Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fatlock Follies: Rollin' Solo; Playin' An Interesting Form of the Race Card

Eris Banks, of Conyers, Ga., the guy pictured here on the left felt, for perhaps constitional-rights reasons, it necessary to display his clever, non-hilarious poster at yesterday's Atlanta Braves home game. The story is not that the Braves outhit the hapless Reds 10-18, or that they let the Reds take a two-run lead in the top of the 15th inning. Nor is the story about the run the Braves produced in the bottom of the 15th, or that they ultimately lost 5-4. Exciting game, huh? No. The story is that Banks, along with who knows how many other Atlanta locals intend on supporting Mike "Dawg Killa'" Vick and his entourage.

I'm aware of this photograph because it appears next to today's column by The Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock. Whitlock, as I've said in other posts about the sports writer, has an interesting take on race, arguably our nation's biggest issue. Whitlock continues to suggest that the forlorn behavior of numerous contemporary African-American athletes has large ties to, and is inseparable from, the hip-hop/prison culture so often associated with black lifestyles.

Allow me to elaborate. The hip-hop side involves lyrics and images in rap and hip-hip music wherein "characters" continuously sell drugs, tote firearms, and act misogynistic. The prison side has something to do with the inexplicable misconception that doing time is cool simply because so many African-American males are, at one time or another, incarcerated; it's a shared experience, a bonding of sorts. The most obvious thing to transcend prison life onto American streets would be the oversized tees and baggy pants, a style that expresses the generic, non-fitting prison shirt and the lack of belt privileges in the can, thus the falling-down drawers and the massively oversized tops that, one would think, should cover up the backside of one's boxer shorts.

Nevertheless, Whitlock, regardless of his years spent being the first to play the race card in almost every race-related, sports-affiliated issue, has abandoned that camp and erected a shelter in which he, for the time being anyway, stands alone. Though I badger him on the InterWebs and annoy him with e-mails he won't answer, I hold a tremendous amount of respect for him for this endeavor. I can't say if it's self-promotion or genuine; I'd like to think the latter is true. I will say, that if it is in fact genuine, he'd better recruit some folks to take up arms with him. That's because, thus far, in the Michael Vick debacle, everyone else seems to already be playing that damnable race card.

Cecil's boy Colin Cowherd received a slew of e-mails on "The Herd" yesterday on ESPN radio, several of which he read over the air. One was from a listener named Jamie in Albany, NY that claimed the only reason the feds indicted Vick is because he's black. Several callers to "The DA Show" (KCSP/610 AM) here in Kansas City this morning offered similar musings. Luckily, both hosts put their respective audience members in their places.

I never thought I'd say this before, but it's time to wake up, people. Listen to -- you don't have to agree -- what Whitlock is saying

Banks is right. Vick is innocent. Right now. He's also entitled to a fair trial, just like any other man or woman. The National Football League and the Atlanta Falcons are doing the right thing by not offering statements or handing down discipline until the legal system has evaluated the situation. Things don't look promising for Young No. 7, though. If you have a large piece of property from which canine corpses are exhumed, operate a business called "Bad Newz Kennels" from that property, lie about the frequency of your presence on that property, and have documents circulating the Internets about how said corpses were executed (allegations of electrocution, drowning, hanging, beating), I hope for your sake you saved some of that signing bonus to hire intelligent legal representation, 'cause you in troubs, homes. You in troubs.

And don't get me wrong. If Vick was white, I'd say, "That's quite a pickle you've gotten yourself into, Lester. Quite a pickle."


Nathan said...


I am also impressed with Whitlock's stance. He took his angle early, and has received substantial criticism. I, of course, think that criticism largely exemplifies his point. Regardless, he is right on.

In your musings, I am concerned by one comment:

The National Football League and the Atlanta Falcons are doing the right thing by not offering statements or handing down discipline until the legal system has evaluated the situation.

This is not the "new" NFL stance. The commish is accustomed to firing out suspensions regardless of due process, or "guilt."

His inconsistency will soon hurt this league.

What is it that drives his decisions?


The Lone Reader

bankmeister said...

Good point. I think it's a gut reaction thing. Adam Jones and Chris Henry are fucking idiots. They've been in trouble more times than there are guys that play their position on their teams' entire rosters.

Granted, Vick's done some dumb things in his career, too. He got off on the weed water bottle, he apologized for flipping off the crowd and had to give some salary money to charity, and you can't really bust him for giving his (Ron Mexico) herpes to some dumb broad.

This is a sticky situation, wherein other parties are involved and the details have to be combed over many times, all in the name of doing the right thing.

You're jumping to way too many conclusions on Goodell.

Nathan said...

One must always mind their sheep, fine sir.


Cecil said...

There are a few things to remember here.

First, that Goodell might still hand down a whopper of a suspension, and possibly even a ban ala the (previously mentioned) Mountain, Kenesaw Landis.

Second, this case is going through that particular legal borough of Virginia known as the "rocket docket," meaning the courts therein are proud of the way they move cases along, and thus move men into prison.

There's simply no way Vick escapes the Wrath of Senor Goodell. No way. Tank Johnson got an 8-gamer for a misdemeanor gun charge, and associating with a guy who got murdered. This situation is much worse and will be treated thus.

For my money, you fucking go, Rog.

Nathan said...

The way I understand it, Tank was ALREADY on probation when he got his gun charge.

8 games

Pacman hasn't been convicted.

16 games.


This just isn't consistent. There isn't any logical way to make it so. It comes down the whim of one man. If his whims prove unflexible, and intolerant, then watch the fuck out.

While dictatorships are by far the most efficient means to manage any situation, they are subject to the unpredictable nature of one human being.

I think Roger is doin' well. I also think most NFL fans have been blinded by the positive media slant.

There have been lots of arrests recently. I'm not hearing of all the suspensions yet.

How does your beloved Roger make up his mind? Why does one man get 8 games, and another 16? Until you understand the motivation behind those decisions, you will be stuck assuming that they are well-reasoned. I'm not a big fan of unnecessary assumptions.

Good luck Roger. You're gonna need it.



Cecil said...

The problem with your point, that you won't ever address, is that you seem to think the NFL is something *besides* a dictatorship.

The owners like Goodell, and they are the only ones he has to please. But, to his credit, he's trying to throw a bone to the fans by cracking down the way that Tags never did. And Pacman might not have been convicted--but he had 10 run-ins with the law in the past year, one of which ended up with a man bein' paralyzed. Lotta smoke for no fire, there.

The NFL may be the most popular sports league in America but it's still a private business. Not a democracy.

bankmeister said...

Exactly. And for my money, that bone is much appreciated. I'm sick of these fools actin' like god-damned responsibilityless nincompoops.

Plus, if I remember correctly, Pacman appealled his suspension, then withdrew the appeal, took out a full-page apology ad in the Tennessee paper, and is now trying to get permission to go to camp with the Titans. All of those behaviors admit guilt to me.

dylanebrown said...

Last I heard, the commissioner was awaiting the result of a local investigation.
It involved an NFL star and his property, hangers-on and a bunch of degenerates.
Maybe those 40 dogs died on his yard last year.
Maybe he(or his gardener)decided to start there own "underground" buisness.
Vick is toast. Jones and Henry are the same.
I personally hate Fascists.
But....Goodell ain't got nothin' on Mussolini.
Get off his back
Dfrom KC

Nathan said...

Someone's gotta get on his back. That's the nature of the gig, man.

Cecil, ol' chap, government and business aren't all that different. I'm not talkin' about private versus public. I'm talkin' about leadership and management choices. Those apply to any position of authority. I'm not questioning his right to hand out suspenisions, I'm questioning his decision to do so ... and the manner in which he's doing it. Inconsistency can be portrayed (easily, I might add) as favoritism, bias or even discrimination. Such perceprtions can damage the credibility, respect and integrity of ANY leader. That is rarely good for any group or organization.

Roger has some great ideas. HIs methods are shakey, and that may have some very negative results for both him AND the league.

Go Roger, Go. Good luck out there, buddy.


-- TLR