And if Gaddafi could outrun a blitz, we’d like him too
BY JOHN HUGAR
After months of fretting that the NFL lockout would cancel football season, and cause the collapse of American civilization as we know it, it’s all been settled, and the 2011 regular season is under way. But while Bills fan are once again deluding themselves into thinking they actually have a shot at the playoffs, the rest of the pigskin world has a different concern: what to make of the Philadelphia Eagles’ herpes-ridden, dog-electrocuting, rape stand enthusiast Michael Vick.
The number of stories pointlessly pontificating about Vick has been ridiculous. From a glowing GQ profile that stopped just short of calling him the second coming the Christ, and ESPN actually putting a white Michael Vick on their front page (which, even by their extreme publicity-whore standards, was moronic beyond belief), everyone wants to give the world their long, bloated opinion about Vick (including me, evidently).
Specifically, a ton of sportswriters want to let us know that it’s totally okay to like him now. He’s super-duper sorry about killing those dogs, and he double pinky swears he won’t do it again. Here’s the thing: I’m not judging those who want to root for Vick. With all the slaughtered animals I eat at McDonalds, I’d be a hypocrite if I did.
What bugs me all the useless attempts to moralize liking him. Look, we like the dude because he’s good at football. Period. The fact he can run fast is the only reason we’re even discussing this. I know this because when Vick first got out of the joint, he sucked beyond belief. He was useless even as a third-string quarterback, and he had all the mobility of Drew Bledsoe if he wore cement shoes. As a result, he existed quietly, and no one was writing bloated pieces letting us know just how tight Ron Mexico was with Jesus.
But now he’s playing well, and we want to enjoy it. The problem is, we feel bad about liking someone who brutally murders animals just because he’s good at his job. So we get these needless pieces about how Vick has changed. I’m not even saying he hasn’t. I don’t know the guy. I just don’t think it matters. Sports fans a long history of rooting for scumbags, why attempt to justify it now?
Just look at the Dallas Mavericks in this year’s NBA finals. Everyone was all-too-willing to forget that Jason Kidd, their washed-up starting point guard, is one of the most notorious wife beaters in sports. Why? Because everyone was too busy loathing the ultra-douchebaggery of Lebron James to remember or care.
The point is, if you’re a sports fan, and you want to root for a loathsome piece of shit, just do it. If you want to cheer for Vick, or Roethlisberger, or Kobe, or any other reviled sports villain, go ahead. Just don’t justify it by telling me how different they are now. You’ll be a lot happier, and sports journalism will get a lot better.