[…] Fighting dogs is an ugly, brutal business, and none of this is to excuse anything that may or may not have happened. But whether Vick is found guilty or not, the self-righteousness of the media and the many Vick-bashers is staggering.
American culture celebrates violent sports–especially football–and is insensitive to the consequences that the weekly scrum has on the bodies and minds of its players. We love a sport where any given play can be a player’s last. We accept that after 44-year-old former Philadelphia Eagle Andre Waters committed suicide, the autopsy revealed that his brain resembled someone with early-stage Alzheimer’s due to repeated concussions. We ignore that a Hall of Fame running back, the once-unstoppable Earl Campbell, can barely get out of a car without assistance. We forget that Johnny Unitas, the greatest quarterback to play the game, couldn’t grip a football by the time of his death. […]
Is there a larger issue here? Dave Zirin thinks so, and wants you to think about it as well. Why do we as a society “condone so much violence in war, film and sport”? More than condone it. We celebrate it. We know that American football does serious injury to the competitors. Do we care? It seems more like we are pleased by it. We just pretend we don’t know what we are doing to them. Have we become the Roman citizen to their gladiator?
Oh, and by the way: What ever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?