Waiting for Goodell
Bloggers discuss the indictment of Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, pick apart a controversial piece in the New Republic, and react to today's Emmy nominations.
Waiting for Goodell: The indictment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick on federal charges for his alleged involvement in a dogfighting operation has brought enormous attention to the issue. Bloggers shudder at the revelations and call for the league to come down hard on Vick.
The Coffee House considers how the NFL—and disciplinarian Commissioner Roger Goodell—will react: "Vick is the most electric talent the NFL has ever seen, but he also has become adept at creating bad publicity. … The NFL has some serious image issues. The Commissioner has put the hammer on 'Pacman' Jones and Chris Henry. Michael Vick, however, is not a cornerback or a number three wide receiver. He is the face of the Atlanta Falcons. … How will Roger Goddell treat Vick? I guarantee this; every NFL player is watching to see if there exists a double-standard in the NFL." Chris Lynch at A Large Regular also wonders what the NFL will do, given that gambling is such an integral part of dogfighting: "I have to ask - isn't a player who would risk staging such felonious gambling activities at his own house the exact type of player organized crime would try to get their hooks into to shave points? Michael Vick has been known as an up and down player. Great one week and inconsistent the next. Maybe there was a consistency to Vick's below expectations performances. These questions have to be asked."
Angela Winters at The Moderate Voice callson Vick's defenders to stop playing the race card, calling charges of racism against Vick"a familiar and successful tactic of deflection used in cultural politics and racial issues. Anytime someone is criticizing an act or behavior of someone who happens to be black, especially a black man, you threaten the 'racist' label. This makes them either shut up or veer off the real topic; a topic that needs to be discussed if we are ever to find a solution."
For a legal perspective, Joel at Animal Blawg spells out the likelihood of Vick being found guilty, while the marketing gurus at AdPulp call the damage control a lose-lose situation for the Falcons:"Either way, the team's brand takes a hit. If they suspend or release Vick, the fans that go to games just to see him may stop going and revenue falls. Or if he stays, lots of folks may boycott the Falcons in protest."
Meanwhile, Neva Davis, a vegan animal activist, finds a parallel between Britney Spears, castigated for buying a puppy from a pet store this week, and Vick. "The pop star who fears she might not really be so cute anymore re-affirms her cuteness with a designer dog. The sports star asserts his aggressive, dangerous, alpha male image by forcing dogs to fight to the death for his amusement, and killing with his own hands those dogs he felt were weak or passive. … [I]t's … time we stopped selling dogs as things and then acting surprised when people treat them as things."
Read more about Michael Vick and dogfighting.
Shock and bull? Conservative bloggers are highly suspicious about a New Republic article written by a pseudonymous soldier in Iraq that describes shocking acts of barbarism by American troops, including mocking a woman who'd survived an IED attack and a soldier who wore a skull fragment plucked from a mass grave.
After contacting TNR for further details, Michael Goldfarb at the conservative Weekly Standard'sWorldwide Standard issued a call for bloggers to start digging into the facts: "[W]e'd encourage the milblogging community to do some digging of their own, and individual soldiers and veterans to come forward with relevant information—either about the specific events or their plausibility in general." Among the many e-mails Goldfarb received was this from a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard: "The skull skull-cap? From a little kid? Walking around with it on for a day? Nonsense - sounds like that scene in 'Jarhead' with the corpses. And apparently there were no officers or NCOs around for over 24 hours. Right. Most of my junior enlisted boys would have slapped him silly."
The passionately conservative Ace of Spades has no trouble believing the story's a fake: "The New Republic has had a long and troubled past with too-ideologically-good-to-be-true, too-difficult-to-verify but too-juicy-not-to-run stories in the past. Now an anonymous 'soldier' is reporting for them (illegally, one presumes) from Iraq, and is telling implausible stories that just so happen to portray his 'fellow soldiers' as vicious monsters."
David Sessions is a former Slate intern. He is currently a blogger at Politics Daily.