Carter: VickMcNabb: A Contrast in Styles

Carter: VickMcNabb: A Contrast in Styles
October 1, 2010, 3:15 pm
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Friday, October 1, 2010 11:45 a.m.By Ivan Carter
CSNwashington.com contributor Why do some black folks embrace or identify with an athletelike Michael Vick over one like Donovan McNabb? To me, that has always been a fascinating question when it comes to these two superb athletes who come from vastly different backgrounds. I tweeted about the subject this morning (twitter.comwashpostlive) and received some interesting takes. There's no question that Vick has been a folk hero among many African Americans since his days at Virginia Tech and while McNabb no doubt has his fans - I've always respected his talent, toughness, intelligence and tact - he's never received the kind of love afforded the Vick's of the world in certain corners of this country.Ditto for an Allen Iverson over a Grant Hill. Is it because Vick and A.I. are more closely linked to hip hop culture because of their dress, hair styles and upbringing?Afterall, McNabb and Hill, grew up in two-parent homes, have never had brushes with the law and generally avoid controversy. To me, THAT is what young African American males should aspire to be.....I asked one of my colleagues, John Mitchell who is from Philly, attended Howard and has been working as a journalist for two decades,for histhoughts and he had a great take. "I guess it's because a guy like A.I looks just like the kid you see in the city," Mitchell said. "Sometimes we in the black community will cling to things that can hold us back. Knowing that we are judged in a different lense we do embrace things that the outside might look at as being negative. Alot of black folks from the hood look at Vick or AI and see themselves. Unfortunately, some white folks can see that as an affirmation of a stereotype....I think Donovan is one of the classiest athletes I've ever seen but one thing that hurt him within the black community of Philly was when Rush Limbaugh attacked him and Donovan didn't come back at him harder to defend himself...The thing is, folks should understand that he wasn't the quarterback of "Black Eagles fans" he was the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles." A few of the tweets I received onthis subject offered some interestingthoughts:- "some blacks can relate more to his situation. McNabb has been succesful without any society or cultural setbacks.."-"black ppl have a tendency to be protective of "1 of their own" when they feel everyone is attacking...but McNabb gets respect 2..."-"I think both are embraced for different reasons..."-"Vick has more street cred..."-"I wouldn't say that Vick is more real than McNabb but you can relate more to Vick than No.5...." The issues of black folks "closing ranks" around one of their own is a very interesting one. Now, within the barbershop or church, or group, folks will look at a black athlete or celeb who has messed up and say: "What a fool!" but we tend to look at criticism coming from the media and other perceived "white" outlets and close ranks. It happened with O.J. Simpson, happened with R Kelly, happened with Iverson when he got into trouble, happened with Tiger Woods to a certain extent and absolutely happened with Vick after the dogfighting incident.(I'd mention the "Bishop" Eddie Long here but man, that's a whole other thing. If he's guilty of using his position of power to get favors from young males, what an insult to MLK's legacy that fool is. Here's a goodread on that subjectby one of favorite contemporary writers: Chrisopher Hitchens.) And most recently, some black folks bristled when the sports world turned on LeBron James after his ill-fated "decision." (I STILL think it waspunk move but that's me) Here is a great take on the issue of "black protectionism" and the LeBron thing by Vincent Thomas.-Les Bowen of the Philly Daily News addressed race and Vick in a great column earlierthis week.-A good read on VickMcNabb by Stefan Lovelace here. -And a few months backyou know my former colleague at the KC Star, Jason Whitlockhad HIS take.Check it here. Anway, it's an interesting discussion, one that will no doubt go on for years to come.I'll say this: when I do ever get around to having offspring, I would want my young son to learn from the mistakes of a Vick but otherwise embrace and look up to a Grant Hill or McNabb. Again, that's just me....-By the way, Vick's terrific story of redemption - and it is amazing, I'm very happy for the man - isn't the only one.. Some of his dogs have bounced back as well. One of my high school classmates, Clara Yori, rehabs pit bulls who have been abused in dogfighting rings and has one of Vick's dogs. His name is Hector and today he's a happy, go-lucky fella who is a certified therapy dog. I'm not kidding. He evenhas his own facebook page... For a geat read on how many of Vick's dogs have bounced back and are living life, check this.Check out today's show for some good Skins-Eagles talk as I'll be joined by Brian Mitchell, Rick Maese of the Post and fomer Hokie and Packers Hall of Famer Antonio Freeman. You know B-Mitch will have something to say and I can't wait to get Freeman's take. He, of course, played one season with McNabb and is a Hokie so you know he's happy for Vick. -My game of the week is Bmore at Pitt. I'll take the Ravens to win outright. Every time I think about this game, I remember that Charlie Batch is facing the Ravens defense. Just can't pick the Steelers in this one...-My college game of the week is 4-0 Stanford at 4-0 Oregon. I have a sneaking suspicion that Stanford is the best team in the country...Just a gut feeling.. Love that QB Luck and that defense. Man oh man were they hitting Notre Dame last week....Get involved with the show by tweeting (twitter.comwashpostlive) or texting 68683 (hit WPL and your comments).. Have a great Friday....