Jason Weintraub

ESPN Turns Michael Vick White To Test Our Racism


ESPN The Magazine has a column about Michael Vick this week that features the Pro-Bowl quarterback as a white man, while asking the question what if Michael Vick was white.

Author Touré penned the piece to discuss the race and class issues surrounding Michael Vick’s story, but has claimed he asked ESPN to not use the picture of Michael Vick.

Touré says that picture is both inappropriate and undermines his entire premise, which is that Vick’s story is not possible without all of the circumstances (race, class, community, family) that have made up his life.

Here’s an except from the column to help better understand his point.

The problem with the “switch the subject’s race to determine if it’s racism” test runs much deeper than that. It fails to take into account that switching someone’s race changes his entire existence. In making Vick white, you have him born to different parents. That alone sets his life trajectory in an entirely different direction.

If Vick had been born to white parents, you wouldn’t even be reading this right now. That Vick would have had radically different options in life compared with the Vick who grew up in the projects of Newport News, Va., where many young black men see sports as the only way out.

Do you think the picture diminishes the article, and how inappropriate do you think it is?

Comment Comments: 12 Tags Tags: mike vick, espn the magazine

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  • aleximaq

    The pictue doesn’t bother me at…it is what it….but one things for sue….Black or white Michael Vick is a good looking man…..

  • Shay

    I don’t agree with if he were born to white parents he wouldnt have done what he did people kill me acting like whites dont do any wrong. All races hsve ignorant manipulating people so get out of here with that you have just as many whites on welfare,killing etc. you just dont here about it as mucj as you do blacks

  • Evelyn


  • Who’s more racist, white people or black people? It’s white people! You know why? Chris Rock couldn’t have said it better himself >> http://placeitonluckydan.com/2011/04/crackas-a-search-replace/

  • I agree with Toure’. It is inappropriate.

  • Sheri/Philly

    We all know that there is a huge gap in the back stories of a good majority of sports figures based on their ethnic backgrounds,as well as financial means during the formative years. I do,however agree that there are white folks who have had,and still have dog/cock fighting in their communities that haven’t had nearly the same scrutiny/backlash as Mike has had and still contends with to this day.

    He will never be judged totally by his athleticism,no matter what.This narrowmindedness extends to our President,& ordinary citizens as well.YES,the picture is totally inappropriate !!!!

  • @MrBullDog8107

    I feel that the picture is only inappropriate depending on the perspective used. If it’s used purely as a point of reference in a debate and not to mock Michael Vick then the picture is appropriate. For the reason the picture was drawn; in my opinion I don’t believe the white Michael Vick wouldn’t not be the same as the African American man we know of now. Our past is the gateway to our future so what we experience in our past develops our thinking, reflexes, decisions, our perspective of right and wrong. So as was stated in a post prior to mine, a white Michael Vick would be born to a different world where using sports as a means to having better and leaving a person’s community was as big an option as what cheese to use in a Cordon Bleu.

  • ChrisjIII

    I don’t see anything wrong with the photo. If anything it adds more realism to the article. Of course the reaction from white America would be much more positive than it has been for Mike Vick. I’m just glad that he’s back and proving himself to be the best quarterback in the NFL.

  • Al in SoCal

    It’s doubtful the dogs who died as a result of Vick choking them or fighting them cared whether he was white or black. Vick went somewhere that most people (note the word most) abhor – violence against dogs. I’m a cat owner, but if Vick had fought cats – I doubt even half of the outrage would have occurred.

    Let’s dispense with the notion that the result of Vick’s actions was borne out of racism. Most young men, even from the background that Vick came from do not run dog fighting kennels. To pawn off his actions as “normal for his surroundings” is a total copout. Even young men who do enjoy the dog fighting don’t take it to Vick’s level of choking dogs to death with their bare hands. It’s a personality flaw – and one flaw that society at large does not have any tolerance for.

    • Al in SoCal

      The word that was removed was “pawn off” – don’t know why it’s censored.

    • Al in SoCal

      How about just replace it with “excuse” to excuse Vick’s actions.

  • Yuri Nator

    When I first saw this picture at a passing glance, I thought it was a picture of a Nazi war criminal.  Turns out it was the sociopath known as Ron Mexico.