My grandmother explained to me that in 1947, all alliances were broken. Whatever tribalism had connected Blacks around the country to other Major League baseball teams-be it area of personal residence, inherited fandom, or unexplained gravitation towards particular players- in 1947, if you were Black, you became a Brooklyn Dodgers fan.
Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s preposterous “color-line” in 1947 and became the first Black man to play pro ball for anything other than a Negro League team.
My grandmother described her quick apprenticeship towards learning the game of baseball (sort of like the one the she went through to learn tennis because of the Williams Sisters) and said that actually going to see Jackie at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field were some of the most exciting times of her life.
Likewise, I feel the need now to subdue my own petty interest (go Jets!!!) for the interest of my people.
In the wake of the Michael Vick arrest, imprisonment, release, and NFL signing fiasco, I’ve only encountered two types of Black folks in regard to their take on Vick’s situation. There were the Blacks that thought Vick had done wrong, but had also done his time and now should be free to pursue his interest, and there were the Blacks who didn’t believe that Vick had done anything wrong at all.
Hell, I wear leather and love steak. The only rights I think animals got are to be on my plate or on my feet.
Now, in going to the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick joins another Black quarterback, Donovan McNabb. McNabb is likely one Super Bowl win away from being on the first ballot for the NFL Hall of Fame and the fact that McNabb himself suggested that the Eagles sign Vick just elevated Donovan’s “ghetto pass” to (pardon the pun) Black Card status.
But what if you’re not Black?
Well, in that case, it might be easy to judge what seems to be wholesale forgiveness of Vick by Blacks as some sort of pathological indifference towards dogs, but that would be wrong. In the Black community, we love our dogs too, just not more than we love each other.