ESPN makes Michael Vick look white for an essay debunking the idea
When superstar quarterback Michael Vick went to jail for dogfighting, some of his most ardent admirers suggested ther outcome might have been different if Vick, who is black, were a Caucasian.
In an essay recently posted online and scheduled for the Sept. 5 issue of ESPN the Magazine, writer Toure argues the opposite, noting "This question makes me cringe. It is so facile, naive, shortsighted and flawed that it is meaningless."
But that didn't stop the graphics folks at ESPN from making its button-pushing question a photographic reality.
Using the magic of photoshop, Vick is transformed to a pink-skinned, brown haired specimen, with a buzzcut hairstyle and iron gray eyes. The image seems more jarring than the essay could possibly be, summing up the uneasy questions many sports fans and people of color struggled with, once Vick's crimes came to light.
The fact is, the circumstances of anyone's life are too complex to reduce to such a simple "what if?" Who knows if a white Vick would still have been raised with a father who sturggled with addiction, or a lifelong connection to dogfighting or an entourage big enough that a cousin would eventually lead police to his dogfighting kennel?
Instead, this essay and photo seem aimed at making some viral noise, revisting question of class and race that got chewed over pretty completely in 2007.
What do you think? Is this a topic worth revisiting four years later? And was the photo illustration appropriate?