Because bottom line: I’m a Pittsburgh sports fan. Steelers, Pens, Pirates. The end.
Truth is, a lot of the morality police are out here faking outrage, threatening to cancel season tickets, send their Steelers gear to the front office, and then guilting others for remaining loyal fans.
I don’t really like Vick. Let’s be clear. I am a huge dog lover. What he did to those dogs was a heinous crime. I have always questioned the character of a person who abuses animals. Vick is no different. However, he seems to have changed his path – certainly nearly 2 years in jail helped him along the way. Whether or not his agent has suggested he do the more positive things to make a difference – e.g. supporting the Humane Society, or pushing anti-dog fighting legislation – makes no difference, he is doing it. Every single day, Michael Vick has to answer questions about what he did in his past. He will forever be linked to, and judged by, the heinous crimes he committed against dogs. And he should be.
But here’s why people are mad about the outrage over this (I said fake, but I am sure it doesn’t feel fake to those who feel it):
Harrison hit his girlfriend in 2008 and was arrested. Charges were dropped, but he hit his girlfriend. Ben was twice accused of rape***. Never arrested – charges were never pursued. Do we all think he did something, though? Sure we do. But we push that under the rug, right? We are outraged over some things, but not others. Especially those crimes against women?
Her’s another: Pouncey publicly supported a murderer by wearing a “Free Hernandez” hat. Remember that?
These guys are football players. They aren’t Gods. For whatever reason, we love this game so much we put these guys on a high pedestal. It’s misplaced hero worship. When you worship people in an organization that is part of a billion dollar industry, you set yourself up for a long, hard fall. Welcome to the bottom, Steeler Nation. See, as a Penn State alum, I already took that fall.
I was already down here, just cheering for my teams.
Welcome to the party. Do you want a beer?
I am not saying that football players should NOT be law abiding citizens. Sure they should be. Those who commit crimes should pay a price just like the rest of society.
But don’t be hypocritical jagoffs.
I find the level of outrage spewed towards Vick interesting when you compare it to the outrage over police brutality against people of color, or outrage over the corporate greed and collapse of the housing market that has literally destroyed a lot of people’s lives and ability to accumulate wealth, or the level of outrage towards those who rape or abuse women. There should be outrage over these things. Just think about it for a minute. Police are murdering people of color, criminals or not, they are taking law into their own hands and murdering people. Corporate leaders are making billions while the 99% struggle to make ends meet most of the time. The gap between rich and poor grows more and more each day. Yet, where’s that outrage? I live in DC so everyday I am forced to see on the news former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who was convicted on 11 counts of corruption, cry about how he doesn’t want to go to jail while he appeals. Meanwhile, do you think the courts would afford us the same opportunity? They surely didn’t for Sandra Bland, right? This is the point – be outraged, but put your outrage into perspective.
For me (and others – see what PittGirl wrote here) the misogyny in the world of football is what really gets me upset. Do any of you realize that Vick spent 2 years in jail and Ray Rice got a 2 game suspension? Even Ben was suspended longer with no concrete proof he did rape those women (though come on, we know).
So, the differences in outrage are just disconcerting – not that you shouldn’t be outraged, but it reiterates that we have a tolerance for violence against women, or people of color for that matter, that we don’t have in other situations.
We can just do better. As a society. We need to do better. More kindness in this world would be much appreciated. Towards everyone.
Instead of spending all this negative energy protesting the Steelers, why don’t you donate to the Humane Society, you could even adopt a dog, you could support anti-dog fighting organizations and legislation, or you can donate to a no-kill shelter. These are things you can control.
So, everytime someone says they aren’t going to follow me or they are going to block me because I don’t hate the Vick signing, hey, by all means. I am not the morality police, carry on. I am not going to say you aren’t a real fan or any of that garbage some Steelers fans have been saying.
Players come and go. I don’t support individual players like that. I am a Pittsburgh sports fan. That’s the bottom line. Plus, I have other things to spend my energy on.
I am sure there are many waiting for your season tickets to become available and still others who will buy more gear. The Steelers just don’t care what we think. They have a business to run and games to win. We can choose to support or not.
So, can we give up the outrage and fighting and just watch football again?
***Before someone gets high and mighty and points out that I am wearing a #7 jersey in my picture, let me be clear, the ONLY reason I am wearing that jersey has absolutely nothing to do with Ben, but has everything to do with that being my brother’s jersey. A few years ago I led a campaign to raise money for UPMCs oral cancer research project – this photo was taken for UPMC. I wore that jersey because my brother was supposed to be in the picture with me but at that time, was much too sick from cancer to be there. I wore it so that a piece of him was with me. Plus, he asked me to. He passed away less than a month after the photo was taken. For me, this photo reminds me of him everytime I see it.