By Shawn Muller –

(CBS) ESPN – the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports” – has stooped to a level lower than I could have ever imagined. In the upcoming September 5th issue of ESPN The Magazine, an article written by Toure’, asks a question that seems so very simple, but at the same time, is so very complex.

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The author asks: “What if Michael Vick Were White?”

The author puts hypotheticals out there for the reader to take in, digest, and reach a conclusion as to whether the Michael Vick we know would have turned out to be the same Michael Vick had he been white.

This is utterly ridiculous on so many levels and ESPN should be embarrassed for putting such a thing in print.

We can play the “what if” game all we want, but ignorance is ignorance, whether a person is black, white, Chinese, or Indian. Hypothetical or not, something like the article written by Toure’ should never have been printed. Absolutely nothing good could come out of it, even if nothing bad was meant by it.

Michael Vick grew up in a poor crime-ridden area of Newport News, VA, and was exposed to many things that the majority of us were fortunate enough not to be around. While I do feel for him in that regard—along with countless others who have to live in those conditions everyday– it doesn’t automatically excuse Vick for the actions HE chose to partake in as an adult….famous athlete or not.

That is an excuse in itself, is it not?

Race relations in this country have been and always will be a touchy subject. It absolutely sucks, but it is the truth, and articles like this—even if the intent was completely harmless—will do nothing to help.

What Michael Vick was busted for is not about the color of his skin. His crimes are about his own stupidity. Dismissing Vick’s actions as a simple case of socioeconomic status and race is unfounded and ignorant…especially to all of the citizens who have lived virtuous lives in under-privileged communities that do not resort to committing criminal acts. If I were a member of an underprivileged community, I would be more upset that someone would make such a broad generalization about the people of my community. Just because Vick was poor as a youth and supposedly exposed to dog-fighting on the streets of Newport News, doesn’t give him a pass. Ignorance knows no color and it certainly does not know socioeconomic status. There are plenty of underprivileged kids that are exposed to drugs, violence, and gangs, growing up, but do all of them become gang-bangers, drug dealers, and murderers?

Of course they don’t.

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Vick made his own choices that lead to his arrest and subsequent prison sentence for the crimes he committed.

So many people want to point the finger at anything other than themselves for their problems, but it takes a bigger person to look in the mirror and say, “I caused my own problems. I made my own mistakes. I am the one to blame.”

Michael Vick is no different. Here was a guy, with a $100 million-plus contract to play a professional sport, he was making millions more millions in endorsements, and had life in the palm of his hands.

But he blew it.

Vick could have separated himself from the bad influences of his childhood, but he chose not to. I don’t care if they were childhood friends or family, if a person truly cares about you, they will not put you in a compromising situation that could cost you everything you had worked so hard to achieve.

Lucky for Vick, he has been given a second chance in life and in professional sports. I really do hope that the incarceration helped him want to lead a better life, and that he embraces the second chance he has been given.

Stupidity is everywhere, from the mansions of Beverly Hills to the slums of Newport News.

White or black, rich or poor, it doesn’t matter.

Race had nothing to do with Vicks personal decisions.

Shawn Muller

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Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at Read more of his blogs here.