The only rock-and-roller to write a song
about the Washington Bullets' 1978 NBA championship run, E Street band
guitarist Nils Lofgren knows his sports. But fandom has limits. Hence
the reason Lofgren can't get excited about the comeback of Philadelphia
Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, who is having an MVP-type season three
years after pleading guilty on federal dog fighting charges. In an open
letter to ESPN and "the men and women of the sports reporting
community," Lofgren expressed his dismay over the NFL's decision to
reinstate Vick and blasted the network for its laudatory coverage of the
quarterback's return. Some excerpts:
I am so disheartened
and disappointed by your collective, lopsided praise of Michael Vick due
to his recent spectacular on-field performance. ... I support his
right to earn a living. But, while I can't fault him for taking great
advantage of the opportunities afforded him by playing in the NFL, I
feel he does not deserve that lofty a place in our society and culture.
However repentant he may be, he committed acts whose vileness will
resonate down the years. When you do what Vick did, a second chance
should never include the rare gift of an NFL career and the potential
bounty it offers. ... How can we justify this saga to our children? ... The cynic in me thinks maybe if Vick
were a third-string lineman, the NFL would have set an example and
banned him for life. ... For the NFL to be that forgiving of evil,
vicious behavior is a terribly inappropriate act of forgiveness and has
brought a sick, sad, dirty feeling to many of us fans who have loved the
game for so long.
And to you reporters, whom I enjoy and
respect, the sentiments in this letter are suspiciously absent in your
hundreds of hours of Vick coverage. ... Just because the NFL lost its spine
and common sense on this matter doesn't mean you reporters have to get
in line and go along.
Strong words. Lofgren though, a Washington D.C. native and vocal
Redskins fan, may have had extra motivation: Vick's evisceration
of his hometown team on Monday night football last month.
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