Saturday, December 27, 2008


Sports Illustrated's recent issue proclaims 2008 "Best Sports Year Ever."  Surely, then, the cover would feature one of 2008's exciting sports stories: highlights of the Olympics (Michael Phelps?  The U.S.A. Basketball team?), or maybe the Giants' Super Bowl upset of the Patriots, or maybe even a Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals.


The cover photo and feature was about what's happened to Michael Vick's dogs.

The Michael Vick dog-fighting story was primarily a 2007 story, yet a December 2008 SI cover proclaiming 2008 the "Best Sports Year Ever" features Michael Vick's dogs.

I'm left with two reactions.  First, that sports coverage overkills the negative.  The SI story is supposed to be a positive story about how the dogs are doing well now, but it is another chance to talk about a very negative story (and how does it justify a cover?).

Second, the excessive coverage of the Michael Vick dogfighting story continues to appear to me as scapegoating.  I'm a freaking member of PETA, so I don't think I'm making light of dogfighting when I say this.  But in a society that mostly doesn't care how animals are treated, that continues to eat historically high amounts of meat, that calls killing animals by hunting "sport," the lengthy coverage of a very visible, public, and egregious mistreatment of animals seems to me a psychological distraction.


  1. Thankfully, I'm on vacation and haven't read the issue yet. But the reaction I've read makes it sound like stoking the reaction against a misbehaving black athlete as he's due to go to a halfway house soon.

  2. Every year is the "best ever," for whatever a magazine/web site/TV show is trying to sell. 2009 will be the Best Sports Year Ever, too.

  3. Anonymous1:15 PM

    It's a great story that outlines how well things turned out for the dogs. I'm not sure why you think good news is overkill.

    It also points out that PETA and the HSUS both wanted the dogs dead...and still do wish they were dead. Amazing, considering how much money they solicited on the heels of Vick's arrest.