Peyton Hillis, a man who ran through, around, and over NFL teams in 2010 on his way to becoming the first white running back in more than 25 seasons to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season has been selected by fans to appear on the 2012 Madden NFL video game. He defeated Michael Vick, the favorite athlete of Black people everywhere, handily:
Hillis was announced Wednesday as the winner of the fan vote, under way since March 21, on “SportsNation” on ESPN2. In all, almost 13 million votes were cast during the process — including more than 1 million in the final.
The 10th-seeded Hillis overwhelmingly defeated Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, seeded third, garnering 66 percent of the vote in the final of the 32-player bracket to become the cover of this year’’s version of the popular NFL video game franchise. This is the first year fans were allowed to vote for the game’’s cover.
The NFL was at a cross-roads: allow one of the most valuable video game franchises to have a player who spent a few years in jail grace the cover, or a rare white running back. That fans who voted in the poll overwhelmingly selected Hillis – who showed flashes of brilliance in Denver in 2008 before being injured and basically sitting out the 2009 because the coaches were afraid of playing a white running back – is a clear indicator that the ghetto-ization of the NFL (which destroyed the NBA) is not desired.
Consider that an ESPN poll on sports fans loyalties, it was found that:
Of black sports fans surveyed, 65 percent say they admire Vick, compared with just 25 percent of the white fans.
Despite being a convicted felon, Black fans allegiance is eternal. Take this New York Times article from 2008:
Tiauna Crooms, a devotee of the Atlanta Falcons, gushed about their rookie quarterback, Matt Ryan, from her seat at the Georgia Dome.
“I’m excited about him,” she said.
She was so excited that she was wearing a red Falcons jersey bearing Ryan’s name and No. 2. In a human garden suddenly sprouting No. 2s, Crooms was conspicuous for one reason: She is black.
In this resurgent season for the Falcons, the uniform of choice for the team’s substantial black following is that of a player inactive since 2006, never again to work his football hocus-pocus for Atlanta, and confined to a federal prison.
Michael Vick, No. 7 in the old program, retains iconic status in a city where more than half the population is black, despite his guilty plea for involvement in a dogfighting ring. He is serving 23-month sentence, which runs into next July, in Leavenworth, Kansas. But he was back home in Virginia this week, in protective custody at Hopewell Regional Jail, for an appearance at Surry County Circuit Court to plead guilty on state dogfighting charges in exchange for a three-year suspended sentence.
A few hundred fans, nearly all black, still wear their support on their backs at games. It is a fashion statement: Vick, if gone, is not forgotten. While the team’s legion of black rooters offer a hearty thumbs-up to Ryan, few have turned the page to the extent of Tiauna Crooms, herself a Vick backer.
Vick had reached the mountaintop for black athletes in team sports by becoming a starting NFL quarterback. In Atlanta, with a population 56 percent black within city limits and 31 percent metro-wide, his ascendancy was reason to celebrate.
The Vick love affair advanced because of his eye-pleasing, heart-pounding style of play: an unfettered jazz musician in contrast to the rigid pop star who portrays the typical quarterback.
“We miss Vick,” said Timothy Chambers, a tailgater before the home game Nov. 16 against the Denver Broncos, shouting over the sounds of the Atlanta hip-hop group Goodie Mob blasting from parking-lot speakers. “It’s not the same as it was.”
Chambers said his circle of season-ticket holder friends contracted from about 30 to 18 last season.
“There’s more white people in the crowd now; when Vick was in there, it was almost totally black,” Chambers said, exaggerating to illustrate his point.
This was a racial referendum. Plain and simple. White sports fans have longed for a great white hope to cheer for in the NFL that doesn’t just throw the football or block for the quarterback and running back.
That white running backs, when given the opportunity (look at the play of Brock Forsey, Heath Evans, Brian Leonard Toby Gerhart and Danny Woodhead) have produced positive results, yet get so few opportunities is due to the conditioning of sports fans to not accept white athletes as equal to the Black athletes who carry the ball.
Few even care that the NFL (69 percent Black) has become a league that employs thugs and individuals (more than 75 percent) who go bankrupt upon retiring. In the 2011 lockout, 10 players have been arrested (one white player for stealing booze at a casino).
Black defense lineman Albert Haynesworth, who was signed by the Washington Redskins for more than $100 million – and recently cut – epitomizes the mentality of most modern professional athletes:
Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth(notes) allegedly slid his credit card into the bra of a waitress and then touched her breast, according to court papers filed Wednesday offering Haynesworth a plea deal in the sexual abuse case.One witness who saw the exchange believed that the waitress had agreed to let Haynesworth place the card in her bra, but reported that her tone turned stern and she asked him to remove his hand after he touched her, according to the documents. The card was ultimately declined, and another waitress took it back to Haynesworth, prosecutors say in the document.
After the waitress told other employees what had happened, a security person at the hotel approached Haynesworth and asked him whether he remembered having any contact with the woman.
“I didn’t touch her,” Haynesworth responded, according to the document, adding that he doesn’t “even like black girls.”
When police detectives later tried to interview Haynesworth, he spontaneously told them, according to court papers: “I know what this is about, she is just upset I have a white girlfriend. I couldn’t tell you the last time I dated a black girl. She was trying to get with me.
Professional and collegiate sports are the primary vehicle for providing positive examples of Black people to the American public. Movies and television shows allow Black actors to portray characters that the American public can relate to, yet have few equals in the real-world.
That Peyton Hillis trounced Michael Vick by such a wide-margin shows you that the American public still desires that great white hope. Hillis has already proven he can be that athlete; the question is how many more white athletes will be given a chance to do the same.
Peyton Hillis defeating Michael Vick in the EA Sports “Sportsnation” poll to win the opportunity to grace the cover of Madden 2012 – the most popular video game franchise – is a clear sign of racism on the part of voters. That a felon, who spent time in jail for dog-fighting and was awarded the NFL Comeback Player of the Year and got the keys to the city of Dallas from a Black elected official, only got 34 percent of the vote can only be explained through racism.