We can’t consider the story of Vick’s rise and fall with understanding the context of the systemic racism that informed his life at every step, including his interaction with the criminal justice system and an American public intent on punishing people of color far more harshly than they do white people.
There is no shortage of evidence showing the profoundly racist double standards our society applies to black boys and men, particularly those who have found financial success or have any sort of public platform.
White boys make mistakes. Black boys are thugs. White boys have their whole futures ahead of them. Black boys are superpredators.
…Since pleading guilty to the dog-fighting charges 10 years ago, Vick has served nearly two years in federal prison, paid for the care of all of the dogs seized from his property, apologized sincerely and completely for his crimes, publicly campaigned for stricter laws against dog fighting and joined— on his own volition — the Humane Society of the United States’ campaign against dog fighting.