"Mike postponed the taping because of the timing of the interview for personal and professional reasons," said Michael Vick's spokesman Chris Shigas. "He does not have a reschedule date at this time."
Some speculate that Vick may have canceled because other groups have been sending emails and letters to the Oprah Winfrey Show, asking that the voices of Vick's critics be heard. One of Vick's strongest critics has been Richard Hunter, a stand-up comedian who also adopted one of Vick's dogs. Hunter claims that he and others who agree with him have been harassing Oprah's producers since it was announced that Michael Vick might appear on the show.
"True to form, when Michael Vick feels the heat, he scrambles out of the pocket," said Hunter.
Given that we're in the middle of Black History Month, it's interesting to reflect on the significance of the public's animosity toward three prominent black males: Michael Vick, Barack Obama and OJ Simpson. All three of these men, while walking different paths to some extent, have one thing in common: They've all been subjected to a public media lynching of their images by a country that continues to demonize the African American male.
OJ Simpson was acquitted of his murder in 1995, but America treated him like he was guiltier than the guilty. They harassed him for the next 13 years and applauded when he went to prison for an unrelated crime. Barack Obama, a law-abiding citizen and first black president, has been made into a caricature by those who are fundamentally angry to see a black man have that much power. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly even joked about lynching President Obama's wife. Another commentator, Liz Trotta, compared him to Osama Bin Laden and said that she'd like to see him assassinated.
Michael Vick is also part of the OJ Simpson, Barack Obama tradition, where well-intended Americans make the interesting distinction between "good blacks" and bad ones. By allegedly killing a white woman, OJ Simpson became a "bad black man," being subjected to an unprecedented amount of public persecution. Michael Vick, by hurting animals, was turned into some kind of monster, with Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson saying that Vick deserved the death penalty.
What's the common theme here? Lynch mob overreaction. It's one thing to accuse Barack Obama of being a bad president, but something else to say that he's a socialist seeking to destroy the government who should be killed and impeached. It's one thing to be outraged about a man who allegedly killed his wife (Simpson) vs. ignoring the evidence and jury verdict to treat him like a guilty man. What Michael Vick did with those dogs is inexcusable, but to say that he's a monster that is beyond redemption or calling for him to die (as Tucker Carlson did on Fox News) lets us know that if Vick had committed his crime 60 years ago, he might be hanging from a tree.
As we celebrate Black History Month, we must seek to understand the tragic memories that black history brings to the forefront of our consciousness. America's past and present have a dark side and there is evidence of this social disease all around us. Our nation was not built yesterday, and racial conditioning of the last 400 years plays a key role in how the black man is viewed right now.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To follow Dr. Boyce on Facebook, please click here.