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.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.