Fact Check

Open Letter to the NACCP About Michael Vick

An open letter to the NAACP in Atlanta about Michael Vick.

Published Sep 29, 2007

Claim:   Open letter to the Atlanta NAACP protests the chapter president's support of Michael Vick.

Status:   Multiple — see below.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, September 2007]

Saturday, August 18, 2007

An Open Letter To The Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP.

Dear Dr. R L White, Head of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP.

My name is Mike. I am 27, and I am neither a member of your organization nor a resident of Atlanta. Normally I wouldn't bother you, but then I came across this article, and it compelled me to write. Since I am white, I am going to tread carefully, so as not to offend your gentle sensibilities. But, Dr. White, you are a dumb ****. Speaking for white people everywhere, let me fill you in on something.


case was not a race issue. It was about killing dogs. And if there is one thing people don't stand for, regardless of race, it's killing dogs. You compared it to deer hunting. Again, Dr. White, you are a dumb ****. When was the last time a deer greeted you at the door when you got home from work? Or curled up next to you and gently nuzzled in to take a nap? Dogs are pets, you moron. They aren't meant to be killed for sport. The failure to make this distinction only makes you look stupider. Sorry, I lost my temper there.

Here's the thing, Dr. White. The reason people were outraged by this was because he killed dogs. If Ben Roethlisberger or Brett Favre had done it, the reaction would have been the same, I guarantee you. The difference is, had Ben Roethlisberger or Brett Favre done this, you wouldn't see white supporters rallying behind them, proclaiming he was innocent in the face of damning evidence, supporting him regardless of the outcome. Let me let you in on a secret about white people; when one of our own makes us look bad, we condemn him and disown him. I suggest you adopt a similar policy. If your group's mission is truly to advance 'colored' people (your word, not mine) you'd best disassociate from the idiots in your race. It can't go wrong, trust me.

Anyway, Dr. White, I don't want this to come off as racist, because it isn't. Michael Vick is a despicable person who happens to be black. The sooner you realize that, the less of a dumb **** you'll look like.

Respectfully, Mike

Origins:   When Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was arrested and indicted on federal charges relating to his involvement with staged dogfights (to which he later pled guilty) in August 2007, he potentially stood to lose not only his freedom (to a prison sentence), but also his career (if the NFL should choose to permanently bar him over the issue) and up to $100 million in salary, bonuses, and endorsements. Some of Vick's supporters maintained that he was being scrutinized too closely and judged too quickly and too harshly, and that the public was condemning a "young black man for sins that would be more easily forgiven — or at least, less stridently covered and condemned — in a white person."

One such supporter was Dr. R.L. White, president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who told Newsweek:

"I think [the scrutiny of Vick is] racially influenced as well. Obviously celebrities are scrutinized, but he has attracted scrutiny prior to this case for no other reason than because of his 'thuggish' image. That persona may have turned some people off, and when people see that they assume you've done something wrong. He's definitely getting attention because of his celebrity, but in terms of people's judgment of his guilt, that's essentially racial profiling. He's been completely vilified."

Dr. White also proclaimed to the press that:

"In some instances, I believe Michael Vick has received more negative press than if he would've killed a human being," White said. "The way he is being persecuted, he wouldn't have been persecuted that much had he killed somebody."

White also said he didn't understand the uproar over dogfighting, when hunting deer and other animals is perfectly acceptable.

He urged the National Football League, the Atlanta Falcons and Vick's commercial sponsors not to dump the troubled athlete.

"We feel that whatever the courts demand as a punishment for what he has done, once he has paid his debt to society, then he should be treated like any other person in the NFL," White said.

(At the national level, however, NAACP interim president and CEO Dennis Courtland Hayes stated that the organization "did not have an official position on the case" and that he "didn't want to speculate about whether Vick was being treated differently because he is black").

Trying to assign any kind of truth status to the "Open Letter to the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP" reproduced above is a rather pointless exercise. Obviously someone wrote it (or we wouldn't be reading it), but the author isn't specifically identified in the letter, and the text has been circulated in versions featuring different given names (e.g., "Larry," "Mike") and ages (e.g., 27, 63, 70+) in the opening sentences. (This blogger has claimed credit for writing it.) The fact that it's an "Open Letter" (i.e., intended as something for general readership rather than personal communication) also means it wasn't sent to either Dr. White or the Atlanta NAACP. And while the letter was penned in response to statements genuinely made by Dr. White, it is nonetheless purely an expression of opinion.

Last updated:   1 October 2007


  Sources Sources:

    Alston, Joshua.   "'That's Not Due Process.'"

    Newsweek.   2 August 2007.

    Bryant, Howard.   "Vick Case Has Us Confounded by the Race Issue Again."

    ESPN.com.   27 September 2007.

    Chaudhry, Lakshmi.   "Michael Vick Doesn't Need Your Help."

    The Nation.   6 September 2007.

    Tucker, Tim.   "Vick's Wasted Fortune of Historic Proportions."

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.   26 August 2007.

    CNN.com.   "NAACP Official: Vick Shouldn't Be Banned from NFL."

    23 August 2007.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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