Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Paul Zeise has apologized profusely (and been "suspended" from television) for comments he made about the Michael Vick case. Let's take a look at what he said.
The comments were made on KDKA's "Sunday Sports Showdown."
"It's really a sad day in this country when somehow ... Michael Vick would have been better off raping a woman if you look at the outcry of what happened. Had he done that, he probably would have been suspended for four games and he'd be back on the field. But because this has become a political issue, all of a sudden the commissioner has lost his stomach for it."
We think there is a slight, tiny kernel of truth in what Ziese said; we think Roger Goodell is letting political issues affect his decision making process. This seems reasonable, though; he is, after all, the commissioner. Dealing with political issues is part of the job description.
But even though some have tried to defend Ziese, we have a hard time falling into line here. We understand that he made some major mistakes with his word choice — if at all possible, it's probably wise to avoid using the words "rape" and "better off" in the same sentence, particularly when you're on Sunday morning television — but we don't think his fundamental premise is sound. Players who have been accused of rape have hardly been getting off scot free. Kobe Bryant, when he was accused of rape, lost all of his sponsors and only got him back because he was cleared of the charges (and can score 80-plus points a game). If Vick is cleared of all charges down the line, he'll be back in the NFL. He'll surely be booed ... but definitely not any more than someone who had, you know, been convicted of rape.
We understand the point that Vick has turned into Public Enemy No. 1 even though other players beat their spouses and other human-related offenses. But we can't be with Zeise here; next time, Paul, say he would have been better off if he had killed an innocent woman in a drunk driving accident. That would have been far more accurate, and cutting.
Free Paul Zeise [PGH Bloggers]