When some look at Michael Vick, they see an icon whose style is “so artistic, so fluid, so flamboyant, and so relentless,” according to a recent story in ESPN The Magazine.

And there are those who might still see him that way, if he were of a different race. Author Tour� ponders the question of race combined with Michael Vick’s role in sports in light of Vick’s conviction on dog fighting charges.

That article, entitled “What if Michael Vick Were White?”, will be the main focus of a panel on race to be held at West Virginia University.

The panel will be held on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Life Sciences Building Room G-15. Panelists will include Keith Reed, senior editor of ESPN The Magazine; WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck; and J.T. Thomas, former Mountaineer linebacker in the 1994-95 season and the president of the WVU Black Alumni Association. The moderator for the event is Dana Brooks, dean of the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences. WVU’s student chapter of the Association of Black Journalists will participate in the panel, with students asking questions at the event.

“The Center for Black Culture and Research decided to sponsor this program because we believe that the question ‘What if Michael Vick Were White?’ is a valid one and will facilitate some honest albeit controversial conversation that may help us try to take a realistic look at the complex racial dynamic that is in our country today,” said Marjorie Fuller, director of the Center for Black Culture and Research.

The College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and the Association of Black Journalists at WVU are helping to co-sponsor the event.

Michael Vick was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons after his sophomore year at Virginia Tech and was the first African-American quarterback to be selected first overall during the 2001 National Football League Draft.

In April 2007 Vick was arrested on a charge of illegal dog fighting and was sentenced to 21 months in prison followed by two months of home confinement. The Falcons dropped Vick who went on to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles during week three of the 2009 NFL season.

The ””What if Michael Vick Were White””:http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/id/6894586/imagining-michael-vick-white-quarterback-nfl-espn-magazine article in the Sept. 5 edition of ESPN The Magazine raises questions about Vick’s circumstances, including his race, parents, economic background and opportunities.

“By altering any of those elements, everything about him and how the world sees him, it would be unrecognizable,” Tour� wrote in the ESPN story.

Fuller has recognized the discussion’s relevance to the nation and to WVU.

“There has been considerable conversation in our nation recently about race, what it is, and what it means to us as Americans,” Fuller said. “And I think most of us would agree there is no one definitive answer. But I believe that asking questions is healthy and that there are certain questions that demand a reasonable answer.”



CONTACT: Marjorie Fuller, director of the Center for Black Culture and Research
304-293-7029, Marjorie.fuller@mail.wvu.edu

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