If reading a racially charged Internet message board is your cup of tea, head on over to ESPN SportsNation between now and April 25, as voters decide who should be the cover boy for Madden 12—Peyton Hillis, who last season became the first white running back to rush for more than 1,000 yards since Craig James in 1985, or Michael Vick, who last season became the first quarterback to lead his team into the playoffs after serving time in prison for running a dog-fighting ring.
Yeah, the exchange of ideas on that message board will no doubt remind many of Plato’s Symposium.
Comment moderators will be working overtime to whitewash (no pun intended) the racially charged insights that will inevitably be posted. But let’s face it, anonymous Internet messages are often a direct reflection of how people honestly feel—or how they’d want things to be if, you know, they were allowed to say and do things that weren’t considered blatantly racist. And so Hillis’ campaign is undoubtedly propped up by white fans who love seeing a white player succeed at a traditionally black position. And Vick’s campaign is undoubtedly propped up by black fans who love seeing a black player succeed at a traditionally white position. Are these the only types of fans voting for either side? Of course not. But to act like race isn’t a component of this balloting is as naïve as saying race didn’t play a factor in the 2008 (or 2012) presidential election.