New York Knicks Star Stephon Marbury and Dr. Boyce Watkins Defend Michael Vick on 'The Today Show,' CNN

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Syracuse University Professor and YourBlackWorld.com founder Dr. Boyce Watkins stands alongside Stephon Marbury of the New York Knicks, the NAACP and former Dallas Cowboy star Deion Sanders in support of Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons. The men are part of a small and growing group of African-Americans, particularly black males, who are asking that Michael Vick not be banned from the NFL and be allowed to resume his career after the dog fighting scandal has ended. Dr. Watkins has appeared on CNN and The Today Show and will be on New York City's Hot 97 this weekend campaigning in support of Michael Vick's right to fairness.

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What if George Bush were a Black Man?

Atlanta Falcons star Michael Vick, embroiled in a dog fighting scandal, has taken a tremendous amount of criticism recently. However, not all prominent Americans are quick to attack him. New York Knicks star Stephon Marbury and prominent Syracuse University Professor and founder of the popular website YourBlackWorld.com Dr. Boyce Watkins, both appeared on "The Today Show" and CNN Headline News to provide some element of support for Michael Vick as he faces the dog fighting charges and abandonment from his former team, the Atlanta Falcons.

"It's odd that we call Michael Vick a monster and barbarian for dog fighting," says Dr. Watkins author of the popular book "What if George Bush were a Black Man?". "At the same time, Dick Cheney went on a hunting trip with full intent to kill animals and also shot his friend in the face while he was at it. He and Karl Rove have killed thousands in Iraq with Rove endangering the life of a CIA operative, but no one is calling them monsters. Those ugly terms are more likely to be used for black men."

Dr. Watkins and Stephon Marbury were joined by the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP and former Dallas Cowboys star Deion Sanders in providing support for Vick, but stopped short of saying that Michael Vick is innocent. "I agree with Stephon Marbury that Michael Vick broke the law and should face punishment," says Dr. Watkins, who has done Distinguished Lectures in China and Germany. "The problem is that the punishment must fit the crime and the notion that he should pay with the rest of his career is ridiculous."

Dr. Watkins, who often discusses black male athletes on ESPN, CNN, BET and other networks, stated that the tremendous scrutiny being faced by Michael Vick is not uncommon. Speaking on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, Watkins asked "Do you REALLY think it's a coincidence that the most hated athlete in America is almost always a black man? Whether you're talking about Michael Vick, OJ Simpson, Terrell Owens, Barry Bonds, Ron Artest, Muhammad Ali, or Jack Johnson, there's always an extra element of disdain that is preserved for the black male athlete. Also, most black male athletes are not like Deion Sanders and Stephon Marbury, willing to come to Vick's defense. Most of the black male athletes are afraid."

In a recent opinion poll taken on YourBlackWorld.com, it was determined that America is divided along racial lines in the Vick case. While African-Americans are divided in their perceptions of Michael Vick, the overwhelming majority of white Americans feel that the charges have nothing to do with race.

Dr. Watkins argues that the issue goes beyond personal responsibility. On a recent CNN interview, he mentioned that "There are far more black athletes doing the right thing than the other way around, but the only time we put black men on TV is when they are screwing up. If you shine a consistent negative light on a group of people, you are always going to see dirt. But this notion that 'all those athletes need to stop getting in trouble' is as ridiculous as seeing Paris Hilton and saying 'all those white women need to stop drinking and driving.'"

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of "What if George Bush were a Black Man?" He is regularly featured in the national media, including CNN, USA Today, FOX, ESPN and NPR. For more information, please visit http://www.yourblackworld.com or http://www.boycewatkins.com. Blue Boy Publishing & Media owns several web properties, including the highly popular website http://www.FIERCE411.com , one of the most popular sites on the web for African American and Latino women.

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