Today in Philadelphia, the Atlanta Falcons will be reunited with Michael Vick, their former star quarterback who now plays for the Eagles.
More than 700 miles away, I thought of Vick on Wednesday when I read the message on Harlem High School's marquee out in front of the school.
"Dog Fight: Harlem vs. Thomson," read the sign, which had previewed the Oct. 8 Bulldogs vs. Bulldogs matchup and had not yet been changed.
Simply put, when I saw the sign, the following thought popped in my head: Why is it OK to talk about dog fighting when the process is so inhumane?
Didn't we learn anything from hearing about so many canines being subjected to terrible, horrible things during Vick's hearing on federal dog fighting charges?
Now, using the term "dog fight" is admittedly different from taking part in the activity, or worse, staging it. It's a euphemism for a hard-fought competition, and a clever one at that when two teams with dog mascots face off in a sporting event.
And Harlem's use of the term "dog fight" is far from the only mention of it in recent times. Broadcasts of sporting events are littered with on-air personalities using the term freely and openly.
Those same television and radio broadcasters -- as well as some writers in newspapers and magazines -- use other terms without regard for what they really mean.
One example occurs when someone will say, "These guys are playing so hard! This game is a war!"
Especially in a time when so many U.S. troops are overseas in hostile environments, might individuals realize that a football game is far from being a "war"? The players play for 60 minutes, then are allowed to go as they please.
It doesn't quite work that way in combat.
These situations are part of a bigger issue that reminds me of something mothers and grandmothers for many generations have told children and grandchildren.
"Think before you speak," the adage goes.
While writers have the benefit of being able to proofread their work, broadcasters' work goes out instantly. Thus, once they say something, it can't be taken back and is subject to instant criticism.
Still, there is something to be said for thinking momentarily and finding just the right thing to say, just as those encouraging fans to attend a football game should think before using a questionable euphemism.
In essence, don't do what one Fox broadcaster did during a nationally televised baseball game earlier this season.
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard came to bat, and immediately the broadcaster began praising the superstar slugger.
He got so wrapped up in the process that he uttered the following: "Ryan Howard is so important to his team. He literally carries his team on his back."
Strong guy he must be.
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