No where in Bryan Burwell’s carefully worded opinion do we see lack of education and lack of guidance mentioned as a primary cause for the errors of Michael Vick. Instead he focuses on blaming, you guessed it, hip hop music and hip hop culture.

I’ve written about this before, and so I want to be very precise with my words. For far too many modern black athletes, “keepin’ it real” has become the dangerous anthem that is threatening to destroy all the good that the previous generation of black athletes helped create.

“‘Keepin’ it real’ is one of the most dangerous phrases in our language,” St. Louis Rams Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson says. “It puts us in situations we have no business being in, then makes it almost impossible to get out of.”

This is the misguided notion that the only way to appeal to the young demographic of the sneaker-buying public is to adopt the negative attitudes of the thug life popularized by black gangster rappers. It is all part of the systematic hijacking of the Black American culture. And the worst part is, too many of us just let it happen. We let it happen by passively condoning this mess. The minute we started embracing the images of Allen Iverson as the edgy iconoclast, but sniffed our noses at a straight arrow like David Robinson as “too soft” and lacking in “street cred,” we helped fuel this mess. We fueled it every time we sanctioned the repeat violations of stupidity by Vick and all the other new athletic minstrels every time they stumbled and we accepted their sorry alibis.

It didn’t happen overnight. It was an insidious virus that spread over the past 20 years and has flowed through every bit of our culture. What has happened is that we let the real African American culture get buried under the darkest element of a hip-hop generation that glorified and perpetuated all the worst racial stereotypes our parents, grandparents and great grandparents took their lifetimes to erase. It’s not the music that did it, okay? It’s the culture that it spawned.