From various sources, I’d seen this article on Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, titled “The 247 lb. Vegan”. Now that I’ve read it, one fact is clear: Tony Gonzalez is not a vegan. I’m not sure that he specifically calls himself a vegan now, although the article makes clear that he has in the past. But the presence of meat in his diet demonstrates that he is an omnivore, however limited his consumption of animal products may be.
Contrary to what some want to believe, I don’t care. So we “lost” one. I don’t judge the worth of my veganism on its popular acceptance. Having celebrities among our numbers is momentarily fascinating but ultimately irrelevant. Save the glee over Tony Gonzalez.
And the excuses for meat. From Debbie Schlussel:
Lots of vegan, vegetarian, and animal rights sites around the Net are buzzing about today’s Wall Street Journal feature, “The 247 Lb. Vegan*”. They’re claiming that this article, about the diet of 247 lb. Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Tony Gonzalez, proves that an animal products-free diet is sustainable for anyone regardless of the lifestyle, physique, or profession.
But it’s a lie. There’s a reason there is an asterisk in the title of the article. Gonzalez’s diet includes 1,120 calories of broiled salmon for dinner. …
Ooooooh, we are so busted. Or as Schlussel points out with the title of her entry:
Weekend Read: Can a 247 lb. NFL Lineman Be a Vegan?
(Subtitle: Vegans Are Lying)
Presumably she’s referring to the “lots of vegan, vegetarian, and animal rights sites around the Net” that are “buzzing” about the article’s claim. Strangely, she doesn’t link to a single site – vegan, vegetarian, animal rights, or otherwise – that discusses this article. She merely makes her unsupported statement, excerpts a bit from the article from one expert about the non-viability of a vegan diet for an elite athlete, and offers a “suck it” to vegans because we’re allegedly too stupid to realize that chicken is meat and fish oil is an animal-based product. They are? For real? Wow, I learn something new every day.
Allow me to demonstrate a little logic and honesty by going one step further. In the video associated with the article, Mr. Gonzalez makes a smoothie. He states (at 3:08):
You put, uh, your rice milk on there. Or almond milk or, or regular milk.
I think he means cow’s milk, which is not vegan. There is your definitive proof that I lie about my diet. Tony Gonzalez calls himself a vegan, but he eats meat and maybe milk. I call myself a vegan because I don’t eat meat or milk. The label matters; the action does not. We are both lying.
I’m not surprised by her thinking, having read Schlussel’s entry. She offers this in response to her question in her title:
So, the answer is no. One cannot be an NFL lineman and be a vegan. You need animal protein to maintain the weight. And looking at the photo of Gonzalez, he looks on the small and thin side for an NFL lineman. He’d probably be much bigger and stronge [sic]–a prized advantage in an NFL line–if he ate meat and protein and drank cow’s or goat’s milk. …
Before ridiculing her scientific method, it should be noted that 247 pounds is not an atypical size for an NFL tight end. A tight end is not a lineman in the traditional sense, so he is not as big as the guards, tackles, and center. For example, Redskins Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley is 6′ 3″ and 249 pounds. This year’s Pro Bowl starters at tight end are Jason Witten (6′ 5″, 266) and Antonio Gates (6′ 4″, 260). Schlussel’s reasoning, if it can be called that, is empty of any knowledge of her subject matter. But there’s no need to let that be an impediment, I suppose.
But to the proof of her thesis statement, the first reported attempt by an NFL player to be a vegan “failed”. There’s no question of whether he received incorrect advice from his nutritionists. There’s no examination of how an actual vegan might approach a dietary need for more than 3,000 calories per day. This one example of a player who may not actually self-identify (I think he does) as vegan is enough. This is definitive; it’s impossible to be a vegan lineman in the NFL. Next up, her proof that God exists.
If Mr. Gonzalez calls himself a vegan, he is mistaken. If Mr. Gonzalez does not call himself a vegan, the article is mistaken. One of those two statement is fact. The answer is not clear, so The Wall Street Journal reporter (and/or editor) botched the article by not clarifying this point. That, and maybe Debbie Schlussel’s disregard for facts, is the only takeaway from the article.
Hat tip to Elaine Vigneault for the heads up on Schlussel’s nonsense.