Tuesday, July 31st, 2007...11:54 pm

Bad Newz For Vick

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I’ve been following the Michael Vick fiasco and it makes me sick to my stomach….and it has nothing to do with how he treated poochie.

I’ve discussed his situation with different people in the context of talking sports. Most people disagree with my views on the matter but the more I think about it the more I’m sticking to view.

Michael Vick is getting hosed.

I do agree that Vick is immature and he has done a bunch of stupid and irresponsible things in his career. Investing in dog kennels was most certainly Bad Newz. Vick spent too much time with bad influences and never seemed to get that as a star athlete he was under a microscope and held to higher standards. His indiscretions are magnified because he may be the most naturally talented player to ever step on a football field. But hey, let’s call it how it is: Vick does dumb ass shit.

People who do dumb ass shit usually get a slap on the wrist. They do community service so they can do some decent stuff to make up for the dumb shit. They get suspended or traded. They say dumb things to the media and have a hard time getting endorsement deals. But since when does doing dumb ass result in the government determined to lock you up for five years, puts your professional athletic career in jeopardy, and makes you the human pariah of mankind?

Vick has been indicted on three charges. Competitive dog-fighting seems a bit crude and probably isn’t the smartest thing to be doing in your spare time when the world wants you to be a role model. Procuring and training pit bulls for fighting seems like an investment with questionably ferocious returns. Conducting the enterprise across state lines? Well, I guess I’ll think twice before I buy Bottle Rockets on my next drive through Ohio. If this is not absurd enough the government will use the testimony of Vick’s friend Tony Taylor to try and tag him with conspiracy and even racketeering. If you want a better idea of what Vick is up against check out this article.

Somehow this ordeal seems to be getting blown tremendously out of proportion. I like puppies as much as the next normal guy and when I’m playing with my dog Max the last thing I’m thinking is that I need to electrocute the little wuss when he freaks out on the vacuum cleaner. But c’mon, Dogs are dumb animals. They are in the same non-human class as deer, tunas, anorexic cattle, lab mice and the humungous sewer rat that crawls across the ledge next to my deck. Let’s examine. Deer are hunted and killed with rifles, bows and arrows, and semi-automatic machine guns by dudes with red necks. Tunas are fished by longshoreman who stab a hook in their muth, pound there head into the boat and eat them for dinner. I don’t even know how they make Veal but I can fill Yankee Stadium with people who would put it in their parmigiana. Doctors give AIDS to lab mice. I would easily fight the sewer rat in my backyard against your sewer rat or electrocute it if I got the chance. Should you really have your career ruined and go to jail for messing around with animals?

I was discussing the Vick situation with a cab driver the other night and he said that Vick is getting destroyed because “rich people love dogs”. I buy that. I guess dogs are the wrong animals to mess with as they have more political protection than most human minorities. The only thing screwing Vick worse than the US District court is the court of public opinion. It certainly is interesting how public reaction to cruelty to dogs is more severe than it is to women. There are countless athletes that have been convited or assault, spousal abuse, drunk driving, etc. A pitcher on the Marlins tried to beat up two police officers the other night and still made his scheduled start later that week!

While I know next to nothing about dog fighting my gut and this newsweek article tells me it’s a pretty popular pastime. The Humane Society estimates that the numbers of participants and spectators are in tens of thousands in the US and millions of dollars are wagered on dog fights annually. There is actually a professional circuit where breeders take their dogs around the country to fight other dogs.

Dogfights usually start when the handlers say, “Face your dogs!” At that point, the dogs are turned around and faced toward each other. There is what they call the scratch line, and when the dog crosses that line he is “scratched,” meaning he has full intent to get involved in the fight. The dogs are released from the corner, they “scratch,” and then engage. At times the impact of the dogs blocking up is audible, you can hear them collide with one another. It’s unbelievable. There is no collar, nothing. They’re completely void of any type of control or restraint. If a dog refuses to scratch, or if the dog jumps out of the ring or refuses to fight, it’s over. If a dog gets a lucky shot, if you get a dog that zips in and hits just right and takes out a jugular, the dog is all done. If you get a dog with a broken limb or a broken leg, it’s over. Broken limbs are common. You just see how much punishment the other dog will take until he just gives up or he’s incapacitated so he can’t fight any more.

There’s tons of information about dogfighting on the internet. You can also learn about cockfighting if that is your thing. Now, unless Michael Vick is the Don Frigging King of the dog fighting world why the heck are they going after him? You mean to tell me that the Feds woke up one morning and said that they need to carry out an extensive investigation to bust/frame Vick to make the world a better place. Do you really believe that Michael Vick fighting dogs is a threat to MANkind with the key word being MAN.

So here are my theories…

Somebody has it in for Vick. Maybe it’s the crazy confederates in Virginia who are still sour that they let Iverson out of jail in high school.

Maybe the ridiculously powerful PETA people thought it would be good to nab a high profile athlete. What a great way to stimulate their protests and get the public behind their initiatives.

Maybe Vegas shorted the Falcons this season and had this set up (hey if this was the NBA that could be conceivable).

Maybe the Feds wanted a great PR campaign and to show off their excellence as prosecutors so they thought up this move.

One of my brightest friends is a lawyer and he believes that the Feds usually get painted into a corner by media pressure or other cases in a situation such as this one. He claims that this case is the last thing that they want to be working on. I disagree. I think some big shot is getting his kicks by bringing down an all star. I think the Feds crave how their execution is impeccable and how they created a air-tight case by getting Vick’s closest confidants to turn on him. Is that really necessary? Why is Vick the prize? If they nab him will the dogs of the world applaud the US government with a paw of honor? A collar to the city?

“Class” Issues
I am very careful to discuss racial issues in a public forum such as this blog because people have such strong beliefs when it comes to this issue. So as my cab driver so elegantly framed it in our conversation I am going to talk about class. Dogfighting is looked upon as low class. People are outraged because dogfighting is so exclusively low class. Having all kinds of crazy guns, hunting animals, beating your girlfriend – we’ll those are things that everybody does. If Brett Farve was into dogfighting would people have different initial reactions. Would you hear about it from the courts or from Arman Katayin doing a piece on Real Sports on HBO?

Professional Sports
This is not the ideal time to be a morally-inept immature professional athlete. Pac-Man Jones (who is officially a thug) has done so much crazy and horrible shit that people are looking for reasons to vilify athletes. There seems to be some sentiments that sports is nearing an apocalypse. Steroids in Baseball. Thugs in Football. Officiating scandals in the NBA and international soccer. This wasn’t a good time for Vick to get noticed.

The Band Wagon Effect
It’s become cool to support the dogs. Standing up for animal rights is great because how can you ever be criticized for it? So politicians, analysts, reporters, and people who want other people to like them all talk about how outraged they are to gain popularity and relate with the moral folk. Nike suspended their deal with Vick and Reebok pulled his jersey off the racks. That has never been done before. Not for Kobe, Artest, Rafael Palmiero or Ray Lewis. Donruss will not pring a Vick football card this year. It’s like the world wants to erase this guy.

Since so many people support the muts, it becomes outrageous and taboo to support Vick and condone his actions. Same thing happened with Don Imus. Once the momentum train picks up, the brake pads are removed and your destined for total annihilation.

My Conclusion
It’s very plausible to me that Vick could have financed his little dog operation thing all his life and for nothing to ever come of it. I also would assume that the penalty for his “crimes” would be light and blown over within months. To me this means that there was a force that put this in motion who knew that it would be a great way to stir up back and front pages. I would like to also think their is a media conspiracy but if you read my Imus article you
know that I am quite confident that the media is already running around like a pitbull with its hind legs cut off.

If you told me last year that a star athlete would be destroyed because of dog fights I would have laughed. But then again, if you told me the NBA was fixed I would have laughed as well.

I’m doing something I have never done before — questioning my love for sports. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

  • Jennifer

    I think it sucks he is taking all the blame for what he was involved in. His boys all confessed and basically screwed him over. I do think what they were doing is absolutely disgusting and do not view dogs the same as any other animals. Its not a band wagon thing, its part of our culture. I love dogs and it makes me literally sick to my stomach hearing what they did. I am sure it does go on all over but it doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

  • http://littyhoops.com Litty

    I agree with you. I don’t think Vick should be let off the hook. I just think the harshness of the punishment (both legal and in the media) has been overly severe and blown out of proportion.

    Vick should get a slap on the wrist. He should pay a fine, sit out a few practices, do community service, make a donation to the humane society, apologize to dog lovers and adopt a poodle and take cute pictures with it for an SI shoot.