Monday, August 27, 2007

Vick's Longest Yard

I love listening to talk radio, especially when controversial things occur.

On Joe Madison's morning show on XM Radio's "The Power," callers were split on Michael Vick, the embattled and indefinitely suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback, the day after it was announced that he will plea guilty of dogfighting. Some felt that Vick, who is expected to stand in front of a federal judge August 27, must pay for his misdeeds; others saw him as a victim.

I belong in the former camp, but not for the same reasons as others. Vick should pay a price, but how much is debatable. He lied to his bosses, including the NFL commissioner, and his fans when he earlier this year, stood tall and said he will prove his innocence of all charges.

Now he's standing tall in court, copping a plea, throwing himself at the court's mercy.
Instead of outrunning oncoming lineman and linebackers, Vick now is running not for a first down or the end zone, but for his personal and professional life.

Vick is going for his longest yard ever.

I don't understand the fascination over watching dogs fight. I also not bothered by Vick getting himself in the federal doghouse. Rather I am more bothered by those who want nothing more than see him tarred and feathered. Or even worst.

Did he kill someone? Perhaps beat up a female acquintance. Maybe got this country into war.

Dogfighting? Vick is Al Capone to this 21st Century Elliot Ness and the Untouchables! Surely there must be more important crime problems these feds could focus on.

If dogfighting, or being connected to it, is punishable by five years in prison, what is the appropriate sentence for a president and vice-president lying to the U.S. citizenry for invading a Middle Eastern country four years ago, under the guise of nuclear weapons?

However, the animal rights people are protesting Vick's alleged actions like the worst thing that happened in modern history. As barbaric as dogfighting is, the dogs aren't poodles. These unfortunate animals are bred to fight. Shooting or drowning them afterwards, even as sick as it appears, is cruel. But what could these dogs do if they can't fight? Could they be intergated into normalcy?


A young boy recently was killed by a pit bull in his own house in Minneapolis. The dog, who was tied up in the basement, got loose and attached his killer fangs on the boy's throat. It took someone to shoot the dog dead before it let go.

Should that dog's life been spared? According to many animal rights folk, probably because they seem to put an animal's wellbeing ahead of humans. They rather picket the Falcons than the White House. They rather posterize Vick than George Bush.

They rather rally around some dogs than get all worked up over child and spousal abuse, teachers having sex with their minor students, or illegal drugs being brought into this country.

As for Blacks coming to Vick's defense, why? If he did wrong, he should be held accountable. Why don't these folk come out strongly for the Jena Six? Or for Kenneth Foster, Jr., who unless his sentence is communted, is scheduled to die August 30 in Texas? The six young people from Mississippi and Foster are more victims than Vick.

Did Vick get due process, especially from the NFL, who dismissed him before he was formally charged? Perhaps he didn't, but the league is all about image. And this one is bad -- worse than players getting DWI's, or slapping their wives or girlfriends, using drugs or getting caught driving around with a loaded gun.

If there is a lesson learned here, there are several:

One, choose your friends carefully: Three of Vick's squaled like pigs, giving him up like punks.

Two, even if it's a longtime tradition, as many keep saying dogfighting is in some parts of the South, don't get hooked on it, especially if it's illegal. If you need a competative off-the-field activity, get into stamp collecting or trade baseball cards.

Three, when the federal government can get a big dog, like Vick, they will do whatever they can to get him. Like Canadian Mounties, they always get their man.

Finally, for all those who think this is some sort of conspiracy, please stop. Is race involved? Certainly, but Vick didn't get set up because of his skin color. He put that collar on his neck all by himself.

The fact that Vick is Black is happenstance. Because he is a big time football star, or used to be, was the big news. If he had been just ol' Joe Blow, Vick wouldn't have been fined and set on his way.

What is more notable here is that Vick proved that stupidity comes in all races.

I feel sorry for Vick only that he must live with this the rest of his life. That being the poster child for dogfighting, certainly couldn't have been in his pro football career plans. Instead, depending on the length of jail time, he will put both Adam Sandler and Burt Reynolds to shame as the greatest prison team quarterback. The star of a real-life movie.

Vick's longest yard.

Charles Hallman is a staff writer for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He loves
debating and welcome your opposing or concurring views.

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