Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vick story: the revenge of dead dogs

As has been widely reported the ever illusive Michael Vick has reversed his field, once again, this time to admit he had been lying when he denied his involvement with dogfighting. Click here to read “NFL’s Vick says guilty in dogfighting case” from Reuters.

No doubt, as part of the deal he has made with the feds, Vick will be required to roll on others involved in the “enterprise.” So the man who set the National Football League record for the most rushing yards ever gained in a season by a quarterback will emerge from this episode branded as a disgusting man who delighted in torturing dogs, a liar, as well as a snitch.

The bizarre story of the evil doings at Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels operation has been on the front pages of newspapers and at the top of broadcast news for weeks. Although many are sick of the story, it continues to fascinate many more. And, the sidebars continue to spin off the story of a celebrity pro athlete gone wrong.

Yet, just how wrong Vick’s crimes should be seen as seems to be in the eye of the beholder. How bad is dogfighting?

If boxing and “tough man” competitions are legal, why is dogfighting so wrong? Can dogfighting be seen as just another bloody sport, like hunting? And, if animals are shamefully abused all the time by the companies that raise them by the millions in torturous conditions, to eventually be food for us -- ever see how calves live on their way to becoming veal? -- then why should Vick go to jail for killing a few pit bulls?

Beyond concerns for the dogs, is there a racial component in how Vick has been treated by the federal authorities or the police department down in Surry County, where Vick’s kennel from hell was discovered? Should justice for Vick be viewed through a prism of what injustice has been done to others, down through history? And, why can’t the press move on to another story?

Maybe the discussions those questions raise will do some folks some good. For others, maybe not. As for me, rather than try to answer them all, in this space I’m going to deal with only the last one on that list: Although there’s no single reason this story has been so big, there is one reason that overshadows the others. While other sports celebrities have committed crimes that might properly be seen as worse than Vick’s, none of them were as bizarre, even unthinkable.

So, while I usually side with those who chastise the working press for its dwelling on certain frivolous/tacky stories -- the death of Anna Nicole Smith, Paris Hilton in jail, etc. -- this time, I have to admit the unfolding Vick dogfighting yarn has real legs, based on how unprecedented it truly is. This one is stranger than a man-bites-dog story, because it amounts to dead-dog-bites-back.

Then there are those who have been Vick fans, who are refusing to accept -- no matter what -- that one of their favorite football players from Virginia Tech, or the Atlanta Falcons, is a total scumbag. They want him back on the playing field because he’s been too much fun to watch as he escaped from would-be tacklers. All of which makes me feel sorry for the good people who have admired Michael Vick. They have been betrayed and they are hurting.

As for when, or if, Vick will be seen on the playing field again, it says here that the NFL is by far the most buttoned-down of all the professional sports overseeing bodies. It certainly doesn’t want PETA activists dressed up like tortured dogs demonstrating at every game. And, that’s exactly what will happen if Vick returns.

Furthermore, the image-conscious corporations that act as sponsors and partners are never going to want anything to do with tricky Michael Vick again.

Eventually, we’ll know how much time Vick will serve for the crime he has admitted he committed, and whatever crimes the Commonwealth of Virginia can make stick to him. Once he’s done his time, I will be surprised if we ever see the radioactive Mr. Vick play another down in a NFL game.


Reggie the Dog said...

I'd like to piss on his leg.

jim said...

Hunting Deer and Killing dogs are two different things. It is sad that hunting has to be brought into this.

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