Thursday, July 19, 2007

Seen Michael Vick Lately?

According to talk radio, Vick has been appearing at dog fighting matches all around the country. The Falcons, nevertheless, better be prepared when PETA, and other animal rights activist begin voicing their displeasure at the Atlanta superstar. Admittedly, Vick has his share of problems. For example, he pointed the middle finger at rowdy Falcon fans, he was apprehended by airport security who discovered a water bottle with a hidden compartment reeking of marijuana, a member of his entourage was accused of stealing a Rolex at Atlanta International Airport, and a woman settled a lawsuit after blaming Vick for giving her herpes. Now its dogfighting a brutal diversion illegal in 50 states. According to several eyewitnesses, Vick assisted in electrocuting, hanging and beating dogs to death who were badly injured in the ring. Of course, an eyewitnesses can also be a jailhouse informant willing to offer incriminating testimony in exchange for a lighter sentence.Unfortunately, death row is full of innocent people awaiting execution based on bogus eyewitness accounts. Vick, himself, is blaming his cousin for all the transgressions. Conversely, defenders of Vick are pointing to - of all things- ultimate fighting as an excuse for allowing all this to go away. In another weird dichotomy, the Rev. Al Sharpton has joined with PETA in condemning Vick. HUH? For the National Football League, none of this is good news. Consider, the NFL's lagging attendance in Europe forced the alliance to acknowledge it can't grow the sport beyond its borders. NBA commissioner, David Stern, meanwhile, giggles as the NBA outsells the NFL in merchandise while bragging the NBA also gets way more website hits. Major League Baseball is preparing for a true international World Series, but the National Football League is struggling with attendance issues in Charlotte, and Jacksonville. Either team could be relocating to Los Angeles. It used to be character issues were the sole province of the NBA, but the legal issues of Michael Vick, Pac Man Jones, and Tank Johnson, have smeared a corporation riding the wave of endorsement success. For now, the National Football League would be wise to do an extensive background check on all the players selected in the first two rounds. The league should also make it very clear that abberant behavior can result in expulsion from the League. Vick, nonetheless, will probably beat these charges; despite his lapses, he's not a career criminal, more importantly his lack of an accurate arm could someday force him into a backup role. A place where Vick could no longer blindside the National Football League.

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