Even if you’re not a sports fan, you know about the legal troubles of Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Michael Vick. Mr. Vick is known in the NFL as an escape artist who manages to elude the opponents’ biggest, toughest defensive linemen. However, he found that not even his legendary scrabbling skills could help him avoid the biggest, baddest pursuer he’s ever faced—the federal government.
Next week in federal court, Michael Vick will plead guilty to being a major participant and money-man in dog fighting, some of which occurred on his property in Virginia. He is certain to spend at least a year in prison and is in real jeopardy of losing his $130 million pro football contract. That seems like a very high price for “keeping it real.”
I must admit the existence of this extensive dog fighting subculture came as a complete surprise to me. I cannot imagine that anyone of any age, social class, income, or other demographic would find the spectacle of one dog killing another dog to be fun. Yet apparently dog fighting is the modern equivalent of gladiators in many metropolitan areas, especially among drug dealers, gangs, and hip-hopsters.
The outrage in this country has been explosive. The reason is simple: many of us have dogs and we can’t imagine such cruelty being visited upon such lovable animals, as our own Casper—an energetic Bishon Frise.
One infuriating aspect of this story is that Michael Vick, who was living the fantasy of so many sports fans, threw it all away for the sake of such a barbaric pastime as dog fighting. You wonder why some of his true friends of advisers didn’t tell him how foolish his dog fighting involvement was. Maybe they did and Mr. Vick just assumed he could get away just like he always did on the playing field. As it turns out, he was not as invulnerable as he thought.
One final infuriating aspect of this sad story is now emerging. Just today the NAACP is publicly defending Michael Vick and insisting that the NFL allow him to play when his prison sentence is over. Doesn’t the NAACP remember the principle of its most eloquent spokesman Dr. Martin Luther King? Dr. King looked forward to the time when people would be judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” NAACP should passionately defend people of character not simply those who share a skin color.