Tue. Aug 21, 2007
Michael Vick is a Lying Dog Murdering Team Betraying Anti Role Model
America is an amazingly forgiving country, especially when it comes to those we call “celebrities.” If people already like you, and maybe even irrationally feel like they “know” you, you can stand in front of them and sincerely say … “I do not know what I was thinking when I had carnal relations with that farm animal, I sincerely apologize to all farm animals, and I am entering a 12 step program to deal with my farm animal issues; it will never ever happen again” ... and people will eventually “forgive” you!
Oh, sure, they’ll make their jokes on the late night talk shows, there may be some Photoshopped photos passed around the blogs, and the occasional person on the street may walk up behind you and say “Baa-aa-aa-aah,” but they’ll let you continue doing what they liked you for originally. Eventually. Because you quickly and sincerely apologized for being such an idiot, and there’s not a one of us that hasn’t done something stupid we regret, even if it didn’t involve livestock.
Or, you could choose to remain completely silent until your case is resolved, showing all the facts in open court.
Or, you could take the route Michael Vick did. Lie, at every opportunity, for months.
Lie to the public who ultimately pay your salary:
“I’m never there. I’m never at the house, “ he said in late April. “I left the house with my family members and my cousin. They just haven’t been doing the right thing. The issue will get resolved.
“It’s unfortunate I have to take the heat behind it. If I’m not there, I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a call for me to really tighten down on who I’m trying to take care of. When it all boils down, people will try to take advantage of you and leave you out to dry. Lesson learned for me.”AJC: Indictment details extensive dog fighting operation
Lie to the NFL Commissioner who has been handing out suspensions like poisoned candy to juvenile delinquents:
In a July interview with SI.com, Goodell said Vick had assured him he was not involved in dog fighting.
“His comments to me were very consistent with what he has said publicly: That he does not have any interest in that, that it wasn’t happening at his property, and that was his discussion,” Goodell said. “And I was very clear with him that if it’s happening on your property, it’s your responsibility.”Roanoke.com: Michael Vick takes plea deal, avoids additional dog fighting charges
Lie right outside the court. Not in person, mind you, via your lawyer (who also issued the apology to Michael’s mother … who was standing right there at the podium … unlike Mike):
“Today in court, I pleaded innocent to the allegations made against me. I take these charges very seriously and look forward to clearing my good name. I respectfully ask all of you to hold your judgement until all of the facts are shown. Above all, I would like to say to my mom, I am sorry for what she has had to go through and in this most trying of times. It has caused pain to my family and I apologize to my family. I also want to apologize to my Falcons teammates for not being with them at the beginning of spring training.”WSB: Michael Vick’s Statement
Lie to the man who signs the checks with all the zeroes at the end:
Before an exhibition game in Buffalo on Friday night, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said the latest plea agreements indicated Vick lied to him and other league officials.
“What’s suggested in those statements of fact don’t match up with what the league was told, even our organization and certainly not what was said to the commissioner,” Blank told the Associated Press.
Blank added: “It’s sad that those allegations exist and now they are confirmed by others. It’s sad that Michael has put himself into that kind of situation. It’s his responsibility for putting himself into that situation.”
Blank’s comments echoed those of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who said Vick denied any connection to dog fighting when the two spoke in April.
“I was very direct with him on whether he was involved with it, and he denied any involvement in it and in fact he said he was a dog lover,” Goodell said in Friday’s edition of USA Today. “That’s why he had so many dogs.”LA Times: Co-defendants point their fingers at Vick
Nearly a quarter year of lies finally came to an end when “Billy Martin, Vick’s attorney, said in a statement issued [Monday] afternoon, ‘Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of guilty to these charges and to accept full responsibility for those actions and for the mistakes he has made.’”
Well, he will finally “accept full responsibility”, after lying his ass off for months. There will be more, to be sure, when the prosecutors release the actual plea document next Monday. It will spell out in detail the acts to which Vick is legally admitting. And it will be ugly. But, even with what I know today, it’s plenty ugly already.
Michael Vick (1) is so wrong, (2) has screwed up, (3) let down so many ... in so many ways that I just have to spell them out. Call it a victim’s statement or a truth commission, I don’t care. We are now officially past any presumption of innocence, so let’s itemize the guilt.
(1) He’s A Dog Murderer
A common refrain among those who have stood up for Vick is … “It’s just dogs.” I’ve also heard some say that if a dog is a man’s property, what business is it of mine what he does with his property? Well, a mere 150 years ago some “American men” said the very same thing … about their slaves. So be careful about the lines you draw on “property” when it involves another life that God put on this planet, not you.
“It’s just dogs” is a nice clean euphemism. There was nothing nice or clean about this. According to the plea document, it was “just” three men hanging out, seeing how some dogs “tested” in fights, and killing eight who didn’t make the grade.
In or about April 2007, PEACE, PHILLIPS, VICK, and two others “rolled” or “tested” additional “Bad Newz Kennels” dogs by putting the dogs through fighting sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road to determine which animals were good fighters. PEACE, PHILLIPS, and VICK executed approximately 8 dogs that did not perform well in “testing” sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by various methods, including hanging and drowning. All three participated in executing the dogs. PHILLIPS agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of the collective efforts of PEACE, PHILLIPS, and VICK.
Just three guys hanging out killin’ dogs. Not euthanizing them in the most efficient manner because they were a drain on their dog fighting operation. Some were drowned. Some were hung. At least one was electrocuted. This was three guys inflicting death in a manner they could … enjoy.
Yes, please do recoil from that concept, that someone could “enjoy” killing a dog. That means you are normal, and points out that Vick and his buddies are not. But there simply is no other explanation for the methods use to kill these animals except enjoyment. A bullet to the head would have been the cold but efficient method that someone who retained a morsel of morality might employ.
Perhaps they were afraid of violating local laws against discharging firearms. Regardless, Vick is a dog murderer.
(2) He’s a Dog Fighter
I’m keeping this distinctly separate from “Dog Murderer” for reasons I’ll get into below. But first I have to recount what I find a very telling detail in this saga. Michael Vick’s infamous $100 million contract was not his first big money deal. It was an extension of his original big money deal. He signed a six-year, $62 million contract on May 28, 2001, shortly after he was drafted. It included a $3 million signing bonus.
Suddenly, the man has enough money to buy anything he wants. You can now fulfill your dreams, whatever they might be. So what does he buy? The property at 1915 Moonlight Road, on June 29, 2001. The money is barely a month old, but he’s had his buddy Tony Taylor out looking for such a property for two months. They specifically wanted it to house and train pit bulls. They built the outbuildings, and later the house with a full size basketball court behind it.
That was his dream, from the beginning. It’s one of the first things he financed when he finally got the Big Bucks. I find that very telling.
I said I keep this separate from “Dog Murderer,” and that’s because we are parsing degrees of awfulness here. In that vein, let’s compare dog fighting to child porn. Of course, we can not equate a child with a dog. As I said, we are parsing degrees of awfulness. I instinctively would risk my life without hesitation to save any child whose life was at imminent risk. I don’t know if I can say that about dogs.
But here’s my point: both dog fighting and child porn involve sub-humans who are getting both enjoyment and profit from the abuse of innocents who cannot defend themselves from such predation. One is definitely more heinous than the other. But they have their similarities.
Now … imagine a child pornographer who then snuffs the kids who don’t perform up to his expectations. Snuffs them in the ugliest manner imaginable.
Yes, we are parsing degrees of severe awfulness here. But that somehow seems even worse, doesn’t it? Thus, this separate “victim statement.”
(3) He’s a Team No Show
Once you put aside the legal implications of the actual acts and their victims, who is next on the Long List Of People Mike Let Down?
Right at the top you have to place his former teammates, still toiling in the August heat of the Atlanta Falcons training camp. These people were invested in Mike in ways you and I can’t comprehend.
It’s not just that he was one of about 50 guys who shared the trenches. He was the lead dog pulling the sled. His teammates’ professional future was largely riding on Vick’s shoulders; performance money based on offensive output, playoff appearances and fees, selection for the All-Star team, etc. All gone. Poof.
They’ve largely spoken up for Michael until now, and some still are. But when you’re on a team like that, and your buddy lets you down Big Time, and isn’t there for you when you need him … you don’t forget that. When your team suffers a complete turnover at the quarterback position in a mere nine months … you don’t forget that.
(4) He’s a Blank Betrayer
Next on the Long List Of People Mike Let Down is team owner Arthur Blank, who has to be feeling like the ultimate fool in this. Imagine what’s running through his mind lately.
“Look at me, the $100 Million Sucker! Look at me, the Pushed Your Wheelchair When You Had A Broken Leg Sucker! Look at me, the Sucker who believed you when you said you weren’t involved and were going watch your associations! I’m just the Biggest Sucker in Atlanta! Thanks, Michael!”
Arthur Blank is a proud and successful man. A man, like any man, who hates to be made to look like a fool. A man who has lived and died by his word. And who, rightfully, expects those within his realm to do the same. A man who takes great pride in his product, and goes to great lengths to keep it properly polished. For such a person, this is the most egregious offense there could be.
For such a person, I can’t imagine that there will be any forgiveness.
(5) He’s an Anti-Role Model
Next on the Long List Of People Mike Let Down is your child. Or any child who wanted to “Be Like Mike,” and maybe even owned a Number 7 jersey. Or has a pet dog. How does a parent explain to a child why they can’t wear their Number 7 jersey anymore, or why Michael would want to kill a dog like their dog, Scruffy?
Uncountable parents thank you for that, Michael. Even after their parents do their best to explain, imagine what those kids think about Mike now.
He is now the Anti Role Model. Whenever someone needs a metaphor for tossing away your future via bad behavior, Michael Vick will be it. Thus, parents may salvage something from this: “Don’t Be Like Mike.”
(6) He is Potential Buried Forever
Though I’ve also chastised him, I have sung the praises of Michael Vick many times on this very site, going back to 2002…
Time… “Have I mentioned Atlanta has a new rising star lately? Remember the name, Michael Vick.”
...after time… “Vick will leave defenders on the turf who moments before had him in their grasp, and when I see them get up shaking their heads, looking at each other as if to say, ‘how the hell are we supposed to stop this guy,’ I just laugh and laugh.”
...after time… “He is so fast, when they show the slow motion instant replay, it looks like everybody is moving in slow motion… except Michael Vick.”
...after time… “But tonight we saw why Michael Vick needs for his legs to be 100% healthy to play ball. He carries the whole team with them.”
...after time… “I see it after so many plays; a defensive back pursues Vick at his usual angle of attack, but is barely able to touch him as he slashes past, and then stands there afterwards with his hands on his hips, shaking his head. You can almost see the little thought balloon over his head … ‘what more can I do?’”
...after time: “He’s 24 years old. Right now, I’d say Michael Vick is about 70% of the player he will become. And, right now, I think he is the best athlete in the NFL, and among the three most amazing players I’ve ever seen. But, he’s going to get even better.”
That last one was 2.5 years ago, and I was horribly horribly wrong. In the two seasons that followed, the Falcons collapsed in the second half both times to finish with a losing record. Whereas Michael Vick had once been a threat to score most any time he touched the ball, he went lengthy multi-game stretches without throwing any touchdown passes at all. His most public display of anything approaching “leadership” was giving the finger to the fans.
If, as I wrote in December of 2004, he was 70% of the player I thought he might become, he had decayed to perhaps 65% of that player by the end December, 2006.
But one was still left with some “reasonable doubt” over the “crimes” of the last two seasons, due to highly suspect coaching. Lo and behold, Arthur Blank started out 2007 by getting a brand new coach, one who had a history of developing quarterbacks with great success. In effect, he got Mike his coach. The system to succeed would be put in place. All Mike had to do was apply himself to it.
That long heralded potential might finally be displayed. This was to be the make-or-break year for Michael Vick, 27 years old and at his physical peak.
That potential is now buried. If we take a best case of a one year sentence followed by a one year suspension from the NFL, and are generous enough to assume some owner would immediately be willing to take on the ugly load that will come with hiring Vick at that time, he might play again by October, 2009.
More likely it will be the 2010 season, if at all. Michael Vick will be over 30 then, out of the game three seasons, and way past his prime or whatever potential it once held. That’s buried, dead forever, as of today.
(7) He Betrayed Me
Well, you saw all the posts I linked above, even if you only skimmed them. I’ve been a Falcons fan since shortly after I moved to Georgia in 1978. This is the team that has a four decade hex, under which they have failed to ever have winning seasons back-to-back. This is the team that went to the Super Bowl … one time ... and lost the game the night before when their starting safety and team co-captain decided to leave his wife and kids at home to go pick up a hooker.
In other words, I have seen many unique tales of woe in the past three decades of following this team. And in that three decades of woe, the arrival of Michael Vick and early years of his career are one of the brightest spots among a very few. Since 2001, it has been his potential that made watching the Falcons sufferable, even when they were down.
But what was once “hope,” a bright spot, is now a black hole. The darkest blotch ever on the Falcons, and among the darkest to blot out any sports star that ever existed.
I can think of many ways that such a “star” might be snatched away from my team and leave me feeling that the team had suffered a great loss, or that an injustice had occurred which left me feeling “ripped off” in some way. A silly rule violation, a devastating injury, a stupid trade, etc.
In this case, it’s a cancer removed. A nasty parasite that once gave the illusion of a future, within the context of a big boys game.
But all is now revealed.
Michael Vick is a liar. A dog murderer. A betrayer of many people, big and small, intimates and strangers. He’s gone from role model to bad example.
And it will all be documented in court next Monday.