Vick Could Soon Be A Convict

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - July 25, 2007

There is no greater animal lover than my mother. I remember animals being such a wonderful part of our household growing up. Whether it was dogs, cats, birds, snakes or chameleons, I was lucky to have had animals all around.

One of my favorites was a small cocker spaniel-poodle mix - a cockapoo - named Dilly. I loved him, and when Dilly was hit and killed by a car in front of our house, I was profoundly saddened. I suppose it’s incidents such as these that shape your sensitivities about pets and animals.

I definitely got this empathy from mom. That’s why I hope she misses all of the recent news surrounding Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. The first African-American quarterback to be chosen in the NFL draft by Atlanta five years ago, Vick is a beloved figure in pro football. His incredible speed, scrambling ability and power arm propelled him to NFL elite status. Last week Vick and three other defendants were indicted, to paraphrase, for dogfighting and the destruction of animals. Although the charges focus on the training and fighting of dogs, it is the killing of dogs that has caught America’s attention.

The emerging details of the case allege the destruction of dogs who lost fights or were deemed expendable. The indictment alleges that pit bull terriers, the breed of choice, were electrocuted, strangled, drowned or shot, and their bodies disposed of just about anywhere. Vick, himself, is allegedly responsible for the deaths of eight dogs, and remains were found on the grounds of one of his homes. The investigation alleges that Vick and the others conducted dogfighting matches with thousands of dollars of gambling wagers at each event.

If convicted, the career of Michael Vick is over. His millions of dollars via endorsements with Nike, EA Sports, Coca-Cola, Rawlings and others will disappear. The Atlanta Falcons are more than likely scrambling to find a replacement. Vick is facing possible prison time and huge fines and, if found guilty, deserves the maximum the law provides.

“The American public is used to scandal in professional sports. Drug use, shootings, rapes and even manslaughter (remember Ray Lewis?) can be forgiven. I think it’s deplorable, but it’s the reality.

But, the sadistic destruction of a dog for the purposes of entertainment and gambling is unconscionable. He will be forever associated with the brutal killing of everybody’s dog. He is the killer of Spot, Rex, Fido and, yes, Dilly. Most cannot comprehend getting high or shooting it up in a nightclub. But we do understand that dogs, and all animals, are not to be victimized for some sick and twisted “sport.”

Hopefully, if found guilty of these heinous charges, Michael Vick will be trading his black and red Atlanta Falcon jersey for a black and white horizontal striped jersey of the Virginia Corrections Department, with a long-term contract.

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