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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Priority Amongst Outrages

’Tis true; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall.
Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

Porcupine is an avid football fan. He greatly enjoys the Patriots, despises Peyton Manning, and is perturbed by the oxygen wasted lamenting the serial failure of the Red Sox while the Patriots are World Champions over again. But the NFL is not a happy place as another season opens.

Quarterback Michael Vick has agreed to a plea bargain for dog-fighting charges against him, as the world knows. Today, the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP decided to come to his defense.

The more spurious part of the defense can be dealt with quickly. While R.L. White, president of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP said he does not support dog fighting, he also said he considers it as bad as hunting. "His crime is, it was a dog," White said. Now that bear baiting has been brought under control, the comparison between hunting and dog fighting is ludicrous. A deer hunter, killing a buck with a single clean shot bears no resemblance to a man who repeatedly put a dog into a pit to maul and be mauled, until pain or death overcame him and he was finally able to leave the “Bad Newz Kennels”.

The second part of Mr. White’s statement bears a little more examination. In decrying the plea agreement, which curtails Vick’s ability to ‘defend’ himself, Mr. White said, "Some have said things to save their own necks. Michael Vick has received more negative press than if he had killed a human being."

As they say in the world of sports, let’s go to the videotape.
  • In 1996, Hall of Famer Warren Moon went to trial for choking his wife during an argument. No games missed.
  • In March of 2005, two Tennessee Titans were arrested on domestic violence charges. Titans tackle Brad Hopkins was arrested and charged with domestic assault after a confrontation with his wife outside a Cool Springs restaurant, as he grabbed her by the neck and choked her when she would not end a cell phone conversation. Cornerback Samari Rolle was charged with assaulting his wife at the couple's home in Brentwood after Danisha Rolle was treated for three stitches above her left eye at a local hospital. The Titans later released Rolle, who was signed by the Baltimore Ravens. No need to ruin his career over that.
  • November 25, 2005, (Thanksgiving?) Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Lionel Dalton was arrested for domestic violence.
  • January 16, 2006, Seattle Seahawks starting right tackle Sean Locklear was in jail for investigation of assault after his girlfriend told police he grabbed her around the neck. He was suspended for Week 8, the game against Kansas.
  • October 25, 2006, Reuben Droughns was arrested but later acquitted on drunken driving charges and had a domestic violence case against him dropped by prosecutors in Denver citing a lack of evidence. After missing two games because on injuries, he was traded to the New York Giants.
  • May 25, 2007, a false imprisonment charge against Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall stemming from a domestic dispute was dismissed after Marshall completed anger-management classes.
  • July 23, 2007, Former Seahawk defensive tackle Chad Eaton was arrested for ‘investigation of domestic violence’.
This is a far from comprehensive list, and involves only incidents of violence which actually proceed to court, and are not dropped quietly, or dealt with by the NFL's Domestic Violence program. Some coaches are more strict and serious about this than others, but the overall attitude is discouraging. Gambling seems to be the only genuine taboo in professional sports.

Porcupine does not wish to gloss over Michael Vick's sadistic and brutal conduct - some of his best friends are dogs. Still, this incident reminds Porcupine that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals existed long before the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children - let alone women. Since Michael Vick's career is ending, perhaps it's time the NFL takes a hard look at other behaviors as well, or Mr. White will have a dead human to compare to a dog fight.

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Blogger T. F. Stern said...

What difference would it make having one more criminal on the field; I thought that a good portion of the NFL’s fan base were fellow probationary and parolees enjoying the chance to be out of prison, to watch a sporting event put on by the most savage steroid induced barbarians for hire or probation and parole officers keeping tabs on their assignments.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Peter Porcupine said...

I am a football fan myself, sirrah! Just watching an old dog like Brett Farve still bring his game to the stadium like he did in last night's exhibition is exhilerating! Or sitting in pouring rain in Foxboro to watch that exhibition...but I digress.

And it seems to me that all the steriod problems are in baseball. although I did enjoy the Taipei/Japan game.

My point is that there needs to be greater outrage when violence against HUMANS is involved, not just dogs. And perhaps the new Commissioner will begin to steer the ship in that direction.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Douglas V. Gibbs said...

And people accuse the Raiders of having players that can't conduct themselves. . .sheeeeeesh!

5:17 PM  
Blogger GM Roper said...

PP, you are, of course, absolutely correct. If we do not pay more attention to violence OFF of the field, there will be a pretty price to pay, and it won't be pretty if you take my meaning.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Ogre said...

I don't think this is the end of Vick's career. I think he plead guilty in order to avoid charges of gambling, which WOULD have ended his career. The Falcons are, according to news reports, only going to suspend him "indefinitely." Then they will trade him. I'd be willing to bet he's playing in 2008.

I think this case is interesting because it appears people have had enough (for the moment). It's more than just the violence, it's the free-spending and jealousy of people -- the "common man" being jealous of the rich (who happens to be a QB).

This has already started fading from the news. It will make one more big splash when the "punishments" are handed down (a minor fine and monitored probation is my guess). Vick will pay back his bonus and be quiet. In the off season he'll be traded and the NFL will say something like, "The Players' Association contract says that we have to, blah, blah."

He will be playing in 2008 if he wants to.

9:34 AM  

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