In The Dog House
However, that's where the chuckles end. I'm trying to find the words to really describe what I think of this whole Michael Vick debacle. I'm not even sure if debacle is the right word. What the hell is it?
A disgrace? Disappointment? Criminal act?
I'd say that it's probably all three... and a bunch of other stuff too.
What Michael Vick has done, or has plead guilty to, is more than a small collection of federal charges. It is a simultaneous slap in the face, punch in the gut and a raised middle finger to millions of people.
Just as he did after a loss at home last year, he flipped off his fans, his teammates, his boss, the NFL, the state of Virginia, the state of Georgia, the City of Atlanta, and dare I say, to his race.
Once upon a time (a few months ago), Mike Vick was one of the most marketable stars the NFL had. He had insane God-given talent and athletic ability, a bright smile, and a sense of humor. On Sundays, you'd see a bunch of Nike commercials touting his new Air Vick Zoom shoes and "The Michael Vick Experience."
Count me out of The Mike Vick Experience II: The Pen.
All of the marketing aside, this is a guy who was a human highlight film coming out of Virginia Tech, was the first pick in the draft (and the Falcons moved up to grab him by the way, lest we forget, and San Diego got LaDanian Tomlinson and Drew Brees out of it).
Vick always had the arm strength, but it was always the system's fault for stunting his passing success. It was Dan Reeves's fault that Vick couldn't complete passes and ran around constantly. It was Jim Mora's fault that Vick couldn't be consistent, and the defense's fault for giving up too many points. Do you see a pattern here?
This is a guy who was christened as the Chosen One before he even won the starting job at Va Tech. He was treated like a God from day one, and was given the reins to an entire franchise, and for all intents and purposes, a key to the city of Atlanta.
To be fair, Vick revitalized a team that had a severely apathetic fan base, a partly empty Georgia dome, and zero credibilty with anyone, anywhere. They were just one step up from the pre-Tony Dungy/Jon Gruden Tampa Bay Buccanneers.
Suddenly, this southpawed gazelle was running around and making football exciting again. The fans bought into it, and put their trust in him. He probably had more clout and celebrity than Dominique Wilkins, Joe Johnson, Bobby Cox, John Smoltz, Andruw Jones, and the entire Atlanta Thrashers team combined.
He was given a 10 year, $130 million dollar contract with a 53% completion percentage and a career 75.7 quarterback rating. He barely even had to ask for it either.
He didn't give a fuck. He wasn't even required to give a fuck-- that wasn't in his contract. He was Mike Vick. He had an owner, a team, and a city in the palm of his hand. All he had to do was scramble around and keep the game interesting.
It was this attitude and the fact that he was never once held accountable for his actions that led to these events. If everywhere you go, you're revered as a God and you can do no wrong in anyone's eyes, you're going to start believing it sooner or later.
Perhaps it was this adopted God-complex that led Vick to hang, choke, electrocute, shoot, and drown dogs to death. Perhaps it was this God-complex that led him to look into the eyes of his his biggest champion and supporter in the world, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, and lie. Perhaps it was this God-complex that isolated Vick in the locker room, where he had mere acquaintences and no real friends.
It was this isolation from his co-workers, his teammates, and his band of brothers that did him in. He was hanging out with friends from the neighborhood. These were guys with drug possession, weapon possession, and assault on their rap sheets; guys not in football, guys with no futures backed by legitimacy.
It was the fact that Vick wasn't like them that led to his involvement with this dogfighting ring. He had the money, he got the property, and he thought he had the power to get away with it.
Unfortunately, it was the fact that Vick was like them that was his downfall. He was a brother from the neighborhood too. It's too bad he couldn't give up the old ways and his old cliques from the neighborhood that countless professional atheletes have been forced to do in order to succeed.
And let's be real here. These were not good people. They weren't kicking back with a couple of beers, listening to Al Green and Marvin Gaye. They were sitting around listening to violent rap music by DMX and Little Jon and Young Jeezy and whatever other degenerate losers are popular for the next 8 months. They were smoking dope out of blunts, and betting on whether or not a dog could kill another dog. If neither won, they'd just shoot them both, or hang them out back from a noose.
These people are sadists; they are violent, sick, sadists.
It may not have been the case twenty years ago, but in this country, dogs are part of the family. Most or many are treated better than the homeless. A lot sleep indoors, some sleep on people's beds at night, some dogs even get to come on vacation. This is a nation of dog lovers, and I'm one of them. By participating in a savage activity like dogfighting, you've got to have something seriously wrong in your head.
In the jungles of Africa or Paupa New Guinea or in the bombed-out highlands of Afghanistan, I could see this being an acceptable activity, but not in this country. No way. No how.
The sad fact of the matter is that he was not only participating in the killing of dogs and the bankrolling of the operation, but he didn't see enough wrong with it to cease his actions. And if there was any doubt about whether he was involved with the enterprise, he named it after his hometown, Newport News, Virginia. (Get it, Bad Newz Kennels?)
I've never been to Newport News, but I know it's a city that builds huge ships for the military. There are thousands of blue collar workers there that hang up 50 feet in the air making welds on the hull of aircraft carriers. I'm sure almost all of them would do anything to be where Michael Vick was.
Yet another group of people that Michael Vick gave the finger.
I don't know if this story gets any worse, or if it gets better. That is hard to say right now.
It would be nice to forgive and forget, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen. Vick is looking at at least 8 months to a year in the federal pen, possible state charges in Virginia brought on by an outcry from a very disturbed, angry public, and then even when he's out, he'll get a ban of at least a year from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
If he can still play, it will be hard to see him on an NFL field before 2010, when he'll be 30 years old and scarred from prison.
He will be a shell of himself, but hey, at least he'll still be isolated from his teammates, right?