Michael Vick Case Raises the Question . . . How Many More Pro Athletes Are Involved in Dog Fighting?

David Gibson, Norfolk (Virginia) Examiner, May 20, 2009

While most of us are sickened by the details of NFL star Michael Vick’s brutal and cowardly treatment of his dogs, apparently, dog fighting is an acceptable activity for many other thuggish professional athletes.

Shortly after Vick’s 2007 arrest, the New York Knicks’ Stephon Marbury, defended Vick by saying: “They don’t say anything about people shooting deer.” He went on to declare: “Dog fighting is a sport!”

Former NFL player Deion Sanders even wrote an article for NewsPress.com defending Vick’s criminal behavior.

Sanders justified the brutality by saying: “What a dog means to Vick might be a lot different than what he means to you.” He went on to offer the following insights: “I believe Vick had a passion for dog fighting. I know many athletes who share his passion. The allure is the intensity and the challenge of a dog fighting to the death. It’s like ultimate fighting, but the dog doesn’t tap out when he knows he can’t win.”

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Yet another of Vick’s colleagues, Washington Redskin’s Clinton Portis told a reporter with WAVY-TV: “I don’t know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it’s his property, it’s his dog. If that’s what he wants to do, do it. I think people should mind their business.”

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“You want to hunt down Mike Vick over fighting some dogs?,” Portis said. “I think people should mind their own business. I know a lot of back roads that have the dog fighting if you want to go see it.”

While we will hear the usual excuses as to why many poor blacks engage in dog fighting, those excuses do not hold water for Vick. Nor do they explain the callous attitude towards dog fighting shared by many of his fellow millionaires. However, the NAACP still defended the owner of Bad Newz kennels.

In 2007, President of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP, R.L. told CNN: “The way he [Vick] is being persecuted, he wouldn’t have been persecuted that much had he killed somebody.” White went on to condemn the NFL for suspending him and demanded that Vick eventually be reinstated and allowed to play.

It now looks as if the NAACP’s demand will be met. Though Vick is still officially suspended from the NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent comments show that the door is now open for Vick to return in the near future.

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While professional athletes such as Michael Vick are idolized by millions of poor black teenage boys, many of whom unfortunately also see a prison sentence as badge of honor, Vick’s actions have only been further encouragement to torture man’s best friend. A story printed in the Chattanooga, Tennessee newspaper (article can be found at Chattanoogan.com) speaks to the savage attitudes of many black teenage boys in regards to both dog and man.

The story reads: “Last week, a Chattanooga man was attacked by three black teens as he tried to protect his dog from their pit bull. Humberto Sales heard a commotion and ran out into his front yard. There he saw the three black males attempting to incite a fight between their dog and his. Mr. Sales’ dog would not fight, so they began stomping and kicking his dog. As Mr. Sales ran to protect his dog, the blacks hurled rocks at him, until he lay bleeding in his own yard. The black assailants ran away and Sales was taken to Erlanger Medical Center.”

What was traditionally an activity participated in by poor whites in the rural South, dog fighting has now become as popular as football or basketball in the poor inner city. To this element, the cruel act of pitting dogs against one another which often ends with one or both dogs being maimed or killed, is seen no differently than a boxing match.

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