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Michael Vick Let the Dogs Out
By George E. Curry
Aug 27, 2007

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We can stop playing the song, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Now, we know the answer: Michael Vick let the dogs out. Not just the dogs, but those who love dogs more than they like certain people. He also let out – but not off – the people who claim to be perturbed by what goes on in the secretive, illegal, violent underworld of dog fighting, yet see nothing wrong with providing a state-sanctioned license to kill deer and other innocent animals. The so-called animal rights advocates are just as hypocritical, claiming to be opposed to killing animals while eating meat and wearing leather shoes. Or, is it okay to slaughter animals if the purpose is the feed and clothe the higher order of species?

Vick, who pleaded guilty to dog fighting-related charges on Monday, also let out conspiracy buffs in our community who like to blame White folks for everything.

Why are we so quick to jump to the defense of troubled Black athletes and entertainers who have had little, if any, ties to our community? When they act foolishly, why can’t we describe their behavior as just that without pretending that White people stay up all night plotting to bring down Vick? You bring the Atlanta Falcons quarterback down by tackling him. In this instance, he tackled himself. By the way, the person about to tackle Vick on state charges is an African-American, a Black man apparently just doing the job he swore to do in Virginia.

When you push aside the hypocrisy and conspiracy theories, Michael Vick has no one to blame but himself. With his football contract and off-field endorsements, Vick was making more than $1 million a month. Why risk that fortune by operating a dog fighting ring with three of your homies? Like Vick, the homeboys knew when to scramble; each lined up to cut a deal with the prosecutor and agreed to testify against their former benefactor, if necessary.

According to the indictment, most of the money bet on the fights was chicken change (maybe we should say dog change) to Vick – mostly $1,000 to $3,000, with only one with wagers of $13,000 by each side.

Even to me, a person whose favorite animals are stuffed, the abuse of the animals in the Vick case was horrific. The indictment against Vick and his three codefendants – Purnell Peace, Quannis Phillips and Tony Taylor – include the following tidbits:

-- In February 2002, when one dog did not perform well in a “testing” session, Purnell Peace shot it to death with a .22 caliber pistol.

-- In the summer of 2002, Purnell Peace killed at least one dog that did not perform in a “testing” session by shooting it;

-- That same summer, Quanis Phillips killed at least one dog that did not perform well in a ‘testing’ session by shooting the animal.

-- Tony Taylor killed two dogs in the summer of 2002, shooting one and executing the other.

The indictment says Vick’s group killed approximately eight dogs on the property that had not done well in test fights. The various methods included “hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.”

As for Vick’s direct involvement, the indictment alleges that he paid approximately $34,000 for a property at 1915 Moonlight Road in Smithfield, Va. to train and house pit bulls for dog fighting. According to the indictment, Vick also provided the money to place bets on his dogs. On Monday, Vick did not admit to gambling, a charge that would carry a lifetime ban from the NFL.

The indictment charges that Vick and three of his co-defendants began the operation in 2001 when they purchased dogs from owners in Virginia, North Carolina and, New York. In one dog fight in which each side put up $13,000, Vick’s female pit bull lost the fight in March 2003.

“In or about March of 2003, Peace after consulting with Vick about the losing female pit bull’s condition, executed the dog by wetting the dog down with water and electrocuting the animal,” the indictment said.

It also said after losing two fights that month against one competitor, “Vick retrieved a book bag from a vehicle containing approximately $23,000 in cash,” which was given to the winning owner.

According to the indictment, there was a “rape stand,” which it described as “a device in which a female dog who is too aggressive to submit to males for breeding is strapped down with her head held in place by a restraint.”

As I said, dog fighting is not a pretty picture. And one of the NFL’s picture-perfect passers could have passed on this nonsense.

Next Column: ‘Billary’ Clinton is Condescending to Blacks

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