We’ve heard it all, the dog days of summer, who let the dogs out? even dead-meat, but on September 9, 2007, opening day for the Atlanta Falcons against the Minnesota Vikings, can the American public stomach watching Michael Vick race onto the field? Professional athletes, even celebrities, can push the limits further than the average citizen, however, when is it too far? In a public relation’s nightmare, can this professional athlete, number one college draft pick in 2001, first quarterback to rush for more than 1,000 yards, a man worth $7 million in endorsements alone, get out of this deep grave that he has dug for himself?
In case you haven’t turned on the television, radio, surfed the Internet, or talked to anyone in the past few weeks, Michael Vick, first African-American quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, has been accused by federal prosecutors of being the leader in a repugnant dog-fighting ring ran out of his home in Virginia. The investigation began as a drug bust for Vick’s 26-year-old cousin when he was arrested on narcotics charges. What investigators found on Vick’s 15-acre estate, including bloodstained walls and carpets, sickened everyone involved.
Four men, including Vick, have been charged in a case being called “Bad Newz Kennels,” in an 18-page federal indictment that alleges these men have been involved in dogfighting since 2001, Michael Vick’s rookie year with the Falcons. This so-called “sport” improves the breed and gets rid of the weaker dog. If the loser isn’t killed during the fight, there are a variety of methods to do so, including, hanging, strangling, or slamming the dog to the ground with force. Is there anyway that his publicists, coaches, teammates, and Falcons owner, Arthur Blank, can spin this disaster into a future career for Vick?
There are so many differing opinions on what his up-coming career may hold. We are taught to believe that each person is innocent until proven guilty. However, is that true in this instance? Michael Vick seems to be a convicted man in the eyes of the public. His endorsement with Nike shoes has been put on hold for this summer. When hundreds of animal rights activists protest outside the Falcons training camp Wednesday, July 25, will the NFL have any choice but to suspend him, and many wonder why they haven’t already, again, a man who hasn’t yet been convicted. Is there any statement by Vick that could change the minds of millions of angry Americans or is he guilty and his celebrity role model status passed?
Can Michael Vick rage past this scrutiny long enough to go to trial, or is he just doggone? – Courtney Lawrence