PHILADELPHIA — Not surprisingly, the dog-fighting issue regarding Michael Vick has not surfaced in the local papers or local sports newscasts in the week long run-up to Sunday’s playoff game against the Packers. It is an old story by now and has been picked over many times in the past. Instead, this season, the Vick story is one of redemption, second chances and glory. Even Fox TV pundit Tucker Carlson’s goofy pronouncement a few weeks ago that Vick should have been put to death for his crimes didn’t survive more than a few days of tut-tuting. Ditto for U.S. President Barack Obama praising the Eagles for giving Vick, a convict, a second chance when he spoke to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. Vick’s fans, either wince or become angered when the dog stories resurface. It’s a ‘he’s done the time, move on’ sort of thing. He has and most do. However, there are also scores of folks who don’t understand or don’t want to admit just how bloody Vick’s hands were in the affair. Some believe that he was no more than the guy who bankrolled the enterprise.
Prior to the Eagles’ final game of the season against Dallas on Jan. 2, reporter Jacquielynn Floyd wrote an excellent story for the Dallas Morning News regarding the rehabilitation of one of the dogs that was taken from the illegal operation and placed for adoption. In the story about the dog named Mel, Floyd refers to testimony that was taken from Vick’s trial. Following is a portion of her story:
“But Vick’s forgive-and-forget apologists seem to have forgotten how much uglier the story was than garden-variety backwoods dogfighting. They don’t bother to revisit the shockingly cruel violence he and his cronies inflicted on these captive animals. “Winning dogs were kept. The ones that lost or refused to fight were executed, often using inventively cruel methods. Court documents show Vick personally participated in killing at least a half-dozen dogs. Some were hanged, suspended from a crossbar with a nylon rope. Some were drowned, held upside down while their heads were forced into a bucket of water. “One was killed when Vick and one of his partners seized it by the legs and slammed it repeatedly to the ground, breaking its neck and back. “Other dogs at the ‘kennel’ — an awfully nice name for what was really a charnel house for helpless animals — were reportedly electrocuted, shot or forced to breed until their bodies just gave out. According to a report released by U.S. Department of Agriculture officials who were part of the investigation, on a couple of occasions Vick and his pals threw untrained family pets into the pit with savage fighters. “Pet dogs that apparently belonged to his own family: Vick ‘thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs ... injure or kill the other dogs.’ ” It is chilling stuff and a story worth reading.
*The Toronto Sun