A story came out in the New York Times last week, mulling over Michael Vick’s steadily decreasing football fortunes, which have tumbled to new lows after the New Orleans Saints ended the Eagles’ season. Not that the game really mattered much; Vick was on the sideline for the whole thing. In case you didn’t know, he was replaced as starting quarterback this season by Nick Foles.
Now, Vick is probably going to be looking for a new job somewhere. The Eagles are expected to cut him. And then the Times story goes right where you want it to: It documents in detail all the horrors Vick committed, and it states strongly that any team that wants to pick up Vick should be well aware of what he did.
Here’s an excerpt from “Before Signing a Strong Arm, Teams Should Heed Vick’s Dark Past“:
They should remember this: Vick was the mastermind behind his dogfighting operation. He bankrolled it, gave it a home base, encouraged it.
In the backyard of his Virginia home were mass graves of Pit Bulls that had fought for him or had been torn apart serving as bait dogs in practice sessions. The surviving dogs were found barely alive, beaten, starved, tortured and chained to concrete slabs.
There was Georgia, a caramel-colored beauty who had all 42 of her teeth pried from her mouth so she wouldn’t fight during forced breeding. There was Ellen, who managed to retain her fuzzy cuteness even when half of her face drooped because of the nerve damage caused by fighting.
There was Cherry, a black-and-white tiny ball of fur, with a craggy pattern of thick, deep scars from chemical burns on his back. When I visited him and 21 other Vick dogs at the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in 2008, he continued to tremble even as I petted him gently for more than an hour.
And those were some of the lucky ones. Dogs that did not perform well for Vick were drowned, electrocuted, shot. He admitted to holding dogs while a noose was placed over their heads, then dropping those dogs to their deaths.
Teams evaluating Vick should think about those horrors before offering him a chance to wear their jersey. They should say, “Can’t we give our fans someone better to cheer for?” Fans should demand someone better.
Let’s hope they do. Let’s hope the fans have a say, and if they’re loud enough, let’s hope that team owners respect them enough to let this fading quarterback try his luck elsewhere. Or at least someone will do what the Eagles did this season: Let Vick play the bench. You think a lot about your life when you’re on the bench.
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