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Dogging Vick

One of the Vick boys is in trouble again. The rumors that had been dogging the elder Vick for months have now sprouted canines, as Michael finds himself on the wrong side of a dog fighting indictment. Reading about the various troubles Michael and Marcus manage to get themselves into gets just a little tiresome.

The charges seem to get ever more ludicrous. Dog fighting? Geez, Mike. That certainly makes his Mexican escapade or that water bottle episode seem like a hoot. Combined with the antics of Marcus, the Vick boys are making quite a name for themselves.

The feds did not seem to buy Michael’s story that he was an absentee landlord with no notion of what went on at his property. They seem to feel they have the goods and can prove it in court. There is a big difference between being indicted and being convicted, as we could not help but notice during the Duke Lacrosse situation. Just because some branch of some government alleges something does not necessarily mean it happened.

What will likely happen, unlike the Duke thing, is a trial. It will be a very public one that will detail some very unsavory activities. It involves dog fighting. The overwhelming majority of Americans take a very dim view of such activity to the point that laws have been enacted prohibiting it. Most consider it an inhumane practice that disappeared along with the nineteenth century. According to the indictment, Michael Vick did not.

There will be a trial. Who knows, Vick might beat it. He will certainly be able to afford the best dog-fighting defense money can buy. I’m sure his phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from lawyers offering their legal expertise for a fee. Certainly Marcus has given Michael much experience in the hiring of criminal defense lawyers. He will get a good one.

I have not paid a great amount of attention to this latest Vick legal entanglement because I don’t much care. I long ago grew very weary of their activities, criminal or otherwise.

I do recall back in 2004 traveling to Atlanta for a multi-Tech football game and noticing the smiling face of Michael Vick seemingly everywhere, from giant billboards along the interstates to the sides of busses to the first thing I saw when entering my hotel room.

I didn’t notice them last December at the Chicken Bowl and bet they ain’t there now. I suspect there will be employees of the Atlanta Falcons putting in serious overtime making last-second changes to team promotional material. The guy who thought is was a terrific idea to get rid of Matt Schaub will likely soon be working for the Cleveland Browns. Roger Goodell, as he contemplates that face-to-face meeting prior to the NFL draft, likely has something other than warm and fuzzy feelings towards Vick.

Michael Vick last played quarterback for Virginia Tech in 2000. Since he left Tech, I have been much more interested in Grant Noel, Bryan Randall, Sean Glennon and even Marcus Vick [for a while] than I have been Michael. With one notable exception, all of the above were terrific kids who have represented Virginia Tech very well both on and off the field.

I will pay much more attention in the future to the development of Tyrod Taylor than I will to any Vick. Once a player finishes his Tech career, I wish them well and become much more interested in their replacement that will still be playing for the football team I follow. That football team remains Virginia Tech, not any NFL team.

I am also not concerned in the slightest about whether or not any Vick shenanigan somehow reflects on me as a Virginia Tech alumnus because it does not. I have never measured an iota of my own worth against whether the Tech football team wins or loses or the actions of any Hokie football player.

That both Vicks are bad news seems apparent. So what? That has no bearing on how the Tech community came together after the events of April.

Athletes getting into legal troubles have no relation to the values of any degrees offered by any school. Carolina did not lose a gram of academic standing after Dean Smith offered a basketball scholarship to Rasheed Wallace. NC State suffered no loss of accreditation because Chris Washburn hung around campus for a while. Even Hooville did not lose its Tier One status because Ahmad Brooks might have attended a class or two. Such is also the case with the Vicks. Schools have gone to great lengths to separate their athletic departments from their academic ones.

A lot of people heard whispers while Michael Vick was at Tech that he was not the brightest guy ever to matriculate. For somebody to, within seemingly days of having his financial future secured by being drafted #1 in the NFL draft, turn right around and begin engaging in an illegal activity seems to indicate those whispers were true. So would continuing and expanding on that activity for the next six years. Stupid is one thing; this would appear breathtakingly so. What kind of an idiot risks NFL millions in order to bet $20K on a dogfight?

Many of us have become aware that the tightly controlled public persona of Michael Vick put out by the Tech Sports Information guys might not have been the correct one. It also became apparent that Frank Beamer’s repeated claims that Marcus Vick was a ‘good kid’ were not exactly truthful, either that or Frank regards football skills as a personality trait.

Frank Beamer has knowingly recruited some young men of very questionable character and sent them onto the football field. Doing so has enabled him to make millions. So have Jim Tressel, Bob Stoops, Bobby Bowden, Pete Carroll and every other highly successful coach and most of the ones not quite so successful. All of the afore-mentioned have also recruited players of very good character. Coaches who insist upon the highest standards of behavior by all of their players are very soon known as fired coaches.

Fans like to believe that the kids on their team are all good kids who would be equally suited for boy’s choirs. It is the opponents whose squad is loaded with a criminal element not seen since the Capone gang. That is what they want to believe. I am sure there were Japanese in 1945 that believed their government’s propaganda claims that American soldiers bayoneted and ate Japanese babies.

Fans also claim to want their coaches to only recruit ‘good’ kids, but they will very quickly demand the firing of coaches who do and don’t win. Coaches have figured this out. algroh’s job is not in trouble because he once recruited Ahmad the Great.

No matter what seems to happen with recalcitrant athletes, fans continue to buy tickets and support their team just as long as the team is winning. As long as that is the case, we should not be surprised by anything done by the Vicks, Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, the bar fight involving BC players, the mass arrests of Florida players since the MNC game, the ugly situation at Minnesota or anything else. We are voting with our dollars here.

A Vick is in trouble again and facing the possibility of hard time. That’s his problem, one that he has brought on himself. I hope that he can get his act together and become a bit better contributor to society, but, quite frankly, no longer much care. I have grown very tired of the Vicks.

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