08-21-2007, 12:09 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Metairie Originally now a Houston transplant
Re: Vick takes a plea
thought this was well written...
FOX Sports .com
FOX Sports on MSN - NFL - Vick's dog days are just beginning
Vick's dog days are just beginning
FOXSports.com, Updated 11 hours ago
Like so many of Michael Vick's third-down conversion attempts, his legal defense against dogfighting charges ended Monday with a punt.
By the time all his so-called friends were done flipping, it was 4th-and-38. Even the elusive Vick had to realize there was no scrambling out of this one. (The prosecution doesn't view him as a flight risk because he has no friends left to drive the white Bronco.)
The fact that Vick's friends flipped so readily has led some of his defenders to decry the lack of loyalty in the Vick posse. Hey, here's a heads up: if your friends enjoy watching dogs tear each other apart, they might not turn out to be the highest character guys when you need them to have your back.
And those, like Donovan McNabb and Emmitt Smith, who were quick to condemn Vick's associates should bear in mind that Vick certainly seemed prepared to throw his entire posse under the bus to "clear his good name." But plea deals don't go from the top down. A drug kingpin can't get a lesser sentence by rolling on his street peddlers. Vick financed the operation. He was the big fish.
While the guilty plea will cost Vick his freedom for a to-be-determined length of time, it has liberated those of us writing about the case from the annoying and clunky and increasingly insulting use of "allegedly."
And thus concludes this chapter of the long, sad saga of a bad guy who was worse than we thought.
When Vick settled a civil lawsuit brought by a woman who said he'd knowingly given her herpes (and that he'd entered clinics for treatment under the alias Ron Mexico), it spawned a lot of jokes and a jersey-purchasing frenzy.
When Vick flipped off the fans in Atlanta, he joined a long line of frustrated athletes who had responded to the boo birds with the dirty digit.
When he refused to hand over a water bottle at the airport in Miami and the bottle was later determined to have a secret stash for contraband in it, it seemed more stupid than dangerous.
But breeding dogs for the sick satisfaction of watching them fight and then executing the underperformers? This is the back story of a serial killer, not a mere coach killer.
From the very first day this story broke, it seemed impossible to imagine any other outcome. Vick bred dogs. He owned the property where dogfighting had clearly taken place. He wasn't breeding these poor creatures for the Westminster Dog Show.
Perhaps realizing he would be unable to answer the prosecution's first question â€” "Why, sir, did you breed dogs?" â€” Vick copped.
The guilty plea raises several questions: 1. Why not go to trial? 2. What is an appropriate punishment? 3. Will he ever play in the NFL again?
Could Vick have won at trial?
Well, clearly his attorneys didn't think so. The fact that his defense team â€” the ones with the most to gain financially by a protracted trial â€” recommended that Vick accept a plea speaks volumes about his overwhelming guilt. His lawyers must have felt completely incapable of mounting a credible defense.
A guilty defendant knows he can't rely on exculpatory evidence for acquittal, but surely someone as rich as Vick could assemble a legal dream team to muddle the prosecution's case and confuse a jury.
Couldn't Robert Shapiro, F. Lee Bailey, Barry Scheck and Alan Dershowitz convince any 12 people who couldn't get out of jury duty that these dogs had committed suicide?
Possibly. But this trial promised to feature one thing the O.J. Simpson case lacked: damning eyewitness testimony.
Imagine if Al Cowlings and Robert Kardashian and five others were lined up to provide testimony against O.J., and you get a sense of what the Vick defense team would have been up against.
But given that leniency doesn't seem to be a component of the prosecution's plea offer, what did Vick have to lose by throwing the Hail Mary and going to trial? He would have had to sit there and endure in painstaking detail â€” and gruesome photos, one of which he may have been in â€” the carnage of Bad Newz Kennels.
Though it seems impossible that he'll ever salvage his career or reputation, a blow-by-blow public accounting of his behavior could only have made things worse.
Will the sentence fit the crime?
Michael Vick agreed Monday to plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges. (Jonathan Ernst / Getty Images)
Reports have varied as to what the prosecution will ask for in terms of jail time â€” anywhere from 12 to 36 months â€” but one thing seems clear: Vick will be punished more severely than anyone who has ever been convicted of these crimes.
Vick can say goodbye to much â€” if not all â€” of the remaining money on the 10-year, $130M contract he signed in 2004, and the Falcons may try to recover some of the $22M already paid Vick as part of his signing bonus. It's safe to say that Arthur Blank believes Vick has violated the personal-conduct clause of his contract. It seems doubtful that, once Vick formalizes his plea next week, the Falcons will ever pay him another penny.
Given the loss of endorsements, Vick will likely lose over $100M as a result of his crimes. Major American corporations don't get hit with fines like that for even the most egregious violations.
Vick's crimes were not committed in the heat of the moment. He didn't snap. He didn't do too much meth or lose his mind with jealously. He matter-of-factly bred dogs to be used for his entertainment in a bloodsport.
A couple years in jail and all his net worth sounds about right to me.
Will Vick ever play in the NFL again?
No. How could he?
Even if the gambling aspect of the dogfighting ring does not earn Vick a lifetime ban, there just don't seem to be any circumstances that could lead him back under center in the NFL.
He's simply not a good enough quarterback to merit the s---storm signing him would unleash. What owner would invite the public backlash to acquire a QB with a 75.7 career rating?
Terrell Owens is an elite receiver. Jerry Jones deemed him worth the headache. Pacman Jones has the tools to be a shutdown corner. As long as he's not in prison or suspended, someone will give him a job. But in six seasons in the NFL, Michael Vick has thrown 71 touchdown passes and turned the ball over 79 times (52 picks, 27 lost fumbles).
Before all hell broke loose, there were a lot of NFL fans who thought the Falcons made a mistake in sending Matt Schaub to Houston. Vick was already a borderline starting NFL quarterback. Now he's radioactive.
When Vick submits to his plea deal next Monday, the judge is not obligated to accept the terms. He could instead opt for a harsher sentence.
Vick will want mercy from the judge. Which is more than Vick gave those dogs.