Remember in 2002, Michael Vick’s first full season as the Falcon’s starter, when he beat the Minnesota Vikings in overtime after scampering 46 yards for the score. Yeah, me too. I remember watching it on Sports Center again and again. It was like poetry in motion watching the Falcon’s star run left and right breaking tackles at will in route to his game winning touchdown.
Vick is questionably the most exciting player we have in the present day NFL. When he laces them up, anything can happen, and usually will. But, is there a sadistic, dog fighter underneath the play making Falcon star?
Michael Vick seemingly had everything going for him. He was one of the most marketable athletes in the business, a multi-millionaire, and playing for a team whose future was bright.
To be honest with you, I liked Michael Vick. I enjoyed seeing him on TV when he was in college and still had pleasure watching him in the NFL. I will never look at the man the same way again.
According to reports, Vick had been involved in dog fighting for over 8 years. His cruelty to animals spread over nine states. Over 2,000 pit bulls trained and fought for him. Vick was known to many as one of the “big boys” of the dog fighting world.
As if that’s not enough, it gets even worse. Vick gambled $30,00-$40,00 a pop on his dogs to win, and if they didn’t perform, they were executed. Hanging and electrocution were popular ways to put the dogs to sleep. It has been reported that one dog was repeatedly slammed to the ground until it expired. Imagine that picture in your head. If that doesn’t make you feel like throwing up, then you have no soul.
On April 25, authorities came upon Vick’s house in Surry County, VA and found many disturbing things. 66 dogs were found, most of which were pit bulls. A dog fighting pit, equipment involving the “sport”, and bloodstained carpets were also stumbled upon while searching through the home.
Vick was indicted on July 17th for his role in the dog fighting venture. The 27 year old was nicknamed “Ookie” and helped establish the Bad Newz Kennels, a top dog, no pun intended, in the business.
Of course we live in America, so you are innocent until proven guilty. Vick does face a possible suspension from the NFL and may even go to jail for up to five years. I don’t know what’s scarier, Vick going to jail, or the possibility of Joey Harrington being the Falcon’s starting quarterback.
Let’s change directions here and focus on a different sport, the NBA. Another sport, another scandal. The FBI is investigating on whether referee Tim Donaghy bet on basketball games over the past two seasons. These also included ones that he officiated himself.
Authorities are trying to confirm whether Donaghy made calls to affect the point spread in games, in order to win his bet. The 40 year old has refereed 772 games in his 13 season career being an NBA official. He officiated 63 games this past season, including five playoff games.
In February of this year, Donaghy was part of the crew working the Heat- Knicks game. The New York Knicks shot 39 free throws in the game compared to 8 by the Miami Heat. Technical fouls were called on head coach Pat Riley and assistant Ron Rothstein. The Knicks won the game by 6, they were favored by 4 ½.
Are the Heat really that dirty of a team to send New York to the line nearly 40 times? Do the Heat coaches really just not have any self control what so ever? You can be the judge on that one.
Now the question is, is Donaghy alone in this situation? Many believe that other officials in the NBA also take place in betting.
One incident that comes to mind for me, is game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. It was the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Detroit Pistons. LeBron had taken a lot of heat after passing up the potential game winner in game 1, so when it was crunch time in game 2, with the Cavs down one, he knew it was his game. He drove to the basket, and in my opinion, clearly got fouled and should have been on the line shooting two with the game in his hand. But, unfortunately for LeBron and the Cavaliers, there was no call.
Some people will point the finger at every bad call a NBA official makes and say that some money is being placed on the game. There has to be a balance. Bad calls have been made in every sport, every game. If there was one game in any sport where a call wasn’t complained about it would be a miracle.
Anyway, we are getting off topic. My main point here is if you are going to bet, test your luck at the black jack tables in Vegas. Don’t take dirty money because one of your dogs ripped another’s ear off. It is wrong to be a NBA official, a respected job, and set up games just so you get some extra green in your pocket. Let this be a lesson to all you dog fighters and sports betters out there. It may come back to bite you in the ass. And if it doesn’t, hopefully one of the dogs will.