I’m fairly sure that the nation’s nightmare over dog fighting is now well in the past and it can go back to pretending to be concerned regarding the exploitation of animals in that particular context now that Michael Vick received his sentence today. Those 23 months Vick received had to do with smoking marijuana after pleading out and judge Henry Hudson’s perception that Vick was not completely contrite.
Not that I’m particularly sympathetic to Vick or numb to the crimes he confessed to: I am a dog lover and owner myself; I don’t particularly think well of people who engage in dog-fighting. Yet I can’t help but still think that the swarm and outcry about the Vick case said much more about the view of the quarterback in the public eye rather than what we actually thought about the crime itself. No one really would have cared if a dog-fighting ring run by a nobody sent all four involved to federal prison; neither the Humane Society of the United States nor PETA would have given as much talking head about it being a test case for sending a message about the consequences of dog-fighting if Vick had not been involved. It may not even have been the dog-fighting so much as it was the gambling and interstate commerce violations that went with the enterprise.
So, now we have the sentencing to exploit — and right on a night where ESPN is sure to inundate Monday Night Football viewers with it since the Falcons are hosting the Saints. Somewhere along the line, this became less about the legal and judicial process and more about the sideshow and speculation about the fall.
I still don’t think Vick will ever set foot on an NFL field again, but that’s really the least of his concerns now.
Photo: AP/Dana Verkouteren