May I provide some clarity to the noise that crackled across the airwaves and digital space all day following the sentencing of Michael Vick to 23 months in prison on charges stemming from his involvement in the well-chronicled dog-fighting mess? Here me on this: Michael Vick got what he deserved. He messed up (that change of language is for the little children who may stumble upon this post) – or made a severe “error in judgment,” as his able attorney, Billy Martin, so aptly stated today – and now must pay his debt.
Some said they were stunned that U.S. Henry E. Hudson levied a judgment that that exceeded the prosecutions recommendations of up to 18 months. Others (some of them journalists, sadly) railed that Vick was hit harder than the parade of the celebrities of late who’ve been sentenced to, oh, 90 seconds in jail for DUI and other related charges that, some said, “put humans in danger.”
Help me, please. The latter group needs to get a grip. The comparison is apples and zebras. Michael Vick bankrolled a heinous, illegal dogfighting and gambling operation. Emphasis on bankrolled. “He did more than fund it,” prosecutor Michael Gill said, speaking of the “Bad Newz Kennels” dogfighting operation. “He was in this thing up to his neck with the other defendants.”
Vick was the proverbial “big fish” the law always seeks. He was the kingpin, the Godfather, as it were. Moreover, he participated in said heinous and illegal acts. And he killed dogs. Killed.
Those facts alone were putting him at the high-end of the prison vacation pool. Now why did Judge Hudson go beyond the recommendations. Again, this is all on Vick.
He was stupid. Knowing that he would be tested for drugs, he failed a test for marijuana while under indictment. Dumb.
Now dumber. Given the opportunity to be forthcoming to authorities after pleading guilty, he was “less than truthful” with the feds, the judge said today. (Is that a polite way of saying “He lied?”) It was reported that when Vick did not admit to being involved to the extent that his co-defendents said he was. Even worse, when during a polygraph test he was asked if he participated in the killing of dogs he, well, was again “less than truthful.”
Once again, this year is showing us what the Feds were the sports story of the year. Don’t mess with ’em. Don;t step on their toes. And, Lord, don’t lie to them. Ask Barry Bonds. Ask Marion Jones. Ask Bud Selig. Ask, well, just about any athlete in almost any sport.
Ask Michael Vick. Maybe now he’ll tell the truth.