Posted by: Opey | August 24, 2007

Vick to Plead Guilty to Having a Broad and Vague Potential Partnership With Those Who May or May Not Have…..

I’ve written about this type of situation before. I believe the last time I experienced this type of moment was during the whole million dollar pants fiasco. The type of situation I speak of is one in which I have to question the sanity of entering the legal world. Well, I again had the “opportunity” to experience just such a situation this morning (A little to close to the beginning of school for my liking). It was spurred by news that Vick will not admit to killing dogs or gambling on dog fights when he pleads guilty sometime on Monday of next week. Now, I don’t want this to turn into a post about my feelings on dog fighting. I believe it is truly a horrible act, one worthy of punishment. However, I think our priorities look a bit out of line when we compare the prosecution/punishment for dog fighting vs crimes against humans, especially children. That’s the end of that line of discussion. I also don’t want to go in the direction of the whole “Crime in Sports” angle that I have touched on several times, with one such post here.  What I do want to talk about is the double standard in the legal world and the seemingly easy ability for people to plead out cases that could and should been seen through.  I’ll touch on the second part first.  I understand that there are backlogs in many dockets across the country and just not enough judges, prosecutors, or time to see cases through, but I feel that this sends the wrong message.  When you have a person who has been indicted by a grand jury and many believe that there is a “slam dunk” case against him/her, the state needs to see it through to give the punishment/deterrent process the chance to work to it’s full effect.  Now comes the issue of a legal world double standard.  I’m going to break a bit with convention here and state that I think it works in two ways.  The first way is the obvious one.  With all of their money/power/notoriety, I believe celebrities, athletes, and others in positions of power have a much easier time both navigating the legal world, as well as reaching an end result that is more to their liking.  The flip side of that, though, is that sometimes, and I think this is the much more rare case, celebrities are used as examples.  Take a look at the Vick case for instance.  I believe, and this is much more opinion than fact, that Vick was not much more than a financier and occasional participant in the dog fights themselves.  Yet, despite that, he was put up as the kingpin of the operation, the one who “did the most wrong”.  The Feds reached agreements with Vick’s co-defendants in order to strengthen their cases against Vick, even when the co-defendants may have had more figurative and literal blood on their hands.  Because of his public notoriety, he could be used by the Feds to show that they are tough on dog fighting and also to up the deterrent factor of the punishment.  In the Vick case, it appears that the power/money factor has trumped the public example factor.  I don’t think there is any feasible way to correct such problems.  Where my thoughts lie are ‘Do the double standards equal out in some way?’  It’s an interesting thing to think about for a bit.  Quickly back to the Vick case, I hope the NFL follows their current track and suspends Vick indefinitely.  I am not a fan of “example setting” in the legal world because everyone involuntarily lives under the same rules and should be treated equally, but in a world where you are given opportunities above and beyond the normal person (plus everyday people help pay the players through tickets and merchandise) the process is fine by me.  Playing football is a privilege, not a right.  There are far too many people, small children especially, who look up to football players and hold them up as role models for this type of behavior to persist.

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Responses

  1. I agree with much of what you’ve written. I also agree that cruelty to humans is much worse than cruelty to animals but in this case I don’t want to see Vick get off because he’s a big-time celebrity. I watch the list of celebrities get away with second, third or more DUI violations grow daily. They basically get a slap on the wrist. You or I would spend a year or more in jail for the same crimes. I agree that making an example isn’t fair but the stern punishments for this crime is already in use and Vick’s legal team is trying to squirm out. The reason Vick doesn’t want to admit he killed the dogs or gambled is because he doesn’t want the NFL to ban him from football after he serves his sentence. Gambling is a big pro sports no-no. Just look at Pete Rose to see the consequences. I’m very happy because it appears the public is tired of watching celebrities get better deals than the rest of us. I don’t think Vick’s plea next Monday will work out so well for him now that the public’s eyes are watching. I believe we’re going to see a nice re-write of the admission of guilt, or the Feds won’t accept this plea for all Vick’s offenses and he’ll still be looking at a trial.

    What really burns me is the poor performance of our “people’s advocate”, the DA’s office in Atlanta. They were mesmerized by Vick’s celebrity and their lack luster action even smacks of racism. The Fed’s shouldn’t have had to step in.

  2. Yeah, and like the sports radio personalities have been saying, if he doesn’t come out and admit to killing dogs or actually participating in the fights themselves he will have a much easier time putting his reputation back together. If he were to utter the words “I killed dogs” or anything close to that, he would be branded as untouchable for life.


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