Don’t direct all your ire at Falcons’ Vick

Read the details of Michael Vick’s indictment and it won’t take long for your stomach to turn.

As a dog lover and off-and-on pet owner, I had to put down the account and find something else to do. On the occasions when I’ve had to put down my ill pets so they avoid suffering, the feeling hangs around for weeks afterward.

Vick’s cruelty is evident with every word on the indictment, especially electrocution, drowning, shooting — all buzzwords for a sport whose hook is to watch dogs chew each other to pieces.

Dogs are defenseless. Their lives depend on us. We feed them. We play with them. We love them. That’s part of their charm.

We protect the defenseless. That’s part of OUR charm.

That’s why I wonder whether we’ve lost our sense of proportion.

The shock value of the Vick case hasn’t left us and won’t to for some time.

Why is it, then, that we barely shrug when we hear of athletes beating up their wives, girlfriends or acquaintances?

Has a case of domestic abuse sparked the depth of outrage that the Vick episode has?

What defense does a woman have against a 250-pound athlete?

It happens so often, the shock value is almost zero.

The O.J. Simpson case initiated fury, but I would argue that the majority of us were more passionate about Simpson’s guilt or innocence than we were angered about the fate of the victims.

Kobe Bryant is beloved in virtually every NBA city again, even after he merely reached financial agreement with a woman he was charged with sexually assaulting. His case didn’t reach nearly the public outrage that Vick’s did.

Pacman Jones was involved in an incident in a Las Vegas strip club in which three people were shot, including a security guard who is paralyzed from the waist down.

We’ve become accustomed to despicable behavior by NFL players, at least behavior against other humans. Not even that incident carried the public ire of Vick’s case.

Jones will play again. We know because we remember Lawrence Phillips.

It was more than a decade ago that Phillips, a former great Nebraska tailback, pleaded no contest to trespassing and assault after allegedly beating his girlfriend, who said he dragged her by the hair down three flights of stairs.

Yet, the Rams made Phillips their first-round draft pick. And even after they cut him and he got himself involved in a number of other criminal acts, the Dolphins and 49ers gave him chance after chance.

That was because Phillips’ talent outweighed his character. And when a team wants to win, character doesn’t get in the way.

It won’t for Vick, either. Some owner won’t be able to resist Vick’s obvious talent, even after a jail term and subsequent but temporary suspension from the NFL. League commissioner Roger Goodell is rightly cracking down on player behavior, but not even he will slap Vick with a lifetime ban.

Like Jones, Vick will play again.

But that’s not the point here. The point is that Vick’s crimes are revolting and he deserves the reaction he’s received from the media and general public.

So why don’t we have the same reaction when an athlete beats up a woman?

Ask yourself that the next time you see news of another assault on SportsCenter.

We shouldn’t have to wait long for the next one.

Sports columnist John Sleeper:

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Seattle Mariners star Julio Rodriguez connects for a two-run home run next to Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim and umpire Mark Carlson during the third inning of a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. It was Rodriguez’s first homer of the season. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Finally! Julio Rodriguez hits first homer of season

It took 23 games and 89 at bats for the Mariners superstar to go yard.

Lake Stevens pitcher Charli Pugmire high fives first baseman Emery Fletcher after getting out of an inning against Glacier Peak on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens tops Glacier Peak in key softball encounter

The Vikings strung together a three-run rally in the fifth inning to prevail 3-0.

Prep roundup for Tuesday, April 23

Prep roundup for Tuesday, April 23: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks (56) is taken off the field after being injured in the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. The former first-round pick is an example of the Seahawks failing to find difference makers in recent NFL drafts. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
A reason Seahawks have 1 playoff win since 2016? Drafting

The NFL draft begins Thursday, and Seattle needs to draft better to get back to its winning ways.

Shorewood and Cascade players all jump for a set piece during a boys soccer match on Monday, April 22, 2024, at Shoreline Stadium in Shoreline, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Shorewood shuts out Cascade 4-0 in boys soccer

Nikola Genadiev’s deliveries help tally another league win for the Stormrays.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for April 15-21

The Athlete of the Week nominees for April 15-21. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Prep roundup for Monday, April 22

Prep roundup for Monday, April 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Mountlake Terrace’s Brynlee Dubiel reacts to her time after crossing the finish line in the girls 300-meter hurdles during the Eason Invitational at Snohomish High School on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. Dubiel placed fourth with a time of 46.85 seconds. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Big turnout for 34th annual Eason Invitational

Everett’s Ndayiraglje, Kings’s Beard and Glacier Peak’s sprinters were among the local standouts.

Silvertips swept out of playoffs by Portland

Everett’s season comes to an end with a 5-0 loss in Game 4; big changes are ahead in the offseason.

Seattle Kraken coach Dave Hakstol’s status remains in question after the team missed the playoffs. (Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press via AP)
Kraken GM leaves open possibility of changes

Ron Francis was mum about coach Dave Hakstol’s status after Seattle missed the playoffs.

Everett freshman Anna Luscher hits a two-run single in the first inning of the Seagulls’ 13-7 victory over the Cascade Bruins on Friday at Lincoln Field. (Aaron Coe / The Herald)
Everett breaks out the bats to beat crosstown rival Cascade

The Seagulls pound out 17 hits in a 13-7 softball victory over the Bruins.

Prep roundup for Saturday, April 20

Prep roundup for Saturday, April 20: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.