Sorry.... That is such an irresponsible title. I'm not in Roger Cossack mode today. He is awesome. I am grieving.
Michael Vick was indicted on charges related to dog fighting. It is only an indictment. He is innocent until proven guilty. Remember that, especially if your heart is still heavy with empathy for the Duke lacrosse players.
Still, let me live blog my reaction to the indictment.
"One alias for herpes, one alias for dog fighting. This Negro is organized!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. He owned the house. That's all you got? Guilt via ownership of property? I need more."
"Oh. He attended some dog fights? Great."
"Shit! He put up the purse?"
"Ookie gave the nod for "termination" of the doggies? Heartless bastard."
"Dogs wet down and electrocuted, hung and thrown against the floor? Yuck."
"Fifteen or so separate incidents of dog fighting amongst the indictees?"
"Perhaps the feds are workin' with something."
It's just dogfighting... but Vick is in serious trouble. No wonder Vick was maintaining military silence on this issue.
It is what it is. It's going to be all Vick, all the time - for a long time. ESPN may have to cancel "Who's Now." Some sick kids may not get to meet their favorite athletes. First up, an arraignment, a mugshot, and maybe a perp walk if God is smiling on the ESPN producers.
How do Atlanta fans feel? Happy that Daunte Culpepper is available. But mostly disappointed. Vick, innocent or guilty, put himself in a position - again - to embarrass the Falcons organization and the fans. Even if Falcons fans can avoid fighting in the stands at the Georgia Dome, it's going to be rough on the road.
The indictment should not interfere with the season. If it gets to trial, it is highly unlikely that a trial date would be set during the season, although Vick might have to attend a handful of hearings. The whole process should take a year or so. But Barry Bonds has been awaiting an indictment for three or so years, so there's no way to predict just how long the matter will stretch out.
Presumably, Vick will plead "not guilty." Then the lawyers will get to work on finding a way to dismiss the case, working on a plea deal and/or preparing Vick's defense for trial. Obviously, they will get to work on discrediting the "cooperating witnesses" referenced in the indictment. It is probably safe to assume they are also in the dog fighting world and maybe they lack the credility to accuse Vick of anything.
Michael may need to be worried about additional charges against him. Remember that the local Virginia officials were pretty slow to the draw to act on this case. Now that the Feds have levied charges, the local officials may feel embarrassed enough to pile on.
The NFL has issued a statement essentially stating that they will wait for due process to take it's course. Nike has done the same. The Falcons are "disappointed" in "one of [their] players". Arthur Blank is put in the awkward position of balancing "innocent until proven guilty" with Vick's continual stream of embarrassing incidents with putting the Falcons in the best position to win. Do the Falcons throw up their hands and go with Joey Harrington right away? Go after Daunte Culpepper? Cut Michael Vick and devastate the salary cap? Sit him with pay and wait for the players union to go nuts? What if Vick stays on the field? If he wins right away, will it be "all good?" If he loses right away, will the Falcons organization have embarrassed themselves by playing him? What will the impact on the other players be? (Honestly, I think Vick will have the typical "it's just dog fighting" stance of many people to thank if his teammates find it easy to support him.) Image versus winning. It's the ultimate conundrum.
As a fan, I think I want Michael Vick on the field. If he has to report for incarceration the day after the Superbowl, so be it. There's no need to overreact to the impact of this indictment. Ray Lewis has endured a murder trial with little consequence. Jamal Lewis and Tank Johnson (prospectively) have played after serving time.
Let me get back into Roger Cossack mode. There's no need to focus on him being suspended by the league, convicted and/or whether or not he's going to spend up to six years in prison. Let's just wait and see. One thing is for sure. This show is going to run long.
Thanks to Larry Brown Sports for the pic.