For most of the media outlets, the news of Vick’s indictment has been focused on the dog fighting conspiracy charges. The NFL is now saying they are not only looking at those charges, but they will be looking at the gambling aspect of his indictment also. Vick’s indictment also states he gambled tens of thousands of dollars on dog fighting.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked if Vick’s charges of illegal gambling on dog fighting have been overshadowed, he said “not from our standpoint.”
“Listen, we’re sickened by the allegations and the predicament Michael put himself in. But there are a lot of things in the indictment that concern the NFL that may not be of a greater concern from a law enforcement standpoint,” Goodell said.
The NFL has a strict policy against gambling. It warns that violations against gambling could result in severe penalties up to a lifetime suspension. A violation could occur by associating with any gambling activities that bring discredit to the league.
This means that even if Vick is acquitted of his charges, the NFL could still discipline him for gambling.
Goodell added that every NFL player has the responsibility of representing the league in the best light.
In late April, Vick told Goodell that he was not involved in dog fighting and it did not happen on his property. Goodell said he now has to compare what Vick told him to the facts as best as he can. He also said for the past two months, the league has been investigating if other NFL players are involved in dog fighting. Currently, there has not been any evidence against any other players.
In other related news, a controversy is brewing over a quote in a Houston Chronicle article. A person identified as an Eukanuba spokesperson, JT Thomas, was quoted at a dog show characterizing Vick’s alleged involvement dog fighting as merely “a bad error in judgment”.
“Once upon a time dogfighting, just like cockfighting, used to be a part of the fabric of America,” said Thomas. “Just like with a lot of other things, loopholes have been closed. It sometimes takes people awhile to understand what you used to do and what you can do now aren’t always one in the same. Sometimes you have to learn this the hard way, and that’s happening with him. This was not murder. This was not a capital crime. This was, possibly, a bad error in judgment. We can make a federal case out of it if we want to, but whatever happened, we have to let justice take its course. (Vick’s) argument is that he was not knowledgeable about what was going on.
“I myself am a man of color. But, if a man is wrong, he’s wrong. I’m not going to jump on his bandwagon because he’s Michael Vick. It’s unfortunate people in America tend to worship success and don’t always realize that just because someone is successful financially they may not be successful morally, socially or spiritually.”
Many people that read this quote were outraged over Thomas saying that dogfighting was not murder or a capital crime. There also has been debate sparked by a response from an Eukanuba spokesperson on Big Paws Only, a forum for large dog owners. On the forum, an Eukanuba customer relations representative said Thomas was not speaking on behalf of Eukanbua and that he was not employed by Eukanuba or Iams. The representative said Thomas was an employee of an agency contracted to hand out Eukanuba samples. The representative said that Eukanuba does not condone dogfighting.
Dog owners want Eukanuba to issue an official public statement saying Thomas was not a spokesperson for Eukanuba and they disagree with his statement. They want the company to set the story straight and have the newspaper correct Thomas’ title, but Eukanuba does not believe that such an action is warranted. The company believes that the majority of their customers have not read this story and that it is not necessary to take any action.
(Thanks menusux, Jenn, Irene)