Vick’s arraignment draws anger from all sides

As quarterback for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, Michael Vick has seen his share of screaming crowds, but none like the one he saw this afternoon. After weeks of media reports about his part in an alleged dogfighting ring, the former Virginia Tech standout pled "not guilty" in federal court in Richmond and faced hundreds of animal rights protesters who came to express their anger about Vick's alleged activities.

The Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had organized most of the protesters, some of whom were camped out across the street from the courthouse as early as 7am.

"This doesn't begin or end with Michael Vick," said PETA youth outreach manager Caleb Wheeldon. "It's about 40,000 people who fight dogs in this country. This is a unique opportunity for us to speak for the dogs."

That speech came in the form of loud booing and derision upon Vick's arrival.

"Bring the monster out!" said one protester.

"Tie him to a chain!" another shouted.

The words "Neuter Vick" adorned another's pink posterboard.

"I don't believe he's innocent until proven guilty," said Loudon County's Meredith Amonson, who, though unaffiliated with PETA, decided to bring her two dogs with her to the courthouse. "There's no way there can be 70 dogs who are malnourished and badly treated on your property and you be unaware of what's going on."

Though not as numerous, a vocal minority the crowd consisted of Vick supporters.

"This has nothing to do with dogfighting," said Richmond's Jean Morris. "I think they're going after Michael Vick because it's about racism. He's a valuable, contributing member of society. Why are they singling him out?"

Others spoke out for Vick's right to a fair trial in the court of public opinion.

"I'm here for what makes America great," said Michael Street, carrying a sign bearing the names of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant– two African American athletes accused but ultimately not convicted of violent crimes. "I have a nine-year-old daughter and I'm trying to teach her that, in this country, you are innocent until you are proven guilty by a jury of your peers, and that you should never prejudge people."

Donna Meyer, a VCU student who carried a "Neuter Vick" sign, said that while issues of race should be discussed in the public forum, today was not the day for it.

"To engage in a discussion about racism is a good thing, but this is not the time or the place. This is the dogs' day," she said.

Asked about the role he believes race is playing in Vick's prosecution, Robin Shavers– an African-American member of PETA's delegation– expressed ambivalence.

"I'm not here to judge the man," he said. "Whether Mr. Vick is innocent or guilty, dogfighting is a problem in major cities, in rural areas, and this will hopefully bring more teeth to the fight against it."

And where many had assembled to vent their outrage, some were there for sheer spectacle.

"I'm here to support the city of Richmond and to fulfill a dream," said Rob Van der Eijk, who held a placard that read, "From Richmond, Sportscenter Is Next."

Vick's trial is set for November 26.



You tell him James. This is the new South. Like you, some of my best friends are negros. Yeah, Dashawn, come on out to a public forum and say this shit and we'll kick your ass.

david gets my point. I wonder where was all of the outrage when some white prominent businessmen and farmers around Scottsville were convicted of hosting dog fights right here in our county? Does Lassiter want them lynched? -- Megan, STDs? In order for him to have given them to someone, he would have to have gotten them from someone. Did he sue anyone for giving them to him? I haven't heard. Any other sins to throw into the pot? I hope Kevin Cox can explain to me the difference in these scenarios other than the obvious. Yes, this is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Mr Leeds, racism is assuming the same thing about all of the people in a group.

Imagine yourself hanging or drowning a dog, would you watch the animal thrash around as he suffocated, or would you simply lynch him and walk away? Now, think about Michael Vick engaging in this behavior. Why would a person of his wealth and prestige take time away from the many fun and fulfilling ways he could be occupying his time with, to hang and drown dogs? What sort of human being is Michael Vick?


take time to get involved. we are loosing our ability to reason. isn't that what separates us from the animals.




And people wonder why black boys in white tee shirts beat up some people. Maybe the free notebooks, crayons and back packs aren't enough to gain their love and appreciation when followed by such invectives. I hope you all continue to flock to Mexico and Spain and support their bull fights with quiet self-righteous indignation. I wonder just how much this flood of bile is due to the fact that this black man is reputed to be the highest paid professional football player and has gotten out of his place. We certainly can't have that can we?

Cville Eye have you ever heard the story of the boy who cried wolf? When you cry racism in a case like Vick's you make it even more difficult for those who are genuine victims of racist discrimination to be treated fairly. Your paranoia hurts those who have suffered by making it easier to argue that they are also paranoid and cannot be believed.

I don't know what "race" has to do with it. This is inter-species abuse.

haha its truly "not about race". I'm eagerly waiting for the day all this self righteous, dog-loving "its not about race" hypocrites will express this kind of selective "outrage" when next another white serial killer and peadophile is caught.

Mike Vick should face the full brunt of the law if found guilty but to be convicted in the court of public oppinion (racist oppinion) is unacceptable.

See what I said white man. You racist. I know you are white James because you don't get it. Every bad thing that happens to black people is because they are black. It has nothing to do with behavior. It is all racism! And no, I'm not shutting the f*ck up. You white folks need to hear the truth. You are all born racists!

Blah, blah, blah. You are so misinformed it's pitiful. I'm not a racist. And there isn't some grand conspiracy among all white people to keep black people down. I'm not saying racism doesn't exist--I'm saying that your statements that all white people are racists, and that Vick is only being charged because he's black, are just simply and plainly wrong. According to you, because I disagree with you, that makes me a white racist. Again, STFU. Ever heard of logical fallacies? Perhaps you should study up.

Michael Vick went to the same high school I did in Newport News. I'm a fan of the NFL, so I have supported Vick throughout his career--I thought it was great that someone from my hometown was so successful at something so high-profile. But now it seems that he's an animal torturer, or at least someone who condones such behavior on his property, so to hell with him. He isn't being targeted because he's black--he's being targeted because he apparently chose to participate in a criminal venture to torture and kill dogs. Perhaps he should have made better choices after he "made it." Have you even read the indictment against him?

What you're speaking isn't "the truth"--it's your own opinion. Again, I doubt you would have the balls to voice such garbage in an actual public forum--meaning one where people could see your face. I dare you to go announce at work or at school that you think all white people are racists, and that anyone who says otherwise is a racist too. See how fast they escort you out the door.

It's true! Every bad thing that happens to a black person is the result of racism! It is because they are black!
When a black person gets caught doing a crime and is arrested. It's not because of the crime. It is because they are black. Stupid white folk. The reason you don't get it is because you are all born racists.

Where you at white folk? How come no one has responded to what I said. Cause you know you are born racists! Soon as a black man gets ahead you come up with a way to knock him back down.

Dashawn, are you a troll, or did you drop out of fourth grade? I'm guessing that there's no way you would actually say what you just wrote out loud to anyone's face. How about shutting the f*ck up?

obvious, major differences aren't good enough? are you advocating that he shouldn't have been investigated for this - or indited given the evidence?

I think the reason high-profile offenders are more vigorously pursued/get more press is bc it sends a much more public message about the issue (here, dog fighting). He's supposed to be a role model for succeeding - not abusing dogs. If you want to point to anything that drew more heat his way, I'd point to his public name not his race.

fyi - had a pretty thorough piece on this and the history of the case.

Phonypony, the case is to be made in court with proven evidence, not in the press. This is a fundamental American principle. The more people deny that race plays a part in the overwhelming response this case has had in the media, the more the BBC commentators say that race is an important factor in determining whether he is guilty or innocent and in determining his punishment when he is convicted. Yes, I said "when."

I won't argue with sentencing bias, but I still don't think people are reacting like this bc he is black. To me, it's becuase they are innocent animals and he is a very very public figure.

Phonypony got it right. People expected more from Vick. A man who has it all. A high profile career. Respect. Money, and all it can by. And now it looks like he is a guy who abuses animals for entertainment.
One of his pals is pleading guilty and the next step will be he'll start testifying against Vick and the others. Stand by your man Cville, but he's going to jail. And not because he's black-but because he's a criminal. And a small change low class criminal at that.

You people make everythig a racial issue.
You need to shut your black mouths and watch your behavior. Your hated because of the content of your character, not the color of your skin..It is not 1860. People hate you for good reason in 2007.
Wake the %^&* up people..Your so damn lame!
Jean from Richmond; what is your IQ?, 10? In the 1960's, 70's, and 80's, the black athlete was not the savage he is today. You people are your own worst enemies. You self destruct time and again. It is disgusting!

Why is there a mob mentality emerging, Ayisha? Could it be that federal investigators have overwhelming evidence in the form of 66 badly deformed dog carcasses unearthed from Mr. Vick's property? Could it be that most Americans find cruelty to defenseless animals and/or children abhorrent and disgusting? Could it be that there is substantial eyewitness testimony, in addition to the physical evidence of beating sticks and "rape stands," that convinced a federal grand jury to indict Mr. Vick and his accomplices? I don't believe we have "lost our ability to reason." On the contrary, you simply don't care about animals being beaten to death, hanged, and shot through the head. Why would I share that kind of heartless apathy with my friends and family? They're better than that.

Why are some people so blatantly, profoundly stupid? Why can't they draw obvious conclusions from plain, clear, simple, straightforward facts? Vick is undeniably guilty, and of a number of things- arrogance, idiocy, cruelty, poor judgement, savagery- the list large. The legal machinations are a mere formality, a charade, a procedural necessity to ensure that he can ultimately be slammed to the wall with no question of due process. And anybody who would dare put on a Vick jersey now is also guilty of astonishing ignorance and gullibility. They should be tried in court as well, because they are criminally insane.

Maybe the NFL should try to get a new league going. They could call it the TWFL- Third-World Football League. They could establish teams in countries like Afghanistan, and Iraq, and Mexico, and other sewage dumps where dogfighting is accepted. Ookie would be revered as a hero.

Thank you to all the dog-lovers. As human beings, we have been given the honor and privilege to care for our animals and earth. They call the treatment M. Vick did to the dogs inhumane because it falls out of the boundary of what is human. M .Vick's behavior is not only criminal and uncivilized but evil and abhorrent. His punishment should be to chain him to one of his rape stands and suffer the unmentionable cruelty he found to be entertaining. He is not even of the class of the animals he brutalized.

Actually, cville eye, quite a bit of my anger is due to the fact that this man, regardless of his race, is accused of allowing and betting on dog fights and permitting and encouraging the suffering of these animals in very inhumane ways. I don't support bullfighting, and I imagine most of the people angry at Mr. Vick right now don't either. I went to Tech and was a big Vick fan, even after a woman accused him of giving her an STD and he settled the lawsuit out of course, even after he flicked off his own fans after a game. But sorry, I can't ignore these charges or dismiss them with "oh, he's just being unfairly picked on because he's a successful black man." Yes, he is innocent in the eyes of the court until proven guilty, but it's hard to imagine that a lengthy indictment mentioning his name more than 50 times was just made up out of thin air. Could it possibly be that some of us "self righteous" folk just feel quite a bit of sympathy for these abused dogs?

Cville Eye, that's pretty pathetic. Either you condone the practice or you condemn the practice. I don't see where race enters into it. Would you and Ayisha be standing up for, say, Brett Favre, if he were the accused? I would still be condemning. It's about the animals - period. If a person makes the conscious choice to abuse, degrade, or kill a defenseless animal when we, as a society, have outlawed the practice as cruel and despicable, then that person will pay a price.

¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??Mistakes? Driving drunk is a mistake, a bad decision. Pulling out a gun instead of walking away from a bar fight. That's a mistake. What Vick did wasn't a mistake. It was a way of life. The illegal interstate dogfighting and gambling operation he's pleading guilty to having run was a going concern for five years.¢Ã¢â??¬

¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??A dogfighting business. Interstate gambling and cruelty to animals. An enterprise that any idiot ¢Ã¢â??¬” almost any idiot, evidently ¢Ã¢â??¬” knows is flamboyantly illegal, that would wreck a professional career nearly instantaneously if uncovered, and that Vick and company took so few pains to hide that authorities collected enough evidence in a raid to get four guilty pleas in less than four months, which is almost fast enough to create a sonic boom.¢Ã¢â??¬