Michael Vick has taken great heat for his alleged involvement in dog fighting and inadequate treatment of the animals.
For the past few days his face has been plastered on ESPN and other sports media outlets, and the talking windbags on the radio and TV airwaves have yelled, screamed and stamped their feet to ensure that their two cents (and with the dollar being at an all time low versus the pound and the Euro...that ain't much) are heard.
But now...now a scandal that threatens, to the chagrin of those aligned against Mr. Vick, to push his face off the front page.
NBA referee Tim Donaghy has been implicated in a betting scandal accusing him of making calls that effected the point spread of games on which he and some organized crime connected bettors wagered.
Certainly, we are proponents of due process and have championed the individual's right to a fair trial. We have also been profoundly and vocally in favor of not accusing anyone of a guilt, or suspending them from play until the legal ramifications have been thoroughly hashed out and the case has been disposed.
Having said that...we believe that Mr. Donaghy's resignation is akin to his admission of guilt.
Pacman Jones has never done so much as resign his VIP membership at the Cheetah Club. Michael Vick hasn't even felt that this "indictment" levied by the feds is worthy of being dignified by so much as a press release.
Mr. Donaghy quit his job.
Certainly, some of our less astute readers will argue, "NOIS, you have said in the past that it is wrong to say someone is guilty without their having gone to court. You are saying Donaghy is guilty because he is white. If he was Negro, you'd stand up for him."
Our response: Mr. Donaghy seems to have decided not to stand up for himself or challenge the allegations, he willfully and without hesitation gave up his career before a trial (let alone a verdict) has even begun. Therefore, we will interpret his actions as being his personal decision to waive the casting of judgment.
While Mr. Vick has been hammered by the media and been called cruel and inhumane, what Mr. Donaghy has done might be rationalized as being even more insidious.
Certainly, IF Vick is guilty, his mistreatment of animals will not win him dog owner of the month honors in Dog Fancy magazine.
However, we see Mr. Vick possibly having an airtight defense.
From Sports Illustrated: "He's not very bright at all,'' the source said of Vick. "And that's a big part of his problems. He's a very unintelligent person and he makes poor decisions because of it. It's not a white or black thing. Paris Hilton is an idiot, too. Mike Tyson was totally dumb, but for a long time his trainer kept him protected from his worst mistakes. You have to have someone around you who can protect you from yourself at times.''
Vick's intelligence has been called into question time after time. Incident after incident. Poorly read defense after poorly read defense. If Vick IS so moronic, maybe he didn't understand what he was doing IF he did treat these dogs in a manner that was not in their best interest.
Mr. Donaghy, on the other hand, was part of a crafty plan. A plan that required him to have a clear understanding of betting principles and the higher than average intelligence necessary to ensure that he made specific calls at specific times in the games.
Additionally, Mr. Vick's purported actions may have brought about the unfortunate, but inevitable, demise of more than a few non-humans.
Mr. Donaghy may have adversely effected the games (and possibly seasons) of 100's of NBA playing humans and possibly millions of human NBA fans.
Clearly, this should put Mr. Vick's indictment on the back burner of the sport media's agenda.
Until Vick's case is resolved, the media should allow him the privacy necessary to formulate his defense and lead as normal a life as possible.
In Mr. Donaghy's case, the media should translate his resignation as an admission of guilt, and begin the requisite character assault with no mercy and the utmost expedience.
Let's put the Vick story on the shelf and focus on bringing Donaghy to justice for his incredibly selfish assassination attempt on the NBA.
We owe it to the players and fans affected by Donaghy's crimes.