Thursday, July 26, 2007
During the last few days, two glaring pieces of news surfaced which have started everyone talking. Some very loudly. Oftentimes it does not take a lot of weighty news to get the fan base riled up in any given sport. Sometimes, and depending on the subject and circumstances, small bits become balloons.
You probably could scour the entire United States and not turn up a single sports fan who is not aware that dog fighting anywhere in the land of the free is illegal. Verily, that particular activity is pretty much banned globally. It is obvious that it is an inhumane act.
There are those who think more of their pets than they do any other possession. Most countries have organizations geared strictly to protecting animals of all species.
So the news that has ballooned into a federal case (literally) is that the popular star quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons has been allegedly aiding and abetting a dog fighting ring. Michael Vick has a lot of iron men at stake here, a hundred and thirty million to be exact. No matter how you slice it, that is a lot of dog biscuits.
Vick admits to owning the property, but denies any complicity in the sanctioning, operation or knowledge of the activity. It became a federal case when information surfaced that dogs had been transported across state lines. Given the high profile plain on which Vick (and all star athletes), travel, he can expect a full field blitz from all sides.
Usually, in sports, the hint of a scandal is enough to start the critical ball rolling. And this involves the second suspicion happening in the sports world. And this one, too, involves the FBI. A high profile NBA official (referee), has been charged with gambling on basketball games. Even some of those in which he was officiating. Bear in mind that, the same as Michael Vick, these are only allegations at this point.
The official in question, Tim Donaghy, has been braced on the court by players, protesting some of his decisions. Perhaps the most notable was one a few years back when Rasheed Wallace (known for his extraordenaire sportsmanlike conduct during games), confronted Donaghy outside the arena after a game with the Grizzlies. The NBA hierarchy took such a dim view of Rasheed’s actions that his subsequent suspensions cost him over a million and a half iron men. So, it is easy to see why the implications could loom so large if it is suggested that an official is tainting the outcome of a contest.
Having worked the games from the court and the field, I can assure you that the vast majority of officials beat themselves up when they even think they have made a bad call. So we can assume that not all referees are going to set out to make bad calls and not all quarterbacks are going to engage in dog fighting; however, the ones who do should be aware that sooner or later it will be uncovered.
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