Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Unfortunately for Humpty Dumpty, all Tito Francona's horses and all Tito Francona's men could not put him back together again this evening in the Bronx. The Yankees took two out of three from the Sox, and there are some signs that everything that has gone so spectacularly awry to this point just might start coming together over the next few weeks. Whatever else may happen, it's sure to be a downbeat post on 38pitches, and that's usually cause for celebration on this end.

But baseball is only a peripheral concern this evening. Over the last few weeks, the story that Michael Vick owned a home where his cousin lived and allegedly operated a dog fighting ring has for some strange reason become the biggest single problem in America today. A very, very, very small part of this is my fault because I enjoying ripping Vick and his alter ego Ron Mexico. But now it has gotten way out of hand.

Out of all the parties that have weighed in on this sordid little mess, it is hard to determine who is the most wrong (not grammatically or stylistically elegant, but this situation defies conventional forms of expression). Somewhere in all of this, a tool of note is waiting to be mocked. Clinton Portis, tailback of the Washington Redskins, is a good place to begin.

Portis has waded into the midst of this farce and attempted to defend the indefensible player (Vick) and pastime (dog fighting). NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was not only disappointed, but also embarrassed at Portis' words of something less than wisdom. I don't know if Portis found much time to study jurisprudence in his time at the University of Miami, but that's no excuse for some of what he said.

I particularly enjoyed this gem from Portis' comments: "I don't know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it's his property. It's his dog. If that's what he wants to do, do it." While I appreciate the sanctity of private property as much as the next man, I don't think the "a man's home is his castle" defense is going to fly in this case. Just because you own a house doesn't mean that you or your guests can commit felonies there till the cows come home. You (or your cousin) can't run a meth lab or fight dogs or ritualistically kill people in your home and get away with it. That's just not the way the world works.

But some of the forces that have arrayed themselves against Michael Vick in this are little better than his would-be defender Clinton Portis. Animal rights groups are calling for the NFL commissioner to make sure that dog fighting is treated with the greatest possible severity under the newly adopted standardized personal conduct policy. And even better, a member United States House of Representatives agrees. And all I can say is...who cares?

Dog fighting is a felony. As such, it should be treated like any other felony under the terms of the new conduct policy at best. At worst, people should realize that just because they have formed inexplicable attachments to a vaguely domesticated four-legged pest-carrying civic nuisance doesn't mean the rest of us have to follow suit. Domestic violence, operating a motor vehicle, providing dangerous narcotic substances or partaking of same are far more serious offenses than going to the occasional dog fight or sponsoring a combatant.

Don't get me wrong, I do not support dog fighting. I think it is an antiquated, barbaric, disgusting endeavor. It should be illegal. Offenders should be punished when caught in the act. I just hate dogs. And before any reader rises up with bleeding heart over my egregious insensitivity to man's best friend, consider this proposition: when should a felony committed against an animal be regarded as more serious than a felony committed against a person? If your answer isn't never (the malapropism is deliberate, hoping to shock the dog lover back into consciousness), then you're a jackass, and the world would be best served if you opted to save the next generation from the burden of your progeny.

And as for Congressman Tom Lantos, who feels that he needs to take time out of his busy day to press Roger Goodell to strike down on Michael Vick with great vengeance and furious anger, I wonder would the Gentleman from California kindly consider the notion that he and his 434 colleagues might want to exercise the power of the purse to stave off financial ruin from the nation? Perhaps it's better that the Congress confine its powers to regulating sport. God only knows what a mess they could make out of the nation if they actually addressed issues of immediate concern like the war.

I will leave you to decide which of the interested parties can best be described as a tool of note from this post. If I say any more, I fear my readers and I might meet in the Place Where There Is No Darkness.

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