Walking on Eggshells: Why fight dogfights?

by Rob Esposito | 5/23/07 12:52am

Clinton Portis made an interesting observation recently. He said he had no qualms with Michael Vick for allowing illegal dogfights in the back of Vick's Virginia home. Portis said to WAVY-TV in Virginia, "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. I think people should mind their business." Some of the reporters had the audacity to inform Portis that dog fighting is, in fact, a felony in the state of Virginia. The quick-witted Portis, not about to be one-upped by a mere reporter, replied, "It can't be too bad of a crime." WOE questioned such a rash statement from a media icon, and engaged in some "Outside the Lines"-style reporting this past week to see if dog fighting really is such a terrible crime.

On location in Virginia, the scene was far from grim. Sure, the police ruined the party when they came in to seize all 60 dogs from Vick's house. They even took away my favorite: Crusher, a weathered pit bull with three scars on one ear, and another under his half-mangled eye. Looking back on the whole experience, I'd have to say that Vick's cousin, Davon Boddie, who lived at the house and seemed to run the show, was a pretty good guy. The dogs were always well fed, and there was even a vet, or at least that's what he told me, tending to the wounded warriors after each match.

WOE can recall many more dour circumstances: enduring the infamous eighth and ninth innings of the Dartmouth baseball team's 23-9 loss to Harvard on Sunday, April 30, 2006, is near the top of the list, followed closely by the Yankees giving up four-straight to the Red Sox back in ... ah, I'm sorry. I can't finish typing that sentence. Maybe a few more years will heal the pain. Either that, or a fastball through David Ortiz's head. Whichever comes first.

What is important is the fact that dog fighting, after WOE's close analysis and expert reporting, really isn't all that bad. Certainly not as bad as armed robbery or manslaughter. Sure, sometimes the dogs get hurt, but it's nothing compared to a Chuck Wepner fight or the aftermath of the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating competition. Plus, it's an underground hit and it's gaining popularity all the time. Even celebrities like Clinton Portis have gotten into dog fighting, a fact WOE gleaned from this gem from WAVY-TV, which may eventually be remembered as one of the greatest sports quotes of all time: "I know a lot of back roads that have the dog fighting if you want to go see it."

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're probably thinking I've gone crazy, that I've wasted way too much time on dog fighting and there'll be no room left for any awards, which is the only reason you picked up The D this morning in the first place. Relax. It's under control. I've only got one more column left after this one, a finale eerily similar to that of The Sopranos. Coincidence that two of the best in the business bow out at the same time? I think not. So before you pull an A.J. and tie a brick to your leg, have some awards:

Resurrected Caesar of the Weekend: Roger Federer

Just as everyone in the media was, "reiterating stab upon stab" (if I may steal a line from Daniel Webster, class of 1795) upon Roger Federer, claiming his title as No. 1 in the world was no longer accurate, he came back from the "dead" and beat Rafael Nadal on clay, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. It was the first time Nadal has lost on clay in 81 matches, and it put an end to both Nadal's record and any doubt that Federer is the world's best.

Sore Loser of the Weekend: George Foreman

Foreman, who recently published his memoirs, wrote that he believes he was drugged before his heavyweight title fight against Muhammad Ali in what was then Zaire (now the Republic of the Congo), known as the "Rumble in the Jungle." George, are you serious? Do you really think anyone is going to buy some bootleg "I thought my water tasted funny" story 33 years after the fight? WOE doesn't appreciate it when people attempt to re-write history in their favor, especially while the other parties involved are still alive but unable to speak on their own behalf due to an unfortunate illness. Don't be a sore loser, George. You lost to the best.