Monday, August 27, 2007
Arm wrestling a Chihuahua-owning champ
My day began before dawn in Richmond, Virginia, as the circus that is the Michael Vick court case opened for business. Satellite trucks flanked the entire length of the court house, local police were lead around by German Shepherds to "make sure everything is safe in the area" (as their press officer cryptically tells me) and I assumed my place in the line of all lines.

The day's proceedings weren't scheduled to begin for another five hours, but to ensure I was one of the 100 people that gained entry into the first-come, first-served courtroom, I got there at 5:45 a.m., placing a respectable 13th in line. The line got long quickly as a motley crew of journalists, Vick supporters and Vick haters filled out the ranks.

Next to me in line was one such hater -- Steve, a 60-something shipyard man, with a Chihuahua named Dinky by his side and a T-Shirt that reads "My Dog Hates Michael Vick". He's an affable fellow who's passionate about his dog and perhaps even more passionate about, of all things, arm wrestling. I was skeptical about his claim to have once been the world arm wrestling champion, so he insisted that we match up. He took me down ala Sly Stallone, in what's perhaps the only film ever dedicated to the sport, 1987's "Over the Top". I decide never again to question alleged former world arm wrestling champions.

Surprisingly enough, the hours seemed to fly by, and finally, I was directed to the courtroom in which Michael Vick was to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge. The atmosphere was surprisingly jovial, given the serious business that was about to unfold. But that changed when members of Vick's family, the last to enter before Vick himself, were shown to their seats in the front row. The chatter devolved into a murmur. And then, when Vick walked through the door, there was complete silence.

Judge Henry Hudson rolled through a number of questions about the case with speed and cadence and Vick kept his answers short and seemingly without emotion. I tried to get a look at his face for any indication of what was going through his mind, but with his back to the crowd, hands at his side, it was impossible. From there, we rushed over to Vick's press conference, where many of those covering the case were surprised to hear Vick speak. The rest of the day was a whirlwind of "live shots" (where a correspondent, in this case, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, goes live on air). As I write this blog post, I'm in hour 15 of Vick coverage today, with a few more hours to go.

-- By Chuck Hadad, CNN Producer
Posted By CNN: 8:33 PM ET
  24 Comments
My take on this Michael Vick situation is that the NFL has every right to ban him because they are a private enterprise. Every company has written standards and practices that are part of your employment contract .
Posted By D. Winston, Stowe, Vt. : 8:54 PM ET
Take out one ingredient in this story-- that the accused has millions of dollars- and it barely makes the police blotter. If this was just some guy caught with a dog fighting operation, people would skim over it in the newspaper.
Posted By Vija F. - Traverse City, MI : 8:57 PM ET
Notice that in the Michael Vick press conference/confession/standown, he uses the words I and me several times per sentence. This guy needs therapy.
Posted By Dana W. , Seacaucus, NJ : 9:04 PM ET
I'm watching Larry King live on 8/27 and believe I heard Mark Garegos comment--about the people who will email saying Vick should be punished for his cruelty to animals:"They're dumb as dirt but I love 'em." Can he mean this??!

What Michael Vick did was brutal behavior against animals who had no defense. Yes, he needs to be punished, as anyone should be who brutalizes animals.
Posted By Mary Campbell, Arlington, VA : 9:20 PM ET
Michael Vick pleas guilty, He said he sorry for what he did and for lying to people about it. He's going to put his faith in the hands of a judge on December 10th.

Jeffery Toobin said he believe most likely Vick will get 12 to 18 months in prison.
Vick said though this whole situation " I found Jesus" and ask him for forgiveness - NFL has him suspended indefinitely he will have to pay millions back like. $ 71 million to NFL, $50 million for endoursements, also signing fee is $22 million and lawyer fees will be most likely millions.

U.S. Marshalls has 50 of his dogs I hope they don't try to adopt them out they would be in my opinion. Breed Killers.

He was apologizing to everyone the coach Bobby Petrino, His teammates and so on. The only ones I feel sorry for is the coach, teammates and his family. What Vick did was in humane and on his part stupid what was he thinking.

Jennifer - From Anderson, South Carolina.
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 9:30 PM ET
Arm wrestling a Chihuahua-owning champ?? Only in America..
Mr. Vick is perhaps lucky the little taco bell dog was restrained. No telling if he possessed the same grip as his owner.
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif : 9:38 PM ET
Michael Vicks is sorry. “How strategic!” Ask any psychologist, or law enforcement professional and they will tell you that Michael Vicks is a sociopath. Michael Vicks engaged in this behavior because he enjoyed torturing dogs. He took pleasure in watching animals suffer horribly and die. He even took it step further and personally killed dogs so he could FEEL the life being drained from their bodies. He ran a highly organized, well-funded dog-fighting ring to quench his sick appetite. Doesn’t the average adult understand that this is how serial killers start? My question is will he receive counseling for his sickness?
Posted By Anonymous : 10:07 PM ET
The National Football League is right to make this infraction a no-go. If you're convicted of certain things in sports- gambling, dog fighting, drugs, riding a cycle without a helmet , you're terminated. The NFL has its own code, just like other organizations
Posted By Kane , Enid, Okla. : 10:20 PM ET
Just saw your segment on Michael Vick and Pit bulls. I have a chow that I got from a shelter. He was abused, but is so submisive and a true gift from G-D. Chows are known to be nasty, and will kill a pitbull if put in a "Cockfight" But my chow has been with me fo 3-1/2 years and never snapped/growled at anyone. Any loud noise will send him under the closest table.

So please let your viewers know, its not the breed but the socialization that's important
Posted By michael : 11:31 PM ET
"Finding Jesus" is a very profound and personal experience, and you can be assured that when you do, you don't announce it to the American public.

And when that comes in the middle of an apology to his NFL boss, it sounds a little fake and shallow.

But then, after what he's done and shown KIDS, he wouldn't know much better. You can also be assured that when he's over and done with all this, he quite possibly would do all of this again. One who has the capacity to do this in the first place, will do it again in the future.

Let's hope that Michael Vick will "find Jesus' somewhere in his heart in the future.
Posted By Sharron Simpson : 11:33 PM ET
Chuck: Thanks alot...now I can't get out of my mind the song "Meet me Halfway" by Kenny Loggins! It's too bad you didn't video your arm wrestling defeat...could have been submitted as "The Shot" on 360 for some added entertainment.

I'm glad Vick confessed to his crime and showed some remorse today. I hope he not only helps the prosecutors uncover even more dogfighting operations but takes responsibility for the 50+ dogs seized that are still awaiting a decision as to whether they get rehabilitated or put down. It's just a sad story for all parties involved.
Posted By Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 11:39 PM ET
Anderson and Crew---

Imagine this----- you're in a rural small town First Grade classroom and the morning has begun. Calendar, weather and news----a six-year old raises his hand and said Mrs. Zann I know what's in the news--I heard it all weekend. The student proceeds to tell me that a very famous football player is going to jail for killing dogs and mistreating them. Then comes the stinger..... "Mrs. Zann, Why would someone so famous and important do such bad stuff to dogs?" I have a pet at my house and it's my dog and he's never done anything to be killed for. Why would someone do something like that?
Well there you go THANKS Mr. Vick for setting such Fine examples for our youngest citizens. In today's world, society is in constant touch with the world and what's going on....even the youngest have a very real knowledge of the newsmakers and what is happening in our society.
Professional athelets should be held to the highest standards--Our children are watching you through a magnifying glass. Be the example not the norm. Hold yourself to high standards and values for the children who hold you in such high esteem.
Posted By Zann Easterwood-Wortham : 11:44 PM ET
When I see the pictures and clips on CNN from the dogfights, I wonder how vicious and scupulous those dog-breeders and owners must be, to abuse their animals for entertainment. It surely takes an abusive mindset first of all to train pitbulls for fighting each other to death, and secondly the people who gamble and get enjoyment out of such animal cruelty are just as guilty.
They are in fact the cause of dogfights!
Without the money of gambling onlookers, it would not be profitable, and the abomination of animal abuse would stop.
Therefore ~ people who are present to watch dogfights need to be punished the same as the breeders.


Nocturno41
Posted By Anonymous : 12:06 AM ET
I think this is not funny, Alright a black NFL player gets time in prison for fighting dogs, but these white women dont even do all their time in jail for almost killing anyone or themselves while driving intoxicated!!
Posted By Anonymous : 12:17 AM ET
When Michael Vick when he said " I found Jesus" I maybe wrong but I think he said that to only make himself look good. I guess time will tell.

I think he was program on what to say it's not his own words from what I can tell. He kept looking at his notes some people didn't even see the notes or didn't want to see them. I saw them this is my opinion.
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 1:09 AM ET
Please, Please for the life of me, stop showing the dogs fighting. It is horrifying. I have owned many dogs. My current dog wasn't what I was looking to ADOPT. I was looking for a small dog like a Chihuahua or a Rat Terrier. But after seeing a picture of my pit bull/boxer/pointer mix I had to see her.

After visiting the Caroline County Humane Society on the eastern shore of MD (Some 45-55 Miles away) an playing with the dog and seeing her behaviors and demeanor, I had to have her. I went back with my three kids and realized it was truly a match.

My family and friends have all talked about the dog fighting charges levied against Michael Vick, we agree it is horrible. The spot light is on him only because of his celebrity. There are obviously others less in the public eye.

As for pit-bulls, they are few that have been exposed to fighting for their natural instincts as animals and the inherent aggressiveness. Its not the breed that needs to be punished.

MOST OF ALL in my message...for the love of all things holy and not....STOP SHOWING THE DAMNED DOG FIGHTING. ITS JUST HORRIBLE TO SEE THOSE POOR ANIMALS BEING BRUTALLY ATTACKED FOR THE SAKE OF A BARBARIC AND INSANE SADISM.

THE PURE GRAPHIC NATURE AND VIOLENCE IS UN-ACCEPTABLE AND YOUR NEWS ORGANIZATION HAS USUALLY MAINTAINED A HIGH STANDARD OF JOURNALISM AND YOUR DROPPING THE BALL.
Posted By ray : 1:27 AM ET
I don't think vick was sincere about his apologies. He said what he did was immature, that he found jesus while going through this situation, and it is a chance to change himself and become a better person... uhh, didn't paris hilton say the same thing??? And immature? That's the best word he can come up with? Who has seen immature nine year olds running around the street torturing or killing their pets? What a phony!!!

Camille
San diego, CA
Posted By Anonymous : 3:39 AM ET
I'd like to say that I'm glad to have CNN relaying all important 'worldly' information to my family and I. We appreciate you all, and Anderson Cooper as well.

I feel that Mr. Vick is on a path towards realizing the damage he has caused but the damaged doesn't even know the damage caused yet.

Will I at least be able to put my own "pit bull" down when they are banned form our country as a result of the actions of a top NFL celebrity and others at my own discretion?

Please remember that the innocent ones are these dogs and all environments and situations they have been put in by the very thing that has been ruining everything else in this world and that would be: US, PEOPLE as a whole.

So before you retain the mentality and opinion that all "pit bulls" are bad no matter what and no one can change your minds, just remember why they were made that way in the first place.

Thank you,
Brandi (Very happy and satisfied 'pit bull' owner. Her name is Jenna.)
Posted By Brandi, Huntsville, N. Al : 5:28 AM ET
In the case of MIchael Vick, why are the waiting until December for his sentencing? I think this is truly a waste of time. The judge needs to go ahead and sentence him. Also I think he should be banned from the NFL for life. We need to send a strong message to the players that they are not gods and above the law. It is time for them to be held accountable for their actions on and off the field.
Posted By Anonymous : 8:22 AM ET
Anderson,

While Michael Vicks crimes against these creatures is sick and worthy of stiff punishment, it is apparent that we live in a culture that values animal life over human life. It is also apparent that a successful Black athlete in America will get his livlihood taken away for crimes against animals, which is something that happens daily in America.

Cockfighting has been a sport in America's caucasion communities for years as well as "Frog gigging." Never heard of those things? Seriously, look them up. Lets look at Ringling Brothers and the way the animals often suffer abuse at the hands of their trainers. So, as a country. lets not be hypocrites. Lets hold everyone to the same standards.

Lets examine President Bush's disrespect for HUMAN life. Thousands of people left to die in the streets of New Orleans and young men and women sent to fight a war with no plan,no real basis, and often ill equipped. If you can make the decision that Michael Vick should lose his career for fighting and killing dogs, then lets use that same logic and decide that President Bush should be impeached for the decision to fight humans and the circus should not exist.
Posted By Anonymous : 9:12 AM ET
If a ship bearing inhabitants of the Planet Zod arrived anytime over the past few weeks, they'd think that dogfighting was only a part of "black urban culture" when in fact it's a subculture, often rural, that includes people of all races. Besides, anything bringing in that kind of money couldn't stay all-black if it wanted to.
Posted By Anonymous : 11:01 AM ET
Michael Vick has become, in a very short time, the American "hate object". How could a person be so cruel? Is there any other animal as loyal and trusting of its master as a dog? When I look at my black lab's soft brown trusting eyes...I shudder at the thought of what fighting dogs are going through. The fact remains that there are thousands more out there doing the very same thing that Vick did. Let's hope this outrage over Michael Vick will help solve the problem of dogfighting nationwide.
Posted By Anonymous : 12:16 PM ET
are we really serious?this is the biggest story in U.S news?we're taking this guy "down",for dog fighting,we weren't even this vigilant about OJ and he murdered 2 humans,Bush has sent over 3000 troops to the slaughter for no legitamate reason,and nothing.
do you know what the aspca does to pitbulls?they kill them,oh excuse me
they euphenise them.
let's get this straight,I do not condone the fighting,torture or killing of any animals,for food,fun or sport,but really...
don't we have more serious issues to go march on?
Posted By Anonymous : 12:34 PM ET
Michael Vick seemed to apologize to everyone except the dogs he tortured and executed.

Chris Walker
Santiago, CHILE
Posted By Chris : 12:51 PM ET
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