September 3, 2007
The Michael Vick case took a turn for the worse, at least for Mr. Vick, the star NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons. Previously, two of Mr. Vick’s friends, Purnell A. Peace and Tony Taylor, had given a statement about the dog fighting activities in exchange for a plea deal. Those statements implicated Mr. Vick. Now Quanis L. Phillips, a friend of Mr. Vick’s since their middle school days, has also entered into a plea agreement with federal authorities. The result is that Mr. Vick is pretty much left with a plea bargain deal himself, one that most experts predict will net him at least one year in prison.
Mr. Vick announced his intention to enter a guilty plea, on August 20, 2007, within days of Mr. Phillips’s announcement of his plea bargain. Originally, Mr. Vick had said that “Bad Newz Kennels,” located in Virginia on property owned by Mr. Vick, was the result of his having trusted his friends, who live on the property and had taken advantage of him. With the stories among the three who entered pleas so consistent and a superseding indictment in the works before the grand jury, Mr. Vick’s attorney indicated that the NFL star decided that he needed to get his life back on track. Mr. Vick’s lawyer indicated that they had not had recent discussions with the NFL over Mr. Vick’s fate with the league. The charges carry up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines, but there was no indication in the announcement that there was an arrangement in the plea for the sentence.
One writer observed, “Snitching is a street sin, isn’t it?”1 However, Cris Carter, a former NFL player who counsels current NFL players on the risks of certain associations, says, “That’s all make-believe. That’s too many TV shows. In the end it’s about self-preservation.”2 The Atlanta Humane Society has received one dozen Vick Atlanta Falcon shirts since the indictment of Mr. Vick, generally accompanied by financial donations to the shelter of the Society. The director says that the shirts are used for dog blankets or for cleaning up after the dogs - uses the director says are appropriate.
“Never trust the people you cheat with; they will throw you under the bus.” Evaluate this statement. Is it true? Evaluate Mr. Carter’s statement that it is all about self-preservation.
Why do we have such an aversion to “snitching”?
1 Selena Roberts, “Vick Is Trapped In His Circle of Friends,” New York Times, August 19, 2007, YT, pp. 1 and 6 (Sports Sunday section).