May 23, 2007
Dog fighting, a crime? Ridiculous!
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Washington Redskins players Clinton Portis and Chris Samuels defended Michael Vick on Monday by ridiculing the notion that dog fighting is considered a crime.
In an interview with WAVY-TV, Portis said that if the Atlanta Falcons quarterback is charged and convicted of being involved in a dog fighting operation, then authorities would be “putting him behind bars for no reason.”
“I don’t know if he was fighting dogs or not,” Portis said. “But it’s his property; it’s his dogs. If that’s what he wants to do, do it.”
Portis said dog fighting is a “prevalent” part of life.
Why can’t we as a society get past the notion that an animal is property, no different from a person’s furniture, DVD collection, or other inanimate household objects? “Lots of people do it” is not a valid excuse for treating animals cruelly. But Portis goes on:
Portis, a native of Laurel, Mississippi, added: “I know a lot of back roads that got a dog fight if you want to go see it. But they’re not bothering those people because those people are not big names. I’m sure there’s some police got some dogs that are fighting them, some judges got dogs and everything else.”
“Politicians,” added Samuels, who found it hard to keep from giggling while Portis was talking.
“Presidents,” added Portis with a laugh.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re right on the latter point: there are always plenty of authority figures out there breaking the laws they’re meant to uphold. Again, though, not a valid excuse. And as to the former point they make, that authorities are going after Vick more because he’s famous than because of the dogfighting itself, I’m not buying it. If Animal Precinct and anecdotal evidence I’ve picked up here in New Mexico are any indication, then authorities are doing their best to go after people who fight dogs wherever they find them, regardless of fame.
I can’t help but be curious about the fact that it sounds like Portis and Samuels giggled through the whole interview. I certainly won’t complain if they’re, ah, seasoning with a particular herb, if you will, in their free time, but if it’s enabling them to give interviews in which they rationalize and implicitly condone cruelty to animals, then I object. At any rate, though, it sounds like Portis’s press handlers got a hold of him later:
Hours after making light of the possible crime in the television interview, Portis issued a statement late Monday through the Redskins.
“In the recent interview I gave concerning dog fighting, I want to make it clear I do not take part in dog fighting or condone dog fighting in any manner,” the statement said.
[h/t to Gina at the Pet Connection Blog]