Vick To Plead Guilty

Two comments about the plea.

One, if I was a Falcons fan, I’d probably be pretty happy.

The team was never going to succeed with Michael Vick as quarterback. Too talented for his own good, thus far he has failed to do the work necessary to be an NFL quarterback, instead relying on his amazing natural skills, with the result being mediocrity. Sure he can run, but his job is to throw, and he does not do that very well at all. Check out his career stats. In six seasons, he’s never thrown for three thousand yards, once he reached twenty touchdowns (exactly twenty) and his career passing efficiency rating is 75.7. For perspective, on the all time list, Vick’s rating puts him between Stan Humphries and Wade Wilson. And he isn’t getting better, his rating last season was also 75.7. While his arm and his speed get him into a bunch of highlights and land him a bunch of endorsements, his overall mediocre play has made the Falcons a mediocre team.

But Vick’s talent is so great, the team’s investment in him so high, and the “ooooh, ahhh” factor so heavy, that in spite his actual performance, he would have remained the QB for the foreseeable future. Hence, unless he radically changed his habits – which if he hasn’t done yet, after six years in the league, he probably won’t ever do – the team would have remained mediocre. Now, though, forced to play this season without a QB – well, with Joey Harrington – they’ll stink their way to a high draft pick and maybe be able to start to build a real team, rather than the supporting cast for SportsCenter highlights.

Now the second comment. In this previous post and its comments I already expressed my opinion that dog fighting should not be a crime. Now, for the sake of argument, I’ll grant that it ought to be a crime. But it still should not be a federal crime. I’m not even going to make the constitutional argument; by this point the law is pretty settled that sneezing inside your own house could somehow affect interstate commerce and therefore justify federal regulation. All I’m going to say is that even though congress can federally criminalize dog fighting, congress ought not to do so.

Like it or not, the federal government has a limited amount of resources: Money, buildings, people, time. The country, though, has lots of problems. If congress tried to regulate everything – as it has been doing for the last seventy years – congress will spread its resources too thin to do any good for anyone. Hence, if congress actually wants to solve problems, they can’t regulate everything; they’ve got to prioritize.

In my opinion, what someone does inside a state with their dogs ought to be really low on the list. Why? Two reasons.

First, I think the state in which the fighting occurs is perfectly capable of stopping it. In fact, local officials, equipped with local knowledge, would probably be better at finding out about dog fighting than some far removed federal law enforcer.

Second, and more importantly, if the state in which it occurs does not stop the fighting, that will have minimal impact on other states. That Mike Vick fought dogs in Virginia has absolutely no impact on me and my dog in Louisiana. In other words, dog fighting isn’t like pollution. If, for instance, Greedy Oil Company decides to save money by dumping its waste products into a river and the state in which Greedy Oil Company resides won’t do anything about it, every other state along that river will suffer the consequences of the dereliction. If, however, Virginia had decided not to prosecute Mike Vick, nothing changes for me in Louisiana.

In short, the federal government cannot be a solution to every problem. It only has so many resources, and if it throws the resources at everything, nothing will get done. Much better to limit federal intervention to situations in which it is really necessary. In my opinion, those are situations in which states can’t solve the problem themselves, or when a state’s failure to act will harm another state. I don’t see either of those criteria met in the case of dog fighting. None of this is to belittle the barbaric nature of dog fighting. Just to say that the federal government is not the best solution to the problem.

Explore posts in the same categories: Big Dumb Government, Sports - NFL

6 Comments on “Vick To Plead Guilty”

  1. Del Says:

    Okay, I’ll further expose my ignorance, since on Kathy’s blog I admitted that before all this I didn’t even know who Michael Vick was. Dog fighting is a federal crime? Geez, what next? The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and people who leave their dogs in hot cars with the windows rolled up?

  2. kc Says:

    I think the biggest problem is the gambling aspect of it , not the dogfighting itself….it is essentially racketeering

  3. Del Says:

    I think that’s why they’re really going after him, sure, but dog fighting became a federal crime in and of itself in 2007. From the ASCPA website:

    “In 2007, Congress passed the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act with strong bipartisan support. The Act became law in May 2007, and provides for felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export relating to commerce in fighting dogs, fighting cocks and cock fighting paraphernalia. Each violation can result in up to three years in jail and a $250,000 fine.”

    Yes, Mr. Bush signed this into law. Draw what Abu Ghraib parallel you will.

  4. Wheeler Says:


    i’ve heard more than a few sportscenter types speculate that the gambling part is what will really end vick’s nfl career.

  5. kc Says:

    even back in 62 or 3 the NFL suspended Paul Honung and Alex Karas…and that was just for placing bets, not running a criminal enterprise and financing the whole thing…and I don’t think the league was a sensitive about image then….now after Pacman and a host of other matters, I imagine the hammer will have to fall hard…too much money at stake

  6. […] already explained my reasoning for Vick. His case ought not be a crime at all, and definitely not a federal crime. As for the noose, I […]

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