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August 24, 2007

Vick Admits To Killing Dogs, But Refuses To Admit Gambling

Via Slublog, the plea agreement finally agreed to by Vick.

The dog thing I think is a minor concession. Obviously he killed dogs.

The one he can't admit is the gambling, I think. Because sports leagues take a very dim view of illegal gambling. Even if one is betting on other sports, gambling results in unsavory connections that could ultimately taint the integrity of the game. If you bet on a different sport with a mob bookie and wind up $600,000 in debt, it's very possible you might just get an offer to have your debt canceled... if you throw a couple of games (or shave points, which in gambling is the same thing).

Vick isn't just implicated in placing bets with organized crime -- he stands accused of actually running an organized crime betting operation. Ultimately, if the league wants to ban him for life, they'll do so on the organized criminal betting operation and not cruelty to animals.

I think there's actually a pretty good chance of that. Yes, other NFL players have killed people, or at least been peripherally involved in killings. But it's corruption by organized crime gambling interests that actually threatens the sport itself. Whether he expressly admits to this in the plea agreement or not, he did it, and the NFL is not required to punish him only for what he admits in a plea agreement.

Can the NFL really afford to not ban him for life? Can they risk another wannabe gangsta starting up another illegal gambling shop? And can they risk the chance that someone so heavily involved in a sprawling criminal conspiracy won't be corrupted or blackmailed into throwing games?

Hell -- for all of Michael Vick's atheletic gifts, he didn't exactly win a lot of games, now did he? Who the hell knows what else this prick of a pro-am Godfather was up to. Speculation? Of course. But that's exactly why sports leagues can't afford MobStars in them. Once someone is in the business of crime and gambling, what assurance is there that he isn't mixing his side-job with his regular gig?

On FoxNews, they described the plea deal as having a heavy emphasis on Vick's full and complete cooperation. Lie detector tests, multiple interrogations and re-interrogations, etc. The deal relies upon the truthfulness and completeness of his cooperation. So I don't see how he can evade ultimately admitting to running a start-up organized crime gambling ring, at least not without voiding his plea deal.

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posted by Ace at 03:16 PM

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