Vick supporters turn out for town meeting in Atlanta
ATLANTA -- Wearing No. 7 jerseys and T-shirts that proclaimed "Free Michael Vick," supporters of the disgraced Atlanta Falcons quarterback turned out for a town meeting that was supposed to expose the divided feelings over his dogfighting case.
The ESPN-sponsored event came on the same day that Vick was indicted in Virginia on state charges that could land him more time in prison. He already pleaded guilty in a federal case related to a gruesome dogfighting operation found on property he owned in his home state.
Several hundred people turned out for the panel discussion.
Also, ESPN handlers were still trying to rustle up audience members after the 90-minute event went on the air. Dozens of them wandered in during commercial breaks, apparently lured more by the prospect of getting some face time on the live broadcast rather than their feelings about the Vick case.
The panelists included nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz, newspaper columnists Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Selena Roberts of the New York Times, and former Falcons players Terrence Mathis and Chuck Smith. John Goodwin, who handles dogfighting cases for the Humane Society of the United States, and R.L. White, president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP, spoke from the audience.
It was clearly a pro-Vick crowd. White was cheered when he accused the media of devoting too much coverage to the case.
"At some point, enough is enough," White said. "This is overkill. He's been subjected to every kind of negative press there can be."
Goodwin, on the other hand, was heckled when he defended his group and other animal-rights organizations for taking such a keen interest in the case. He reminded everyone that Vick and his associates admitted to electrocuting, drowning and hanging dogs that lost fights or didn't show enough aggressiveness.
"Talk about overkill," Goodwin said, his voice drowned out by Vick's raucous supporters. "It's overkill to drown an animal because he didn't show enough ability in the fighting pit. We've got to remember the real victims are buried under about 6 feet of dirt in Surry County, Virginia."
Gerald Rose, whose Atlanta-based New Order National Human Rights Organization has held rallies in support of Vick, said the media has a double standard for white and black athletes who run afoul of the law.
"It seems like when African-American athletes and white athletes get in trouble, they're always biased against the African-American athlete," Rose said.
Moore agreed, though he was quick to point out that those disparities don't really apply in the Vick case.
"He confessed," said Moore, who is black. "It's not like there's a grassy knoll or a second gunman. There was one gunman in this case. It was Michael Vick."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
VICK SENTENCED TO 23 MONTHS
Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison and three years' probation for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. The suspended Falcons quarterback is looking at a scheduled release of July 2009. Story
Update• GM: Falcons will attempt to trade Vick
• Lawyer: Vick might move to halfway house
• Former Vick estate fails to sell again
• Vick house fails to sell at auction
• Vick files for bankruptcy protection
• Prosecutor: Vick's Virginia trial can wait
• Vick ordered to repay Canadian bank $2.4 million
• Judge denies NFL motion to reverse Vick ruling
• Report: Vick not playing organized football in jail
• Report: Vick passes time with prison-yard football
• Vick's state dogfighting trial to begin June 27
• Munson: Vick yet to enter drug treatment
The sentence• Vick sent to Kansas to serve rest of sentence
• Vick asked judge for leniency before sentencing
• Vick sentenced to 23 months | Document (pdf)
• Poll: What do you think? | What they're saying
• Clayton: Sentence puts career in jeopardy
• Munson: Tough sentence by displeased judge
• Teammates show support at Falcons game
• Can Vick return to playing in NFL?
• Pasquarelli: No longer top of mind in Atlanta
• Last Vick co-defendant sentenced
• Podcasts : Cossack | Schlereth | Munson/Naqi | Pasquarelli
• Chat wrap: David Cornwell
Post Plea• NFL wants court to reverse Vick bonus ruling
• Victory for Vick: QB can keep $20 million bonus
• Fifth defendant in Vick case receives probation
• Vick's house for sale for $1.1M
• Some Falcons to visit Vick in prison
• PETA unveils new e-card
• Former Virginia estate fails to sell at auction
• Out of Falcons' sight, almost out of mind
• Judge's casework offers look at possible sentence
• Remaining dogs placed with rescue groups
• Source: Feds may push judge to up sentence
• NFLPA argues Vick should not lose roster bonus
• Vick co-defendants get 18, 21 months in prison
• Vick agrees to put up almost $1M for dogs' care
• Vick given April trial date on state charges
• Vick surrenders to begin serving sentence early
• Home at center of Vick dogfighting scandal sold
• Vick fires one of his lawyers in dogfighting case
• Man who sold Vick pit bull pleads guilty
• Man connected to Vick dogfight ring pleads guilty
• Third bank sues Vick, claims he defaulted on loan
• Arbiter: Falcons have right to reclaim bonuses
• PETA: Vick had class on animal cruelty
• Evaluations show 48 of Vick's dogs placeable
• Vick tests positive for marijuana
• Vick supporters turn out for town meeting
• Vick's apology notes fetch $10.2K at auction
Vick's Plea/NFL Suspension• Vick pleads guilty to federal dogfighting charge
• The plea (PDF) | Statement of facts (PDF)
• Vick's statement: Watch it | Read it
• Roger Cossack explains plea deal
• Poll: Vick should be banned
• Va. Tech, Beamer continue to support Vick
• Vick supporters drown out protesters
• NFL suspends Vick indefinitely | Goodell (PDF)
• Chris Mortensen on Vick's suspension
• Vick files plea agreement admitting to dogfighting
Indictment• Marbury's about-face: Vick 'is 100 percent wrong'
• National NAACP: Vick 'not a victim' | Audio
• Atlanta NAACP: Vick should be allowed to return
• Falcons come to terms with 'ex-teammate'
• Vick timeline | What they're saying
• Helyar: Even Atlanta turns against Vick
• Goodell: Vick not overshadowing season
• Vick co-defendant pleads guilty to charges
• Tony Taylor: Summary of Facts | Plea agreement
• Hometown residents stand by Vick
• Falcons had planned to suspend Vick
• Commish tells Vick to avoid camp
• Vick indicted | The indictment (pdf) | Civil arrest warrant (pdf)
Town Hall meeting• Town Hall chat wrap: Chadiha
Previous columns/analysis• Munson: Q&A on Vick reporting to prison early
• Munson: Looking at Judge Hudson
• Vick's high school learning lessons
• Bryant: Confounded by race issue
• Munson: Q&A about local indictment
• Munson: Next focus for Vick is length of sentence
• Schlabach: Vick an afterthought on VT campus
• Chadiha: Vick not running from truth
• Hill: Coverage means bigger issues ignored
• Wojciechowski: Pay attention to the fallen star
• Bryant: Vick's plea deal comes with baggage
• Bryant: In failing Vick, NFLPA fails itself
• Munson: Vick plea means surrender
• Forde: Vick's epic fall
• Pasquarelli: Major blow for Falcons
• Chadiha: Lots of lessons to be learned
• Wojciechowski: Punishment with teeth
• Easterbrook: Little sympathy?
• Clayton: Vick's NFL future might be bleak
• E-Ticket: A history of mistrust
• Chadiha: Vick's bad choices
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