The League


Vick or Bonds: Who's Worse for PR?

One's a convicted dog fighter, the other was indicted in the biggest baseball scandal since the Black Sox. Both are looking to play next season, but who would be a bigger liability to a prospective team's image?

Posted by Emil Steiner on March 4, 2009 3:26 AM

ged0386: DrFish Oh yea, lets compare two athletes with similar circumstances. Bonds and Clemens. One is black, one is white. Both names have bee...

jhpurdy: It's Vick, of course, by a wide margin. The thing I don't understand about the Vick apologists here is that we are not talking about some fl...

iphoenix: JHPURDY, nobody is apologizing for Michael Vick because nobody has to: He went to jail and was forced to suffer for his sins, and he was ba...

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (19)

margiepaul88 Author Profile Page :

I know some of you hate hearing this, but what Vick did, while illegal here, is hardly a crime against humanity. It was a crime against dogs. DOGS! Somehow cute and furry animals have special rights all the sudden. Hurt them and it is against the law.

That very illegality is so hypocritical when you compare it to the wide array of "animal torture" we all passive commit through the use of cosmetic products, pharmaceuticals and food we eat.

DOn't get me wrong. I love my makeup, I need drugs to survive and nothing beats good bar-b-que, so I don't understand what the big deal is. Aren't all animals created equally?

In many countries dog fighting is a national sport. Kind of like baseball used to be here until the Super Juicer shot it all to hell in a basket. But even if you believe that what Vick did was a crime he has already paid his debt to society. It would evil to prevent him from working after that.

rmattocks Author Profile Page :

What A Stupid Question to ask really. I mean one has done federal prison time for running and bankrolling a multi-state dogfighting operation and the other is being "accused" of lying about using steroids and performance enhancing drugs you do the math. The government's case against Bonds is so weak it could take 12 to 19 months before their supposed appeal gets back into an U.S. District Court to be heard again. Which means frankly unless Greg Anderson and co. speaks publicly, or the Government threatens or coerces someone to speak against their will, this case for all intents and purposes is done and over with. Greg Anderson is only person who can help the Government and he won't do it. End of Story. Vick by far would be the tougher sell for people not only because he's served prison time, but the fact with America's love for pets, is seen as a more immoral act. But the man has served his time given and has lost everything financially and emotionally he deserves a second chance to prove himself as a decent human being and as a football player second.

shipfreakbo214 Author Profile Page :

Vicks is a convicted felon, case closed on him. If Bonds is convicted he should do time in prison. We have one comment that said it was only a crime against dogs, that comment speaks for it self. These athletes are supposed to be role models for our young ones, not convicted felons.

CoCoSausage Author Profile Page :

Wow, Bonds or Vick, what a choice.... Let's ignore Roger Clemens who (allegedly) lied to our elected officials while the world watched, and let's ignore Leonard Little who actually killed a woman because he wanted to drive drunk....

DCScribe1 Author Profile Page :

Vick is a bigger public relations problem for a potential suitor because PETA will cause a ruckus wherever he goes. According to the judge handling the latest Bonds court episode, the strongest evidence the prosecution has is nothing more than hearsay. Conversely, the court of public opinion begs to differ. Bottom line, Vick was convicted of a crime, while it doesn't look like like Bonds will be convicted.

bebaltz Author Profile Page :

I agree with the post by RMATTOCKS. However, Barry Bonds did test positive for steroids and amphetamines. Somehow, those tests can't be used in the case against him. He'll probably receive no punishment for his actions.

Unfortunately, Michael Vick probably will have public relations problems for the rest of his life. He admitted his crime and served his sentence, but public opinion in the US doesn't appear to care about someone having paid for his crime. This issue will continue to be thrown up at him.

michael_1311 Author Profile Page :

In the real world both men should be allowed to earn a living like every other "white man" covicited of a crime and joins the lecture circuit or receives a pardon from the president. But we know that we are not dealing with the real world. Michael Vick has spent more time in jail for lying than most murderers and because he has done "time" and because he is "Black" he becomes a bigger libility for a professional sports team. Barry Bonds has not been convicited of a crime, but has been convicited in the court of public opinion.It's amazing how much money, time and effort is being spent in sending this man to jail for telling a lie to "white" men and Roger Clemons becomes an after thought for lying to "white men".

In the end does it really matter which of them is a libility? They will never be able to overcome the stigma that has been attached to them, be it by their own hands or not.. And we all know why! In one community they remain role models in another they don't, that's the way of the world!

cyprissa Author Profile Page :

Seriously? What Vick did was morally repugnant and atrocious. It is NEVER ok to abuse animals like that! It is sick. Serial killers have been shown to begin by torturing animals and the idea of dogfighting or any other animal fighting as a national sport is disgusting.

While taking steroids is illegal and does damage to baseball's image at least it only inflicts physical harm on the user and not on innocent people or animals.

iphoenix Author Profile Page :

Michael Vick is now described as a "convicted felon" because of his crimes. That label also implies that he was held accountable. Any argument, now, that he should be denied and punished even more is simply an emotional reaction of unappeased outrage and hate. So, I will offer an emotional response to that emotional reaction.

If Michael Vick is in-shape and brave enough to try and return to the NFL, then he should be allowed.

He should return with a degree of humility because the very same rich White owners who allowed him to be used as a lightning rod for all the transgressions of character and accountability (athletic, racial, and political) and bankrupted him are now the ones allowing him to return and rebuild his career.

However, he should also return with his head held high for two important reasons: 1. As much as Americans love dogs (including this author), DOGS AREN'T HUMANS! Racing dogs and incredibly expensive thoroughbred horses are killed regularly once they become too old or too injured to make their owners money anymore. All sorts of animals are regularly sacrificed in our country just because they are in the way of "progress" or "commerce" (Navy sonar vs. dolphins/whales; the fishing industry vs. undesired fish caught in fishing nets; water pollution vs. Chesapeake Bay crabs/oysters/blue fish; the health care and insurance industries vs. unemployed and poor homosapien Americans) After all these other true atrocities, our law enforcement and media institutions can only prosecute and persecute Michael Vick for dogfighting and putting down injured and spent animals which were trained to be vicious? Please! (And don't be turned off by the "vicious" part. Pitt Bulls didn't become popular because they're cute; people embraced Pitt Bulls because they are intimidating, and they are intimidating because of their potential viciousness!)

2. Vick should return with his chin up because he, rightly and necessarily, did his time in jail and literally paid the price for his transgressions. Not only was he bankrupted, but somehow "The Money Gods" managed to leave him in serious debt! All this talk about additional forms of punishment and contrition are merely mean-spirited, racist attempts to keep this Black sports maverick in tight reins!

The Christian Right in America has been so effective, especially in the last 5 years, convincing America of its Christian identity that even church and state separatist Democrats began praying publicly and uttering "God-Talk" in a pitiful attempt to court the meanest, most narrow-minded, judgemental voters. Talk about irony! Which is more Christian, forgiveness of sin or hypocritical eternal condemnation? What do I mean by this? How many Vick haters feast on the flesh of cows (more productive than dogs), and pigs (smarter than dogs!), and chickens (far more crucial to human survival than dogs)? Nope. Vick haters may not trash him while picking the all-American hotdog meat from between their snarling teeth!

Hate the sin, but love the sinner. In the lily White sport of hockey (can't forget Sara Palin's "Hockey Moms and Dads"!), a player can literally bruise and bloody his opponent as part of the game, and after spending a few minutes in the "penalty box" gets to return and continue playing. How about that?! It is appropriate then, that an athlete of Vick's caliber who was actually expanding his sport by redefining the parameters of his position and who still is in his prime should be allowed to complete his redemption by returning to that which made him matter so much in the first place -- the NFL G-A-M-E!

Anything less is an argument against all notions of a "post-racial America".

PC14 Author Profile Page :

The animal-lover types will never understand the correlation between socio-economic status and ones view of 'pets'.

Where Vick grew up, a dog's main purpose was as a deterrent to intruders. To ensure this, puppies were honored for being tough or mean. The meaner the dog, the better its status.

I know for a fact that my dog's reputation as 'mean' kept a whole lot of unwanted guests off our property when i was growing up.

In the ghetto a 'pet' is also often expendable. If one can't feed his family, he certainly won't feed his dog.

I recently paid $2500 for my dog's eye surgery. Do you think a poor uninsured family would consider the same expense?

As a child, we fed our dogs bones, table scraps, etc. Folks now consider that cruel because the dog could choke or whatever. Please. A bag of dogfood or milk for the kids, hmmm.

If you put this mentality into context, it isn't that far a stretch to understand how Vick could treat his dogs the way he did.

That doesn't condone his treatment of those poor animals, but it certainly puts it in perspective.

frieda406 Author Profile Page :

bonds damaged the sport of baseball via his actions.
vick did not necessarily damage the sport of football w/his.
however, on a who is worse, hands down it's vick. the cruelty, pain, injury and death that came to these animals by his decisions shows a real lack of empathy and excuse for his behavior. blaming it on the ghetto is outrageous and racist.

krazykat23 Author Profile Page :

Bonds' actions are immensely disappointing to all fans, especially young ones who look to him as a role model. Shame, shame, shame. The least he deserves is zero chance at the hall of fame and his records stricken as tainted.

But Vicks' actions are inhuman. The way you treat animals, especially those purportedly under your protection, speaks volumes about your character. I won't even go into the established link between abusing animals and abusing other people...

spidey103 Author Profile Page :

This is an easy one. Bonds abuses sports writers, Vick abuses dogs. Vick is worse by far.

DrFish Author Profile Page :

Race has nothing to do with this question so why bring it into the dialog? Deal with the issue at hand, not anyones' race. I'd be willing to give Vick a second chance, if I knew he was in counseling. Let's face it, doing what he did is not normal and the kid needs professional help. If he is not seeking psychiatric help, then he isn't admitting he has a problem and should not be permitted back into professional sports. As for Bonds, he's nothing more than a cheat. Hasn't hurt anyone but himself. Regardless, he should not ever be nominated to enter baseball's hall of fame. "Winners never cheat and cheaters never (should be allowed to)win."

ged0386 Author Profile Page :

After seeing Scooter Libby get to completely avoid jail time I find it hard to want to see Bonds or Clemens for that matter go to jail for lying about performance enhancers. Vick for what is was worth did his time for his involvement with an illegal activity, dog fighting. As for how he treated some of the dogs, when we stop putting horses to sleep because they no longer can perform we are not solving anything by making a continued example of Vick by wishing for his further demise. I think he has paid more than most people, he lost his freedom, livelihood and finances all in one swoop. He has paid the biggest price in front of the public eye and we still have dog fighting Heck we haven't even stopped dog fighting because we know that Vick only got convicted because he is a high profile athlete. We need to show consistency regarding who we punish and why. Its not a crime or to be a rich arrogant a-hole athlete or justifiable to overreact by using the law to bring about more punishment on these guys than they would some regular joe. It seems like since O.J simpsons acquittal we bend over backwards to make sure any black athlete that is even accuse of any crimnal or unethical behavior the law goes after them with full force, the media goes after them with a vengeance and society is not happy unless they are ruined for life. In some cases ruined in death, we want to see their kids lives ruined as well. All so we can feel better about ourselves. So we can say Marion Jones, Mich Vick or Bonds is no better than me. In fact I am better than them because I did not get convicted for dog fighting or lying to a government official about performance enhancers. It seems the black athlete is still paying for O.J getting off. Vick and Bonds remind the public of O.J, popular, rich, a little arrogant athlete. Just the kind of person the regular working public likes to see get taught a lesson. Ruined for our satisfaction.

Revhillenbrand Author Profile Page :

Bonds is being treated very unfairly. If there is some proof of illegal drug use that will stand up in court that he should be tried promptly. It is my understanding that the basis of our legal system is that the accused must have a speedy trial. This is dragging on for an entire lifetime. Bernard F. Hillenbrand

ged0386 Author Profile Page :


Oh yea, lets compare two athletes with similar circumstances. Bonds and Clemens. One is black, one is white. Both names have been linked to steroid use. One was called to testify to his steroid use did not deny using a substance but did deny knowing exactly what the substance was, the other not only denied use but volunteered to come in front of government officials and officially deny under oath. Both have trainers who were key witnesses to their statements being proven truth or lie. Bonds had a trainer who was jailed on several occasions for not being willing to testify on behalf of the government against bonds. The other trainer was willing to testify against Clemens and submitted physical evidence that contains Clemens DNA in syringes. One trainer is jailed for not testifying and other is vilified for testifying by the very lawmakers that are suppose to be objective in the congressional hearing because they regarded Clemens as their hero. Bonds is regarded in the media as the arrogant jerk ballplayer by most. Not worthy of the credit for the achievements he has accomplished. Clemens is still regarded as a 7 time Cy Young award winner regarded as the best pitcher of our era. Bonds testified in 2003 and is still being investigated for perjury Clemens testified as resent as 2007 and is facing no prosecution at this time. Why is bonds facing jail time and Clemens is not and probably will not? If you really dont think after seeing O.J simpson get 9-30 years for armed robery and kidnapping because he stupidly persued getting his own property back from some guys who stole it from him and were never question on how they got it during the whole ordeal along with the public perception of wanting him punished for something they felt he got away with years ago not based on race you are only kidding yourself and you are just too much of a coward to address the issue of race so you would rather blame the person who talks about it as the bigger problem than the problem itself. Robert Blake killed his wife and got an acquittal. No one hates him and wishes for the day he gets his due. Ever wonder why? I would love to say that race does not and it should not matter but just as this last years presidential race showed its a little of both. No need of running from it. The more you address it now the less you have to later.

jhpurdy Author Profile Page :

It's Vick, of course, by a wide margin. The thing I don't understand about the Vick apologists here is that we are not talking about some flat broke guy trying to hustle a few bucks fighting dogs. I would still find that repugnant, but I would understand. Vick, however, was a multimillionaire high profile athlete who for some unknown reason felt he had to engage in a criminal enterprise to, what, "keep it real?" To put this another way, would anyone posting here, if they won $20 million in the lottery, decide that what they really needed to do was rob 7-11s in order to feel authentic? Don't think so.

iphoenix Author Profile Page :

JHPURDY, nobody is apologizing for Michael Vick because nobody has to: He went to jail and was forced to suffer for his sins, and he was bankrupted for using NFL money to bankroll an illegal enterprise. For those who wish to label it immoral as well, you better label all forms of competition immoral then, from boxing to martial arts, from tennis to marbles because in all competition, one side is trying to defeat, to vanquish, to castrate, to "kill" its opponent!

Since Vick was publicly convicted and flogged, and now that he has paid the legally prescribed price, there is nothing else to apologize for. Justice more than won this game, and it's in the past now -- unless people like you keep trying to ride this dead horse!

As for Vick's former high finances, it is amazing how even the mere thought of money screws up people's thinking. Vick was neither some blue-blood nor a bourgeois Darky who was raised with his nose stuck in the air. Vick was and is a country boy! Did you know that dogfighting is very common in the south? It is also fairly lucrative and very White! Why is it that people believe that just because these violent gladiators get paid a handsome sum for doing battle for wealthy owners and blood-thirsty fans that they are supposed to stop being who they were and are to their core? Money alone does not have this power, but greed does. And, there is no evidence that greed motivated his actions, for surely football was Vick's bread and butter. No, this does not lessen the reprehensibility of dogfighting, but refusing to let Vick off the hook after he has suffered for not totally renouncing his background sounds strangely like refusing to "forgive" a southern country boy who "done good up north" for still eating fried food and chitlins!

Before you rise to respond, please remember that the only reason this issue arose is because Vick was a famous NFL quarterback. Is it because the same can still be said about him today even after being convicted that the media continues to invest time and money to feature the complete downfall of this man? Well, guess what? Michael Vick is still viable. He's still famous, still NFL caliber, and still young enough to compete. Why shouldn't he be allowed to? Just because he's not the role model you and every person who claims to know how to behave ought to be yourselves on a daily basis? Come on! Vick is a bloody gladiator, not some blood-stained saint! His place is still on the football field competing with the best in the sport.

You say you don't understand "Vick apologists". I just wish there were as much positive historical evidence as there is negative historical evidence to justify not characterizing this whole affair as Vick destructionism.

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