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Latest dog-fighting twist, HOF candidates and more

Posted: Thursday May 24, 2007 12:44PM; Updated: Thursday May 24, 2007 12:58PM
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Clinton Portis
Clinton Portis (above) showed his true colors by downplaying Michael Vick's reported connections to dog fighting.
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The story that won't go away: Michael Vick and the dogfights. I hate to belabor this ("Like hell you do," says F. Red) but new stuff keeps coming up. Now animal lovers on the Redskins, the firm of Portis & Samuels, is weighing in with its, "What's the big deal?" approach. This was brought to the fore by my E-mailer of the Week, Gabe of Tallahassee, who expressed outrage at the indifference these two guys showed ... actually acceptance, rather than indifference. The Skins have issued an apology. So has Portis. So has Samuels. Hey, fellas. Hey, Redskins. Take you're apologies and stick 'em.

See, the mistake we make is equating athletic excellence with excellence on a human level. It always amazed me that many of my own teammates were people for whom I had absolutely no respect, as far as their ideas and feelings about areas of life that really mattered to me. I could detect no recognizable ideals from these people, nothing that would make me ever want to have anything to do with them off the field. But in the arena itself I had the utmost respect. Some of them operated from a level of absolute fearlessness and courage. I'd trust myself to them implicitly, while the action was going on. So ... much as I respect Portis and Samuels as players ... well, you know the rest.

Every so often, when a guy lays out an opponent with a blatant cheap shot, I revive my old rant about how, if I were commissioner, I'd institute a form of Old Testament justice, you know, an eye for an eye. Put a man out of a game and you, too, get ejected. If he's out for a week because of the dirty play, then you have to sit out for the same length of time. Out for the season, and so is the perpetrator, and if, heaven forbid, it costs someone a career, well then, see ya around, Jack. I'm sure you'll have fun with your PlayStation. This used to draw some interested mail.

"Surely you can't be serious?"
"I am."
"What are ya, nuts?"
"Yeah, that's me."
"Seriously now..."
"Seriously now, I mean it, seriously now..."

So the other day I bounced this next one off my most dedicated and loyal audience (and thank you E-mailer Phil of Aberdeen, N.C., for pointing out The Redhead's special attributes). This is what I treated her to, and watched with interest as her expression changed from mild amusement to genuine horror:

If the NFL wants to impose a penalty, let 'em send Vick and his cousin into the pit, stripped to the waist. Let them go at it with hands and teeth until one is mangled beyond recognition or one of the handlers calls the other guy off and concedes the contest.

"If you write that," she said, "I'll be checking visiting times at the hospital they'll take you to." OK, OK, relax already. Nobody's writing it.

Michael of San Francisco's Sunset District reminds me that Sports Illustrated's cover piece was on Ultimate Fighting, and 1) how do I draw a distinction between that and the dog pit? And 2) what do I think of it in general?

Dogs are forced into the ring. So are bulls in the bullfight ring. They die, after undergoing torture. No one forces the guys to compete in Ultimate Fighting. If they want to prove themselves against each other, fine, except don't ask me to watch it. And that goes for MMA as well.

"What's MMA?" The Flaming Redhead asks.

"Mixed Martial Arts."

"Who's Marsha Artz?" she asks.

OK, this is serious stuff. Let's cut out the horseplay. Millions are spent to watch this stuff, maybe even billions. Not sure. It combines boxing and jujitsu and judo.

"You said what?" the wife asks. "It combines Judaism? You mean like Ultimate Seders?"

That's absolutely insulting.

"Reminds me of the ones with your family."

OK, I'm going to cut this off right now. It's getting out of hand, and The Redhead is into her Don Rickles shtick again. Andrew, some sane topics, please.

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