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Michael Vick speaks out about dogfighting (sort of) at Washington church

October 1, 2009 |  4:45 pm

Speaking at a Baptist church in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, quarterback Michael Vick admitted that he returned to his Newport News, Va., home every week to indulge his dogfighting hobby while he was making millions playing for the Atlanta Falcons.  "For what reason, I don't know to this day," he told the assembled crowd. "Something so pointless."

But for all his harsh words about the blood sport (if you can call it a sport) of dogfighting, Vick didn't make much mention of the dogs themselves -- though the Associated Press notes that he referred to himself as "an animal rights advocate."  Vick was in Washington alongside Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, the group with which the football star has partnered on its anti-dogfighting campaign.

"I used poor judgment," he told the crowd about his participation in and financing of the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting ring. "I had people around me who didn't have my best interests at heart."  

Of course, Tuesday's speech wasn't the first time he made only passing references to the dogs he tortured while operating Bad Newz.  Rather than speaking directly about the animals he hurt, the football star seems to be opting for broad statements about the importance of making good choices and associating with upright citizens.  "Who knows what could have happened at 3 in the morning when you're fighting dogs?" he asked his audience in Washington. "It's almost like being involved in the streets, dealing drugs, in criminal life."  (Almost like being involved in criminal life?  Really?  Seems a lot like being involved in criminal life to us.)

Vick played in his first official NFL game since 2006 last weekend (prior to that, he'd only played in exhibition games for his new team, the Philadelphia Eagles, because of the terms of his conditional reinstatement in the league).  And, at least to hear him tell it, his decisionmaking abilities on the field are far superior to those off the field. 

"I think I played fairly well," he told USA Today. "I think I made good decisions with the plays that I had. I missed one ball across the middle. I feel like I could have hit that. I guess I just have to make sure I keep my arm warm on the sideline so, when I go in there, I'm not cold. ... Other than that, I made good decisions with the ball. My focus primarily was to be smart and not turn the ball over."

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-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: Associated Press

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