While an ESPN report claims Michael Vick’s pending guilty plea will not include any admission of participation in dog killings or gambling, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Matt Kempner had the pleasure of speaking with Vick’s estranged father.
Michael Boddie, in two sometimes tearful interviews with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week, said some time around 2001 his son staged dogfights in the garage of the family’s home in Newport News, Va. Boddie also said Vick kept fighting dogs in the family’s backyard, including injured ones ” “bit up, chewed up, exhausted” ” that the father nursed back to health.
Boddie, dismissed the idea that Vick’s longtime friends were the main instigators of the dogfighting operation.
“I wish people would stop sugarcoating it,” Boddie said. “This is Mike’s thing. And he knows it.”
He “likes it, and he has the capital to have a set up like that.”
Daniel Meachum, an attorney for Vick, said his client never mentioned situations described by Boddie, nor discussed Boddie in relation to dog activities. “It’s a disgrace Mr. Boddie, who chose for nearly 22 years not to be part of Mike’s life, would at this time seek to capitalize on his son’s current situation.”
Boddie said he and the Atlanta Falcons quarterback have had a volatile relationship for years and that his son has refused to speak with him directly for the last 2 1/2 half months. Boddie said he is speaking out because he’s been hurt by his son and wife’s failure over the years to correct what he considers inaccurate media reports that Vick grew up without his father present.
“I’ve been drug through the mud,” Boddie said.
He said he intends to write a damaging book about more of what he knows.
Boddie, 45, lives in a Duluth apartment that his son has paid the rent on for the last three years. Vick, who has a $130 million contract with the Falcons, also gives him a couple of hundred dollars every week or two, the father said.
Boddie wanted more. Two years ago, he said, he asked Vick for $1 million, spread out over 12 years, enough to keep him comfortable for the rest of his life. Vick declined, the father said. In recent weeks, Boddie asked Vick, through an assistant, for $700,000 to live on.
Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock is hoping the NFL and society will give Vick a second chance after he serves his time, adding “I also hope that our modern-day civil-rights leaders stake out a consistent position on compassion. We can’t demand it for Michael Vick and deny it to those we don’t like, especially when it comes to high-profile public figures such as Don Imus.”
Big Sexy fails to mention, naturally, that no one is denying Imus an opportunity to earn a living in his chosen trade (in fact, he’s said to be negotiating a new deal with ABC Radio). The broadcasting field, unlike professional football, isn’t monopolized.
That said, I can understand why Whitlock would hold out hope for the rehabilitation of Vick or Imus. After all, it’s not as though either have been convicted of wearing baggy pants.