Vick the Victim: NYT Article Paints QB As 'Failed by Friends'

See incredible Roberts double-standard Update at foot.

Michael Vick, victim. That's how Selena Roberts's article in today's New York Times largely portrays the NFL QB accused of involvement with dogfighting. The article's headline sets the tone: Vick Is Trapped in His Circle of Friends.

Excerpts:

  • The crooked circle Michael Vick drew around himself has tripped and squeezed him.
  • The first to fail Vick was Davon Boddie, a cousin and personal chef. His marijuana possession charge in April led police to a white house with black buildings behind it on Moonlight Road in Surry County, Va. [Darn that Davon. If only he hadn't been busted on the pot charge, Vick might have been able to continue -- allegedly -- killing dogs that didn't make the grade.]
  • The first to flip on Vick was Tony Taylor, a fast friend from Newport News, Va., with an arrest record for drug trafficking and a traffic record for reckless driving.
  • The latest to betray Vick is Quanis Phillips, a friend since middle school. Along with Purnell Peace, Phillips, who once served jail time on a drug charge, accepted a plea deal on Friday and implicated Vick as the owner and operator of a dogfighting ring. [Does Roberts believe in the law of omerta?]
  • Group dynamics can collapse under pressure. Vick has been abandoned, left to contemplate a plea deal that could imprison him and ruin his N.F.L. career.

What is Roberts' point? Should Vick's friends, who presumably had all the QB's tough background but none of his advantages, have kept their mouths shut, prevented the truth from coming out, and done their time in order to protect him? It's hard for me to see Vick, with all the stardom and the $130 million contract that went with it, as the victim here. All he had to do was one thing: not participate in dogfighting.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault, dear Selena, lies not in the underlings, but in the star.

UPDATE: Roberts was all for snitching . . . in the Duke lacrosse case. Allahpundit at Hot Air picked up my item, and fleshed it out with links to Roberts' articles on the Duke case, including one in which she wrote: ""[W]hy is it so hard to gather the facts? Why is any whisper of a detail akin to snitching? . . . The stigma as a traitor — and the threat of repercussion and isolation — is more powerful than the instinct to do what's right. Does President Brodhead dare to confront the culture behind the lacrosse team's code of silence or would he fear being ridiculed as a snitch?"

Snitching on Duke players: good. Snitching on Vick: "betrayal." Let's see, what could be the difference between the two cases?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.