His story started in the Tidewater region of Virginia, Newport News to be exact. A depressing place, once synonymous with the ship building might of America, with more than its share of poverty, gang activity and criminality. Vick only left the first behind when he headed off to Blacksburg, Virginia to play for Virginia Tech. Prior to Michael Vick becoming "Mike Vick" the Hokie program was most well known for the rampant criminality of its players. A little success often tends to obscure a heap of disrepute and so it was for both Vick and Virginia Tech. Each used the other to their benefit and didn't ask too many questions, like a marriage of convenience. The rising tide of the celebrity athlete, in this case Vick, raised the profile of the middling polytechnical university and moved it from a remote and isolated place that few people had heard about, and fewer still cared about, to the national scene.
Vick moved onto the National Football League and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute began to leverage its new found, if modest, notoriety to enlarge its enrollment and influence in the state legislature. All this paid off handsomely with its inclusion into the ACC in the fiasco that was expansion. While success may obscure the more unsavory aspects of a place or person it there all the while, even if under the surface. Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver had this to say to the Roanoke Times in response to the question of how it would handle its relationship (and the various places that bear his name on campus) with their dog fighting erstwhile football star:
"He earned that when he was here," Weaver said Monday, "before he was ever involved in these activities."
Pragmatic, if not principled. Only one flaw in that statement, it probably isn't true. There have been rumors that Michael Vick was involved in dog fighting while he was at Virginia Tech for a long time and if that is true everyone there either knew about it or should have known about it. There were also rumors that Frank Beamer himself discussed with Vick that he needed to cease his involvement in the dog fighting scene. When dead dogs started showing up in trash bins and dumped on the side of the road some people became concerned and there wasn't much mystery about where they came from. Not convinced? There is a seminar for Commonwealth's attorneys regarding gang activity and the prosecution of gang related crimes. This seminar includes a slide show to illustrate gang related clothing and other paraphernalia. I was told that one of the photos is of Michael and Marcus Vick dressed in full gang regalia and flashing gang hand signs. In the background of this photo are well known gang members from the Tidewater area. Local law enforcement officers have long suspected that there are former members of the Hokie football team that were gang members in the Tidewater region. So the Vicks and their collection of Tidewater thugs are not the only filthy connection with Blacksburg.
If you want to get an idea of the level of depravity and sadism required to be a dog fighting promoter like Vick you can read this article in the Washington Post. I'm not sure what kind of sick piece of garbage you have to be to actually enjoy watching two animals tear each other apart at the behest of other miscreants like yourself. You can't have much respect for life or any sort of common decency. Now after creating this phony and feculent hero the sports business hucksters at ESPN can pretend to return to some moral high ground by jumping on the story after it was already too clear Vick had descended into a moral sewer. Just like Virginia Tech, the Atlanta Falcons and, to a lesser extent, the entire NFL they can ignore the fact that they had little interest in digging too deep into the vile life of Michael Vick while he was helping them sell tickets and advertising. While Vick was the face of the league while on the cover of the 2004 Madden video game he was butchering and torturing dogs in his free time. Now the ACC can add the odium of having one of the biggest modern degenerates in sports history with a facility named after him at Virginia Tech and his jersey number hanging in a place of honor at Lane Stadium.