It’s Open Season on Black Athletes

By Sinclere Lee

First it was Michael Vick, then Marion Jones, next, O.J. again, now Barry Bonds: it appears it’s open season on Black athletes! However, it’s hard to have sympathy for these highflying Blacks because while they soared in the eyes of their white fans, they didn't do anything to help their own Black community.

Now, Michael Vick has turned himself in to authorities on Monday to get a head start on serving his sentence for running a dogfighting ring, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Michael Vick leaves court in Richmond, Viriginia, in August after pleading guilty to dogfighting charges.

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback is scheduled to be sentenced on December 10 on a federal conspiracy charge of bankrolling the dogfighting operation.

Vick, 27, voluntarily turned himself in around noon, said Kevin Trevillan of the Marshals Service, and is being held at Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, until the sentencing hearing.

The quarterback, who has been suspended indefinitely by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, faces 12 to 18 months in prison on the charge.

Vick pleaded guilty in August after three associates admitted their own roles in the operation and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

"From the beginning, Mr. Vick has accepted responsibility for his actions and his self-surrender further demonstrates that acceptance," Vick's attorney, Billy Martin, said in a statement.

"Michael wants to again apologize to everyone who has been hurt in this matter and he thanks all of the people who have offered him and his family prayers and support during this time," Martin's statement said.

On September 25, a Virginia grand jury indicted Vick and the three co-defendants — Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, Georgia; and Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton, Virginia — on state charges of running a dogfighting ring at Vick's home outside Newport News.

The Surry County grand jury brought two charges against the four men: one count of unlawfully torturing and killing dogs and one of promoting dogfights. Each is a felony charge that could result in a five-year prison term.

In addition, Taylor faces three additional counts of unlawful torture and killing of dogs.

A hearing in that case is set for November 27, but Vick does not have to be in court at that time. In September, Vick was put under tight restrictions by the federal court after he tested positive for marijuana use.

Vick tested positive for the drug on September 13, a court document from the Eastern District of Virginia shows.

As a result, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson ordered Vick to "submit to any method of testing required by the pretrial services officer or the supervising officer for determining whether the defendant is using a prohibited substance."

Those methods could include random drug testing, a remote alcohol testing system "and/or any form of prohibited substance screening or testing," the order said.

You can stick a fork in Barry Bonds because he’s done. Donald Fehr, head of the players union said, "We must remember, as the U.S. attorney stated in his press release, that an indictment contains only allegations, and in this country every defendant, including Barry Bonds, is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless and until such time as he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Bud Selig, baseball commissioner: "I have yet to see the details of this indictment, and, while everyone in America is considered innocent until proven guilty, I take this indictment very seriously and will follow its progress."

Mike Rains, Bonds' attorney: "It goes without saying that we look forward to rebutting these unsupported charges in court."

Tony Fratto, spokesman for President Bush: "The president is very disappointed to hear this."

Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller: "If he's cleared of everything and found innocent, he should go into the Hall of Fame. If he's guilty, he'll never make it."

Ken Harrelson, former outfielder and current broadcaster with the Chicago White Sox: "This is not going to hurt baseball. If Barry Bonds thinks he is bigger than the game, he's wrong."

Statement from the San Francisco Giants: "This is a very sad day. For many years, Barry Bonds was an important member of our team and is one of the most talented baseball players of his era. These are serious charges. Now that the judicial process has begun, we look forward to this matter being resolved in a court of law."

Joe Garagiola Sr., former player and broadcaster: "The first thought for me is about his family and his kids. The picture I remember of him is hugging his son. What does Barry say to him now? I'm going to pray for him. This goes way beyond baseball."

Barry Bonds, baseball's all-time leading home run hitter, was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on charges of perjury and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about using steroids.

The indictment in San Francisco probably ends the 43-year-old slugger's career three months after he broke Hank Aaron's home run record under a cloud of suspicion about whether Bonds had taken performance-enhancing drugs. Now Bonds — a hulking symbol of an era in baseball that featured booming home runs and questions about whether steroids were tainting the game's integrity — could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

The indictment stems from a four-year probe into steroid use by athletes who got supplements from a firm known as the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO). Bonds, formerly an outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, faces four perjury counts and one count of obstructing justice stemming from his testimony to a federal grand jury in December 2003.

During that grand jury appearance, the indictment says, Bonds repeatedly was asked whether he had received anabolic steroids, human growth hormone and other performance-enhancers from a longtime friend — and whether Bonds had used such substances. The indictment recounts more than a dozen denials by Bonds during his testimony and alleges that they were lies.

The indictment also reveals Bonds tested positive for "anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances" that were recovered by BALCO investigators.

Once the golden girl in track, now the fans of Marion Jones say she should give back her five 2000 Olympic medals, or the Olympics should force her to return them.

"Jones' guilt admission shows that not everything is a victory, especially when people control their own lives," says Weiner, who assisted in the creation of the World and U.S. Anti-Doping Agencies. "But we've made huge progress given the fact that under the various forms of pressure Jones has to admit guilt, including now telling the truth to the court to which she had lied. That revelation would not have happened ten years ago.

Now, with WADA and USADA, there is no such thing as an excuse. Doping is illegal in sport and in life, and it will be prosecuted under law and by the sports committees."

"Everyone who assisted and supported her drug use, including her coach, should also be prosecuted," Weiner urged. "The Jones guilty plea and likely jail sentence should be message to all other sports stars and children who follow their lead (a million youth illegally use steroids each year) that drugs are not only harmful, but illegal. They can destroy lives through deteriorating health as well as punishment through the legal system."

Well, it’s O.J. Simpson again arriving at a courthouse last week for a hearing to determine whether he will face trial on charges he and others robbed two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room.

The former football star wore a gray suit, white shirt and dark sunglasses as he made his way into the court surrounded by a contingent of lawyers and about a dozen uniformed officers.

The first witness called was Bruce Fromong, one of the two dealers Simpson is accused of robbing. Fromong said he met Simpson in the early 1990s and worked with him for years, promoting and selling his memorabilia. He dismissed Alfred Beardsley, the other dealer Simpson is accused of robbing, as a Simpson groupie.

"He would say he worked for O.J. He liked to drop the name," Fromong testified.

Simpson also will be facing years of doubts and questions about his 1995 acquittal on murder charges during the two-day hearing. In Simpson's mind, according to a close friend, the latest charges are rooted in Simpson being found not guilty in the 1994 slayings of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

"He believes he's being tried for that now," said Tom Scotto, 45, a North Miami Beach, Fla., auto body shop owner.

Scotto’s wedding brought the men arrested in the Sept. 13 incident together. Simpson and co-defendants Clarence "C.J." Stewart and Charles Ehrlich face 12 charges, including kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy and coercion.

A kidnapping conviction could result in a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. An armed robbery conviction could mean mandatory prison time.

"He's taking this serious," Scotto said. "It is serious."

No one disputes that Stewart, Ehrlich and former co-defendants Michael McClinton, Walter Alexander and Charles Cashmore went with Simpson and California collectibles broker Tom Riccio to meet Beardsley and Fromong in a casino hotel room.

Simpson, 60, has maintained that he wanted to retrieve items he claimed had been stolen from him by a former agent, including the suit he wore the day he was acquitted in Los Angeles.

The case is likely to pivot on Simpson's contention that he didn't ask anyone to bring guns, that he didn't know anyone had guns and that no guns were displayed.

Jones is now admitting using steroids for the 2000 Olympics where she won five medals including three gold, and she now states she lied to the courts and to U.S. and world sports doping authorities.

Vick was also ordered to stay home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., "or as directed by the pretrial services officer or supervising officer," the order said. He was to be electronically monitored during that time.

Vick must participate in substance abuse therapy and mental health counseling "if deemed advisable by the pretrial services officer or supervising officer" at his own expense, the order said.

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