The good news for Michael Vick this afternoon might be that the Virginia Beach police say he is "of no interest to us" as they investigate a shooting that occurred early this morning outside a restaurant where Vick reportedly had been celebrating his 30th birthday.
However, given the stringent protocols of Vick's reinstatement to football last year by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, it might not be a great thing for the Eagles' backup quarterback that a man identified by Virginia Beach General Hospital as Quanis Phillips, one of Vick's 2007 dogfighting codefendants, suffered a nonlifethreatening wound in the incident. Vick is not supposed to associate with anyone from his dogfighting days, after serving more than a year and a half in prison and being released on probation before his reinstatement last year.
Police spokesman Adam Bernstein said his department got a cell-phoned 911 call at 2:11 AM from someone who had heard an argument followed by a gunshot in the 4600 block of Columbus Street, in Virginia Beach's Town Center section. Officers arrived at the Guadalajara nightclub/restaurant and were told the victim had just gotten into a vehicle, to be driven to the hospital. The police stopped the vehicle, Bernstein, said, and transported the adult male victim by ambulance to the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to his leg.
Bernstein said the officers' report characterized the victim as "very uncooperative," which he said was also the case with other witnesses. Bernstein said all police knew about the shooter was that he was said to be a black male wearing a white tank top, who left the area in a white Cadillac Escalade.
Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press Urban Affairs columnist David Squires blogged today that sources told him there was a dispute between Phillips and Vick that involved the smearing of birthday cake, before the shooting.
"The story goes that Quanis threatened to smash birthday cake in Vick's face, or that he actually smashed the cake in Vick's face," Squires wrote.
"Another version is that someone smashed cake in Quanis' face -- or threatened to smash it in his face.
"Anyway, the confrontation moved outside -- where I'm told there were several still cameras and video cameras.
"Cooler heads did NOT prevail, and 'Q' was shot in the shopping center parking lot.
"It is unclear whether Vick was still around at the time of the shooting, but he was definitely not there when police arrived."
Another Daily Press report, posted later Friday, quoted Atlanta Falcons wideout Roddy White as saying he and Vick left the area long before the shooting.
"We were already gone by the time that stuff started happening, so I don't know what's going to go on with that or whatever, but we didn't have anything to do with it," White said on Friday during a break in the youth football camp being held Hampton University.
Bernstein said Vick is "of no interest to us" as police investigate.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is looking into the incident "to determine the facts." When Goodell allowed Vick to return to the NFL last July, one part of the letter announcing the decision said: "Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited."
Vick's agent, Joel Segal, did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily News. Vick's attorney Larry Woodward told the Associated Press that Vick was neither involved in nor present for the shooting.
The Eagles issued the following statement:
"We are aware of the incident that occurred in Virginia early this morning and are in the process of gathering all of the facts. Until then, we will not have any comment on this matter."