Vick's judgment to be questioned
The Philadelphia Inquirer Blog - Eagles
Vick's judgment to be questioned
Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Whether Michael Vick had any connection to the early Friday morning shooting that allegedly occurred outside a Virginia Beach party celebrating his 30th birthday or not -- and apparently he didn't, according to a Virginia Beach police spokesman -- what may be of more consequence for the Eagles quarterback is his team's and the NFL's reaction to his apparent involvement in the incident.
As of now, both the Eagles and the league are in the process of gathering facts from the shooting that injured one of the co-defendents in Vick's dogfighting case, Quanis Phillips.
The Eagles released the following statement Friday afternoon: "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."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded in an e-mail that the league was "looking into" the matter "to determine the facts."
Vick, of course, was put on a short leash after his return to the NFL last July after he served 18 months in a federal prison for dogfighting crimes. At the time of his reinstatement, commissioner Roger Goodell said, "Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited."
Said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie on the day the Eagles introduced the newly-signed Vick last August: "There is no room for error on Michael's part. There are no third chances and we know that. That's the thing, if this isn't fulfilled the way we expect it to be then that will be the end."
Vick has managed to avoid anything that could be labeled as erroneous since Goodell's warning. However, his judgment in regards to the location of his party, the number of invitees -- up to 300 people, according to various reports -- and his allegedly coming in contact with Phillips could come into question. Vick isn't supposed to associate with anyone from dogfighting circles, according to his probation.
As far as Vick's involvement in the shooting that left Phillips with a non-life-threatening leg wound, Virginia Beach police have "no information that [Vick] was involved in any way, shape or form," according to spokesman Adam Bernstein.
Vick's lawyer, Larry Woodward, told the Associated Press that Vick was not present at the Mexican restaurant where the festivities were held when the shooting occurred. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who was indentified at being at the party, told the Hampton Roads Daily Press that he and Vick had already left the party 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.
Daily Press columnist David Squires wrote Friday on his blog, citing sources, that Vick and Phillips had an earlier argument about the possible smearing of the birthday cake on Vick's face. Squires wrote that Phillips had threatened to smash the cake in Vick's face.
He then cited another version of the story that said the cake smearing happened -- or was going to happen -- to Phillips. Nevertheless, the dispute eventually moved outside, according to Squires, where the shooting occurred. Bernstein said that the victim and any other witnesses to the shooting have been "uncooperative."
A message left with Vick's agent, Joel Segal, was not immediately returned.