Sympathy for Vick

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive end Gavin Walls knows Michael Vick must pay the price for getting involved in illegal dogfighting.

But he still sympathizes with the Atlanta Falcons quarterback.

"He's a good friend of mine," Walls said yesterday. "We're from the same area and we played high school football against each other and stuff like that. I feel bad for him because they showed recognition of my (CFL career) from the beginning of the season back home and they showed his stuff doing bad.

"Of course, I'm not making the money he's making. But that's how things change. I feel bad for him and I wish I could talk to him but I'm a long ways from home. I wish the best for him but they (lawmakers) don't play around in Virginia, man."

Walls, who grew up in Hampton, Va., also refused to blame Vick's woes on falling in with a bad crowd.

"Nobody tells him how to spend his money and that's what he felt like was his investment -- the dogs," he said. "But when you do illegal things, it's a matter of time before they catch up, no matter how much money you've got.

You can't hide from breaking the law. It's one of those things where he should have been a little bit smarter. I don't know if that consisted of having the right or wrong crowd around him, that's up to him."

Dogfighting is apparently quite common in some areas.

"In Oklahoma, they do all that stuff -- cockfighting, dog fighting," Walls said. "But cockfighting ain't as vicious as dogs locking on another dog."

Dogfights average about an hour in length and can last up to two, ending when one dog cannot or will not continue.

"When I was young, my stepdad used to fight dogs but it was one of them things that I never got involved in it because I like animals a lot more than just putting them to the test for money," Walls said.

"It was just something around the neighbourhood. I was about nine years old when I saw one. But I knew it was nothing that I would be doing."

However, his stepdad did not do it for cash.

"He just wanted to prove to one of my uncles or something that it was a better dog," Walls said. "Guys got to drinking a little bit and got to proving something. But it wasn't like a big chain or anything like that."

Walls believes that Vick's NFL career is "probably ruined."

"Everybody back home in Hampton, Va., they're just waiting to see what the verdict's going to be," he said.

Like Walls, Blue Bombers defensive back Davin Bush said dog fights were commonplace near where he grew up in Miami.

"I heard about it lots but I never actually seen it," he said.

But Bush believes that Vick should get a second chance.

"Everybody makes mistakes and I feel like, if he did do what he did, he shouldn't be punished for six years or something like that," he said.

"Hopefully, it works out for him and we get to see him play again because he's a great player."


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