So What Exactly Is Vick’s Relationship With Nike?

One of the odder stories of the past couple of weeks concerns Michael Vick and his amazing disappearing Nike contract. What exactly possessed Vick’s endorsement agent, Blue Equity Sports Television Managing Director Mike Principe, to announce this past Wednesday that Vick “just became a Nike client” and “has a new deal” with the company?

Michael Vick

Could it have been a way of testing the waters; a “What if?” type scenario to see if the villagers would take up pitchforks and boycott Nike products if Vick reentered their orbit? Or is Nike simply paying Vick under the table to wear their stuff, thus avoiding the wrath of PETA? Read more…

Ruh Roh: Could Vick’s Reinstatement Be Today?

As Kay said in “Godfather II”: “I should have known that you were too clever for them, Michael.” The LOS ANGELES TIMES is reporting that Michael Vick may not have to wait until Week 6 to find out of he’s back in the NFL. He could be back today. To quote a great cartoon philosopher: “Zoinks!”

Michael Vick

Roger Goodell is reportedly preparing to huddle with the Philadelphia quarterback today, and could decide to set Vick free for the Eagles’ opener on Sept. 13 at Carolina. A dramatic turn of events from just, well, yesterday, when it was unclear if Goodell would let Vick play in any NFL Reindeer Games at all. Read more…

Speed Read: Hey Kids! The Vick Circus Is In Town!

I know you thought Thursday would never come, but it’s here. And yes, I told you that if you were good, I’d take you to the Cirque du Vick, that dramatic mix of circus arts and occasional football plays scheduled for tonight at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s Michael Vick’s return to the NFL, making this not just another exhibition game no one will watch, but must-see entertainment. Hey, I don’t make the rules. I just observe.

And there’s plenty of excitement in store, including a pro-Vick march and rally by the NAACP, possible disruption by PETA and other anti-Vick factions, and of course the always-reliable Philly fans themselves (hey, who threw that brick!?). Unfortunately, the ride depicted in the photo above left and in the video below will not be available. The guy in a Vick jersey riding a puppy is either a tragic coincidence, or an example of a man who majored in Irony and wants to put that degree to use for once.

The YouTube description says it was shot at an amusement park in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and that’s all I know about it. Except that what he’s doing is just wrong on so many levels. But it fits right in with the festivities here on Michael Vick Day, so climb aboard, kids! Just don’t let Steeler Poodle see you.

Steeler Poodle

(Steeler Poodle sez: “Big Ben is innocent!”)

Eagles head coach Andy Reid has said that Vick will play with the first team at some point during the first three quarters tonight, but in what capacity and for how long is still shrouded in mystery. Andy, you sly minx. Presenting Vick tonight after only two weeks of practice serves no actual physical purpose, since he’ll be sitting out at least the first five games of the regular season. But by throwing him into the mix tonight you get the majority of the controversy out of the way early; like a first kiss. But beware, Mike; Philly fans like to slip in the tongue.

It’ll be Vick’s first appearance in an NFL game since Dec. 31, 2006; which was also at Lincoln Financial. And he’ll start today in federal bankruptcy court, which is always fun. Then it’s home to feed the dogs, and then on to the game. Yeah, it’s unknown if Vick has truly seen the light and is genuinely remorseful over his dog-killing past. But what we do know is that all the publicity surrounding his incarceration hasn’t helped dogs one bit. The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has reported 400 investigations of dogfighting operations so far this year; almost twice as many as in all of 2008.

But in case any of you fans are actually interested in the game, please note that former Eagles three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tra Thomas returns to Philadelphia for the first time since joining the Jaguars. And there may even be a Brian Westbrook sighting tonight, but don’t expect to see him for long. If you’re not a local, the game will be shown on NFL Network tonight at 11 p.m. (ET), and again on Friday at 4 p.m. (ET).

Meanwhile, at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the MLB Players’ Union got a favorable ruling on the infamous 104-player PED list, and may soon have it back in hand where it will be carried forthwith to the nearest shredder.

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that agents had no right to seize baseball’s anonymous drug-testing results from 2003. The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a victory for the players’ union, which has argued for years to have the results of the 104 players who allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 returned.

“This was an obvious case of deliberate overreaching by the government in an effort to seize data as to which it lacked probable cause,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in the 9-2 decision.

The records, seized by government agents in April 2004 as part of the BALCO investigation into Barry Bonds, has been the subject of legal wrangling ever since. If the case doesn’t end up in the Supreme Court, the list will be returned to the players’ union, where it will presumably be destroyed. The court ruled that federal agents trampled on players’ protections against unreasonable searches and seizures in taking the list, which included Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, who were among those whose names were leaked.

The American Defenders of New Hampshire were supposed to play the New Jersey Jackals in a Can-Am pro baseball game on Tuesday, but there was one problem: They faced a lockout. But it isn’t the kind of lockout you’re used to hearing about; the City of Nashua locked the stadium because the team was behind in their rent. The Defenders — formerly known as the Nashua Pride — owe fire, police and rent bills totaling about $45,000 according to mayor Donnalee Lozeau. And to make sure the teams didn’t scale the fence and play the game anyway, Lozeau had city workers park a tractor over home plate. This is true. Fun fact: The Defenders team president is Dan Duquette, former general manager of the Boston Red Sox. They’re now on the road, but as of today, the stadium impasse has not been resolved.

Links to read while sharing Pop Tarts with your gorilla:

  • Above is a photo of a very toasted Billy Gillispie, who was arrested by Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, police early this morning for DUI. Yep, that’s the former Kentucky Wildcats basketball coach, who was fired in a contract dispute this past March and has since sued the university for breach of contract. Gillispie and a passenger were driving a white 2009 Mercedes with Texas tags around 2:45 a.m. on US 127 when someone reported seeing the car driving erratically. Gillispie was arrested and charged with DUI, and reportedly refused to take a breathalizer or blood alcohol test. Gillispie had also been arrested for DUI in Oklahoma in 1999.
  • Allen Iverson may be a Grizzly before you know it. Memphis confirmed that they’ve made him an offer, but will AI go through with it? I can’t picture him in Memphis; it doesn’t seem like a good fit. Iverson touring Graceland is just too bizarre.
  • Not sure if this happened before or after David Ortiz’s walkoff home run gave the Red Sox a 3-2 win over the White Sox on Wednesday, but Boston released Brad Penny, who was 7-8. Penny, 1-6 over his past 11 starts, is working on the one-year, $5 million contract he signed during the offseason.

  • In naming Shaun Hill as the team’s No. 1 quarterback on Tuesday, 49ers coach Mike Singletary praised him in the way that only Mike Singletary can. In other words, it’s our baffling NFL quote of the Year so far: “There’s nothing pretty about Shaun. Everything’s ugly: His drop … his release … all these things. But what’s beautiful about him is his heart. I want to go down with a guy like that.” Season tickets still available!
  • Was watching Brad Cooper on “The Tonight Show” last night, and he almost revealed who will be taking up the Mr. T role in the new “A Team” movie that’s on the way to theaters (Cooper will play Faceman, with Liam Neeson as Hannibal). Cooper wouldn’t spill the other big role, but according to several sources, BA Baracus will be played by Rampage Jackson.

Will you watch the Eagles-Jaguars game on NFL Network because of Vick?

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Yes, Your Dog *CAN* Has A Vick Jersey For Xmas

One of David Letterman’s funnier running gags lately is his “coverage” of the Michael Vick story, in which he shows video of Vick throwing a practice pass for the Eagles, then cuts to footage of a ball hitting various animals (Wednesday night’s was a penguin). No, reminders of Vick’s sordid past are not going away anytime soon, and as we noted on Tuesday, the Eagles and the NFL aren’t helping matters any.

When we pointed out that shoppers on the NFL and Eagles’ official sites could, apparently, buy No. 7 Vick jerseys for their dogs, some readers raised up with the indignation of a town hall health care agitator. You accused me of making it up. But the NFL has now confirmed it — custom Eagles jerseys with Vick’s name and number *ARE* available for Fido. And what’s more, the league has no problem with it.

Read more…

Who Would Poison Pregnant Playmate’s Puppies?

The EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE has the sad story of Adam Archuleta’s girlfriend’s Chihuahuas being poisoned for no good reason.

Jennifer Walcott

Archuleta’s girlfriend is former PLAYBOY playmate Jennifer Walcott, and “the dogs were poisoned with strychnine the day after Christmas while staying with Archuleta’s mother in Chandler.” A heartless soul laid out strychnine-laced meatballs in the backyard, leading to the demise of the dogs.

Police have no leads on the culprit, but Walcott has endured a determined cyber-stalker in the past, so that might provide a clue to the killings.

Walcott is currently eight months pregnant, and we have pics after the jump. Read more…

Blog-A-Roni: Super Bowl Partying For Fun & Profit

• BUSTED COVERAGE looks over one piece of eye candy hoping to make a hefty profit attending this year’s Super Bowl parties.

Super Bowl party girl in toilet

• DEADSPIN’s Will Leitch could use the lovely lady above as his ticket into some Super shindigs of his own.

• MJD of YAHOO! SPORTS gives the over/under on how many ridiculous Big Game bets can be squeezed into one blog post.

• STRIKE ZONES AND END ZONES snaps a shot of a young Bill Belichick learning the coaching ropes in his short shorts.

Bill Belichick Giants short shorts

• JOE SPORTS FAN howls at the testimony of other victims of the Giant lamb castrator.

Read more…

Vick Can Return To NFL In 2009 After Receiving Two Year Sentence

THIS GIVES NEW MEANING TO THE WORDS *DOG POUND*: Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison today. The Feds had recommended 12-18 months, but because prosecutors indicated that Vick had not cooperated fully with them per his plea agreement, judge Henry E. Hudson sentenced Vick to nearly two years.

Michael Vick Fan

The ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: “U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson said he believed Vick had been less than candid in admitting to killing pitbulls that did not test well as fighting dogs.

The judge also noted that Vick had given contradictory statements to officials regarding his drug use while out on bond. Vick tested positive for marijuana in September shortly after entering a plea agreement.“The earliest Vick can get out is May, 2009, which is also about the time current Falcons coach Bobby Petrino will be taking a high profile college coaching job.