Monday, May 25, 2009
The Athlete-Pit Bull Connection
DogsBite.org - A 2007 New York Times article written by Selena Roberts comments on the NFL's pet problem. The scene, she writes, has become the "puppy mill for pit-bull lore." It's hardly a leap to understand why football players closely identify with pit bulls, the ultimate canine warrior. Rhonda Evans, a University of Louisiana-Lafayette professor, is also quoted in the article: "[Pit bulls] fight to the death...Turning away is considered the response of a cur."
Roberts then calls out NFL and NBA athletes involved in pit bull "incidents" over the past year. Yet this combination stretches back much further than 2006.1 In 1987, Sports Illustrated -- a sports magazine -- published the most extensive article about America's "pit bull problem" to date. In the opening paragraph, writer E.M. Swift nails the athlete-pit bull connection by quoting a dog breeder and trainer, "They're athletes. They're wrestlers. They're dead game."
In light of the long-term link between athletes and pit bulls and the recent attack involving James Harrison's pit bull upon his 2-year old son, DogsBite.org has gathered a list2 of athletes and related pit bull incidents. It should also be noted that the pit bull's "relentless" icon serves as a sports metaphor ("he grabs onto it like a pit bull, shaking it, ripping it"), as well as a tough politician metaphor -- despite the fact that many politicians are too afraid to regulate the breed.
Pit Bull Incidents:
- Plaxico Burress - In May 2013, a pit bull owned by Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress attacked Gina Stasinos who claimed in her December lawsuit she suffered "serious and permanent injuries to her head, body, and limbs" in the attack.
Eric Edholm, "Report: Plaxico Burress’ pitbull attacked neighbor, interfered with her social life," Yahoo Sports, December 2, 2013 (sports.yahoo.com)
- Taiwan Jones - In September 2013, two pit bull-mixes owned by Oakland Raiders cornerback Taiwan Jones killed a pet chihuahua being walked by its owner. Jones claimed to be a "deep animal lover," despite owning dogs bred to destroy other dogs.
"Katie Nelson, "Officials: Dogs owned by Oakland Raiders cornerback Taiwan Jones attack, kill neighbor's dog," Chico Enterprise Record, September 21, 2013 (www.chicoer.com)
- Joey Porter - In July 2011, four pit bull-mastiff mix dogs owned by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Joey Porter got loose and killed a neighbor's dog. In 2006, similar type dogs of Porter's killed a miniature horse after escaping his Pennsylvania home."Joey Porter's dogs get loose, kill neighbor's dog," Bakersfield.com, July 8, 2011 (www.bakersfield.com)
- Kyacey Uscola - In May 2010, mixed martial arts fighter Kyacey "Ice Cold" Uscola was attacked by a pack pf pit bulls. He said, I "got chunks bitten out of my shoulder, hip, hamstring and the uh money one ... bit through my urethra" -- pierced his penis.Nick Thomas, "Kyacey Uscola Attacked by Pit Bulls Outside the TUF House," May 23, 2010 (www.bloddyelbow.com)
- Delanie Walker - In April 2010, San Francisco 49's tight end Delanie Walker was cited for having a "dangerous dog" after one of his pit bulls attacked his pool service man. Police and neighbors said that problems with Walker's pit bulls are not new.Michael Moore, "49ers' tight end cited for dangerous dog," Morgan Hill Times, April 2, 2010 (www.morganhilltimes.com)
- Derrick Burgess - In October 2009, New England Patriots linebacker Derrick Burgess was sued by neighbors who believe their children might be attacked by his pit bulls. The dogs previously killed the neighbor's kittens and attacked their dog.Chip Washington, "Neighbors claim NFL linebacker's pit bulls are dangerous," WMC-TV-5, October 29, 2009 (www.wmctv.com)
- James Harrison - In May 2009, the 2-year old son of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison -- voted NFL's defensive player of the year -- was attacked by Harrison's pit bull. The toddler suffered a severe leg injury and was hospitalized"Steelers Star Harrison's Dog Attacks Son, Will Be Put Down," ThePittsburghChannel.com, May 22, 2009 (www.thepittsburghchannel.com)
- Steve Foley - In June 2008, former Houston Texan linebacker Steve Foley was charged with a felony after his loose pit bulls attacked Twana Schulz causing severe injury. The pit bulls also killed the puppy Schulz had been holding in her hands.Associated Press, "Former Texan Steve Foley charged after dog attack," The Dallas News, June 5, 2008 (www.dallasnews.com)
- Antonio Pierce - In February 2008, Giant's linebacker Antonio Pierce was charged with animal neglect after one of his pit bulls escaped his property and was found to be sick. At the time, Pierce was in Phoenix preparing for Super Bowl XLII.Ralph Vacchiano, "Antonio Pierce cited on pit bull charge," NYDailyNews.com, February 15, 2008 (www.nydailynews.com)
- Jerome Mathis - In December 2007, Houston Texan receiver Jerome Mathis received a misdemeanor citation after his pit bull chewed through a fence and behaved aggressively. At the time, Mathis was also caring for three pit bull puppies.Associated Press, "Mathis cited for loose pit bulls," ESPN NFL, December 12, 2007 (sports.espn.go.com)
- Roy Jones Jr. - Also in December, boxer Roy Jones Jr. admitted he'd allowed his pit bulls to fight on his property. He later said the quote was taken of context. At the time, Jones owned a cockfighting ring in Louisiana, the last state to allow the bloodsport.Ian Begley, "Roy Jones: I let my dogs fight," NYDailyNews.com, December 30, 2007 (www.dailynews.com)
- Gerald Cavlan - In August 2007, a 17-month undercover BBC investigation of dogfighting aired that caught County Tyrone Gaelic football star Gerald Cavlan boasting about a dogfighting club he co-founded called "Bulldog Sanctuary Kennels."3"A dogfighting case rocks Gaelic football," Animal People, September 2007 (www.animalpeoplenews.org)
- Michael Vick - In April 2007, authorities searched the Virginia property owned by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. He was later sentenced to 23 months in prison for running a "cruel and inhumane" dogfighting ring and lying about it."Virginia dogfighting case embarrasses pro football," Animal People, June 2007 (www.animalpeoplenews.org)
- Jonathan Babineaux - In February 2007, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux killed an aggressive pit bull owned by his girlfriend. Following an investigation, the DA dismissed the felony-animal cruelty charge against Babineaux.Associated Press, "Cruelty Charges Tossed Against Babineaux," ESPN.com, November 7, 2007 (www.espn.com)
- Tank Johnson - In December 2006, a cache of firearms was discovered at the home of Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson. The raid followed complaints from neighbors that Johnson had neglected the pit bulls he kept in his backyard.Animal Abuse Case Details: Terry Johnson, Pet-abuse.com
- Ron Artest - In October 2006, animal control officers were called to Sacramento Kings Ron Artest's home after the report of a "loose pit bull." Between July 2006 and February 2007, officers responded to 7 complaints about his dogs.Dorothy Korber and Christina Jewett, "Artest's dog woes aren't new," ScrippsNews, February 9, 2007 (public.shns.com)
- Joey Porter - In September 2006, two dogs belonging to Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter -- a pit bull and a mastiff -- got loose from his home and killed a miniature horse at a nearby farm. The dogs had allegedly escaped their 6-foot fenced yard.Mike Bucsko, "Joey Porter's dogs get loose, kill miniature horse," Post-Gazette, September 21, 2006 (www.post-gazette.com)
- Darnell Sanders - In April 2005, a pit bull and an American bulldog owned by Chicago Bears player Darnell Sanders escaped the yard of its dogsitter and attacked Ernie Assad. The victim underwent two brains surgeries after the attack and died 11 days later."Ex-Brown, Parma tussling over his beloved dogs," Cleveland.com, June 30, 2005 (www.cleveland.com)
- Qyntel Woods - In October 2004, authorities traced to an injured female pit bull to Portland Trail Blazers small forward Qyntel Woods. In January 2005, Woods pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal abuse and was sentenced to 12 months probation."NBA Player Pleads Guilty in Dogfighting Case," ABC News, January 21, 2005 (wwwabcnews.go.com)
- LeShon Johnson - In 2000, 2003 and 2004, New York Giants running back LeShon Johnson was arrested for dogfighting. The first two arrests produced no charges. After the 2004 arrest in Huges County, Johnson pleaded guilty to felony dogfighting.Animal Abuse Case Details: LeShon Johnson, Pet-abuse.com
- Thomas Hamner - In May 2001, the Philadelphia Eagles released running back Thomas Hamner, who had been charged in New Jersey with animal cruelty several times over the past year. In July, he pleaded guilty to one animal cruelty charge for beating his pit bull."Monday Roundup: Eagles release two players," CNNSI.com, May 21, 2001 (www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
- Latrell Sprewel - In October 1994, one of two pit bulls owned by NBA star Latrell Sprewel, a guard for the Golden State Warriors at the time, viciously attacked his 4-year old daughter. The animal bit off one of the little girl's ears and tore into her lips, forehead and nose."Sprewell's Daughter Injured in Attack by Family Pit Bull," Philadelphia Daily News, October 27, 1994 (www.philly.com)
- Livingstone Bramble - In June 1984, Livingstone Bramble won the world lightweight boxing title becoming the first world champion from St. Kitts and Nevis. Bramble raised fighting pit bulls, which have since been banned from the two-island nation.Michael Katz, "Bramble Takes Mancini's Title," New York Times, June 2, 1984 (www.nytimes.com)
- Jack Johnson - In February 1910, the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson, was arrested in Detroit after one of his "prize bulldogs" nearly chewed off a man's arm. Johnson vowed to "save" the dog from destruction."Jack Johnson Arrested.; Negro's Bulldog Lacerates Detroit Citizen's Arm -- May Kill Canine," New York Times, February 9, 1910 (www.nytimes.com)
2DogsBite.org did not perform an exhaustive web search to create this list, nor do we have a background in "sports" history. We suspect that many other incidents involving professional athletes and pit bulls exist.
3Dogfighters and breeders of fighting dogs commonly refer to pit bulls as "bulldogs." Recognized pit bull trainers, such as Diane Jessup, do as well. Jessup states on her website, the "original working bulldog" is the pit bull.
05/23/09: Steelers Linebacker James Harrison's Pit Bull Attacks His Son
09/07/08: What's the Difference Between a Pit Bull and a Hockey Mom?
06/05/08: Steve Foley, Former Football Player, May Be Charged in Dog Attack
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| 5/26/2009 12:34 AM |
Remember that for many years before he was finally busted for dogfighting, Michael Vick fended off accusations of dogfighting by claiming that he just loved pit bulls and was breeding them as pets because he "loved the breed."
Typical lies from a typical pit bull breeder.
Athletes also have an affinity for gambling, and too many of these guys are involved in dog fighting and dog fighting breeding right now.
Due to their exalted status as protected athletes, they think can get away with it. And too often law enforcement and local authorities ignore it. Starstruck idiots.
| 5/26/2009 1:01 AM |
"I do believe there is a subculture of dog fighting in the N.F.L. and N.B.A.," Goodwin said. "You hear a lot of rumors, but these guys have layers of protection between themselves and prosecution."
| 5/26/2009 1:06 AM |
Who can forget Latrell Sprewell and his comments about how he loves his pit bulls (inspite of horrible attack on his daughter)?
The Commissioner of the NFL should be made aware of this very obvious problem, which contributes to the pop culture fascination with the pit bull....a dog that belongs caged in a zoo....
What about the comments from Clinton Portis after Mick Vick arrested. They craziest thing is the fact that pit bull fighting seen as black mans game, when, in fact, this "sport" was completely controlled by white men from the 1800's to 1980's.
| 5/26/2009 1:52 AM |
Why is there talk of re-instating Vick into the NFL in violation of their own rules? Also, what about the matter of where his restitution payment came from, the retirement funds of several workers of one of his companies? Why is he being given a free pass for this? Why is he not going right back to jail for fraud?
| 5/26/2009 3:14 AM |
"The NFL has a Pit Bull Problem"
Too bad Joey, I mean James, let two women and a baby get attacked instead of taking his mauling like a man!
| 5/26/2009 2:16 PM |
It was known for years that Micheal Vick was dog fighting breeding and fighting centered at his Surry County Virginia home.
But he had a county prosecutor who PROTECTED him for years, and when he was busted STILL tried to fend off investigation and prosecution (even stooping to the "racism" claim and saying that Vick was only targeted because he was black)
A name that will live in infamy, and yet a typical authority protecting athletes in a typical way- Gerald Poindexter.
For some of his comments http://www.wvec.com/news/topstories/stories/wvec_local_060807_vick_property_update.29fbf67a.html
After these comments, he got really active helping Vick and increased his accusations of racism.
Poindexter did everything he could to stop the investigation, stop prosecution, stop everything, and protect Vick and his dog fighting operation.
He was fooling around with search warrants and approval, everything, abusing his office to protect a criminal.
This is being replayed across our country when it comes to dog fighting, not only with athletes but just ordinary dog fighters getting protected by the "good ole boy" authorities.
We actually have law enforcement and court authorities that break the law and subvert the law to help their dog fighting friends and relatives (sometimes even their own operations!)
| 5/26/2009 2:20 PM |
More from Poindexter and his buddy Sheriff Brown on their efforts to derail the Vick investigation
Can you believe these two are working for the taxpayer? And I believe they still have their jobs!
| 5/26/2009 2:30 PM |
Here's Portis comments
And notice the "I don't know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it's his property, it's his dog," Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis told WAVY-TV in Virginia. "If that's what he wants to do, do it. I think people should mind their business."
THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE AKC SAYS! In all their lobbying, AKC breeders push the same insane argument that dogs are "property" and their property should not be regulated.
They should be able to run puppy mills, abuse dogs, own and breed aggressive dogs.
That's why AKC emphasizes the "ownership" aspect in their lobbying front groups and AKC "responsible ownership days." Ownership (dogs as property) to them is code for NO REGULATION, NO LAWS.
| 5/26/2009 2:45 PM |
I don't doubt you one bit:
"Poindexter did call Thursday's search "a breach of protocol" and says he found about it around the same time federal authorities began scouring the grounds for evidence. "I was somewhat bothered by it and upset," Poindexter said. "I didn't realize the U.S. Attorney's office had any interest in running an investigation."
It reminds me of LeShon Johnson. Dogfighting charges were deferred two times prior to his third arrest. Pet-Abuse.com has it documented.
"...[February 2003 raid] According to the Osage County Court clerk, no court records exist related to this incident. When reached by telephone, District Attorney Larry Stuart said, the decision was made not to file criminal charges. No further explanation was given. Stuart previously deferred prosecution on dog-fighting charges against Johnson in February 2000, on the condition that he get rid of his dogs and stay away from dog fights. Despite this fact, no charges were filed after the 2003 raid."
| 5/26/2009 3:20 PM |
Show me the $$$$. You know these scums are getting kickbacks left and right for covering their dog fighter friends. I think the feds ought to turn their eyes toward them, too, and include them in the investigations. In particular, look at the bank accounts and tax returns. It wouldn't be too hard to discover why they're so keen on obstructing justice.
| 5/27/2009 9:09 AM |
UPDATE: Harrison is now looking to re-home his nanny dog.
The word is out and I am sure people will be bidding on this one of a kind piece of NFL/pit nutter memorabilia.
Also from the article this little gem:
"Any dog can bite," said Ms. VanKavage of Best Friends. "We had a woman killed by dachshunds in Florida, a child killed by a Pomeranian. Any dog can bite and kill."
Does this woman have a REAL law degree or one of those $150 Spokane degrees that you buy in the mail?
WE HAD A WOMAN KILLED? It sounds like she hired a hit. What a bizarre way to say something. Don't get me started on the fact that she deliberately omitted one very critical detail. THE WOMAN KILLED BY DACHSHUNDS WAS AN INVALID! But hey, VanCarnage desperately needs to sell an idea and that is that her little wiggle butt is no more dangerous than a dachshund.
| 5/27/2009 9:35 AM |
So I guess that leaves OUT OF THE PITS?
"No reputable rescue organization will take a dog that has bitten a person," said Daisy Balawejder of Hello Bully, a local group that rehabilitates and places pit bulls.
| 6/15/2009 12:39 PM |
New York Jets football player has a run in with a vicious pit bull, says he does not like them anymore. According to his Twitter account:
"Walking in Brooklyn and was attacked by a vicious stray pitbull that was foaming at the mouth..I jumped on a tall fence to avoid the mauling.
And the only reason I say it was stray is because it broke free from it’s owner..and I am not stretching the truth one bit..very vicious dog"
| 8/18/2009 6:37 PM |
The client list from PitFallKennels.com shows lots of athletes:
Reggie Evans (Philadelphia 76ers)
Leroy Hill (Seattle Seahawks)
Fabian Washington (Baltimore Ravens)
Roy Jones Jr. (Boxing Champion)
Justin Miller (Toronto Blue Jays)
Cozy Coleman (Tampa Bay Bucs)
Veron Haynes (Pittsburg Steelers)
Hugh Douglas (Philadelphia Eagles)
Richard "Rip" Hamilton (Detroit Pistons)
Jordan Babineaux (Seattle Seahawks)
Jonathan Babineaux (Atlanta Falcons)
| 12/12/2009 1:10 PM |
Jonathan Babineaux is in trouble again: "Babineaux was with another man, 25-year-old Aaron Robinson of Minneapolis, who also was arrested. Robinson was charged with possession of marijuana, a felony."
| 1/02/2010 12:59 PM |
Another group is tracking this to, Inhumane.org:
Athletes and Animal Cruelty
| 1/20/2010 10:58 AM |
Travis Outlaw of the Portland Trail Blazers raises and sells pit bulls. His puppies range from $1,500-$2,600. This jackass is breeding "vanity" pit bulls despite the fact that U.S. shelters had to euthanize 1 million unwanted pit bulls in 2009. There's no doubt that Outlaw will soon make this list.
| 10/18/2010 7:14 PM |
Lot's of NFL news today. James Harrison leveled two players in helmet-to-helmet hits on Sunday then said some really stupid things, "Afterward, Harrison showed no remorse and his teammates praised the hits. "I thought Cribbs was asleep," said Harrison.." ? Both Cribbs and Massaquoi were diagnosed with head injuries and will undergo further tests to determine if they suffered concussions.
FOX Sports reports:
"Harrison's reputation as being one of the NFL's nastiest players was enhanced when his leading-with-the-helmet hits on Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi left the Browns with just two healthy wide receivers for more than a half. Neither hit was penalized..."
Harrison is as bad as his former pit bull dog.
In other news, Junior Seau drove his SUV off a cliff just after being released from jail from a Domestic Violence arrest:
HE'S PIT BULL OWNER!
"We lived down the beach from football star Junior Seau, who has a beautiful blue Pit Bull named Rocky."
| 10/20/2010 11:52 AM |
Harrison fined $75,000 for unnecessary roughness. He may leave the game. Possibly he could just be "rehomed" or "rehabilitated" instead?
Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is not practicing today after receiving an excused absence from coach Mike Tomlin. Frustrated and perplexed after the NFL fined him $75,000 for unnecessary roughness, Harrison met with Tomlin this morning.
| 11/18/2010 10:01 PM |
Star wide receiver DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles (Vick teammate) recently compared the Eagles to 'pit bulls' causing himself and the team some PR problems.
NOV 16, 2010 - "It got us going. It had us ready. We came back into the locker room pumped," he said. "We were like pit bulls, ready to get out of the cage." The statement is unfortunate considering Eagles star quarterback Michael Vick spent time in prison after being convicted on dogfighting charges.
Pit bull "symbolism," dogfighting and breeding pit bulls for status purposes is so ingrained in the NFL that even Vick teammates can't stop themselves from blurting out analogies!
| 5/07/2011 6:18 AM |
February 8, 1910: First African American Heavy Weight Boxing Champion Jack Johnson is incarcerated in Detroit after his "Prize Bulldog" nearly chews the arm off a Detroit citizen. He vows that he will spend “all he is worth” to save the dog's life.
| 12/03/2013 3:34 AM |
Speaking of athletes, don't forget UFC fighter Kyacey Uscola who was attacked by two pit bulls outside 'The Ultimate Fighter' house. One of the dogs actually bit a hole through his penis. Here is what he said " I was walking up to the side of the house, along the road, when these dogs sort of ran up on me and cornered me, and um I’m an idiot I didn’t run when I should’ve ran, I squared off with them and sliced my hand punching one in the teeth. Got chunks bitten out of my shoulder, hip, hamstring and the uh money one was that they bit through my urethra and uh I had to have a catheter for two weeks." http://www.cagepotato.com/kyacey-uscola-nearly-lost-his-manhood-while-shooting-tuf-11/