Published May 22, 2007
NORFOLK, Va. – Washington Redskins players Clinton Portis and Chris Samuels defended Michael Vick on Monday by ridiculing the notion that dog fighting is considered a crime.
In an interview with WAVY-TV, Portis said that if the Atlanta Falcons quarterback is charged and convicted of being involved in a dog fighting operation, then authorities would be "putting him behind bars for no reason."
"I don't know if he was fighting dogs or not," Portis said. "But it's his property; it's his dogs. If that's what he wants to do, do it."
Portis said dog fighting is a "prevalent" part of life.
Portis, a native of Laurel, Mississippi, added: "I know a lot of back roads that got a dog fight if you want to go see it. But they're not bothering those people because those people are not big names. I'm sure there's some police got some dogs that are fighting them, some judges got dogs and everything else."
"Politicians," added Samuels, who found it hard to keep from giggling while Portis was talking.
"Presidents," added Portis with a laugh.
Vick has been under investigation since April 25 when police conducting a drug investigation raided the house owned by the quarterback in rural Surry County and found dozens of dogs. They also found items associated with dog fighting, including a "pry bar" used to pry apart a dog's jaws. No charges have been filed.
Dog fighting is a felony in Virginia, but Portis said that if Vick is charged and convicted: "Then I think he got cheated. ... You're putting him behind bars for no reason -- over a dog fight."
"Haven't you seen Animal Planet?" Samuels added with a giggle.
Hours after making light of the possible crime in the television interview, Portis issued a statement late Monday through the Redskins.
"In the recent interview I gave concerning dog fighting, I want to make it clear I do not take part in dog fighting or condone dog fighting in any manner," the statement said.