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 Post subject: McNair says he's no Michael Vick
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:16 pm 
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USC assistant coach was convicted twice for mistreatment, and New Jersey police say all signs pointed to dogfighting, although they didn't witness any fights.
By Lance Pugmire and Gary Klein
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

August 30, 2007

USC assistant football coach Todd McNair said Wednesday that reports detailing his two 1990s convictions for mistreating dogs did not "accurately portray" what actually happened.

"I understand the interest about the thing in light of all that's gone on in Virginia with the [Michael] Vick case and everything," he said in an interview outside USC's Heritage Hall. "But my case was totally different from that. . . . I was cited for neglect. I wasn't convicted for abuse."

McNair, who is about to begin his fourth season as the Trojans' running backs coach, was charged with cruelty to animals, failure to obtain licenses and keeping animals for the purpose of fighting in March 1996 after authorities found more than 20 pit pulls on property he owned in East Greenwich, N.J.

He was also charged with animal neglect in July 1993.

McNair, 42, said both cases stemmed from his failed attempts at dog breeding.

"I had a number of different breeds at different points of time over a couple years," he said. "I realized I got in over my head. I wasn't able to maintain it properly and it cost me."

Law enforcement authorities who investigated the 1996 case paint a different picture. They say "all indications" showed the former NFL running back was involved in pit bull fighting.

"We didn't witness a dogfight taking place, but . . . that's what the dogs were used for," said East Greenwich Township Police Det.-Sgt. Charles Barone. "There was a treadmill used for [dog] training, and we found the dogs in an unsheltered, wooded area far from the highway, where they were held down by [automobile towing] chains connected to large tire rims. It was deplorable."

Gloucester County Judge J.R. Powell said in court that insufficient evidence kept him from convicting McNair of dogfighting. However, prosecutors won misdemeanor convictions against McNair on 17 counts of animal cruelty and failure to license dogs.

McNair was fined more than $4,900 and ordered to fulfill community service obligations, according to a local newspaper report. Court authorities said Wednesday that the official municipal court decision of the case has probably been destroyed.

McNair, a former Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers running back, said he did not tell USC officials about his convictions when he was hired onto the football staff in 2004 because he "had no reason to think it would ever come up. I didn't look at it as I did a crime and was convicted anyway. I was exonerated from all the stuff."

However, he said he did tell USC Coach Pete Carroll about the incidents about a week ago when the Vick case was making national headlines. Vick, star quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, recently pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge related to dogfighting and is facing a probable prison sentence.

"We had some kind of idea that with all that's going on . . . it's a possibility it could come up and somebody could ask me questions about it," McNair said.

Carroll said he still would have hired McNair even if he had known about his convictions. "I wouldn't have recognized it as an issue," he said.

Lt. Col. Sy Goldberg of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Humane Police said until Vick's role in dogfighting ring brought national attention, the "blood sport" wasn't treated or prosecuted as seriously as it should.

Goldberg inspected McNair's property in 1996 and told police, "It was obvious the area was being used to train dogs for fighting." Reached Wednesday, Goldberg called the extent of the injured dogs at McNair's property "outrageous."

Det.-Sgt. Barone said he brought the McNair case to the attention of federal law enforcement investigators, but they dismissed it.

"Dogfighting wasn't a big deal back then like it is now, but what I saw [at McNair's property] was the same activity that Michael Vick was in," Goldberg said. "Animal cruelty was an easier charge to prove, but if you look at the pictures from the case the dog's face was absolutely mauled."

On Wednesday, police e-mailed to The Times several crime scene photos, including shots of one dog's mangled face and another reacting viciously as police arrived on the scene.

Court records show that the case originated when a pit bull named Shadow, scarred on the face and head, escaped from McNair's property by jumping through a broken window.

While investigating Shadow's escape, Barone heard "dogs in distress, barking, crying and howling," and later found one named Crutch with a broken leg. Others were "extremely agitated, vicious and aggressive," according to court records.

Barone wrote, "All of the dogs appeared to have scars, marks and cuts on their heads and bodies . . . several . . . have open wounds." Other dogs were suffering from "poor diet, sores," or were "full of worms."

Most of the dogs seized from McNair were euthanized, police said. McNair said he had bred the dogs for sale.

"I love dogs," he added. "I've had dogs my whole life. I got one now, a pug named Pork Chop."

Two years earlier, at another property McNair owned in Paulsboro, N.J., police said they shot and killed a pit bull they suspected belonged to McNair.

McNair was also charged with animal neglect in 1993 in Missouri. He was convicted then for failing to display tags on his dogs Bismark and Popeye, and received a sentence of probation and a fine. A Blue Springs, Mo. detective told New Jersey authorities that McNair exposed the "shuddering and soaking wet" dogs to inclement weather.

"It was a lesson," McNair said Wednesday of the experience, "and once everything happened back then, I did what I was supposed to do. I handled what I was supposed to handle and I got rid of it."

Carroll said McNair was "not the kind of person who's going to abuse anything."

"Everybody makes errors in judgment and makes mistakes," the head coach said. "Hopefully, you rectify and you learn and you grow and you go ahead, and I know that's what he's done.

"I know the guy, and I know exactly what he's done. I feel very sorry for anybody who is mistreated and not dealt with properly and hopefully we can always learn and grow and make sure that we do the right thing to take care of people and animals as well."

After his 1996 conviction, McNair, then playing for the Chiefs, was greeted by protests by animal activists when his team played at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

Dan Shannon, assistant director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said his organization wasn't planning to protest at USC because of McNair's dated crimes. However, he said the cases reinforce why the NFL should add animal cruelty to its list of violations of the league's personal conduct policy.

"We wrote to the NFL about this when it happened, and they said it was best handled by local law enforcement," Shannon said. "If you saw the Todd McNair case happen now, he would have been met by a stronger response."

In light of recent animal neglect or abuse cases surrounding NFL players Jonathan Babineaux and Tank Johnson and former NBA player Qyntel Woods, Shannon says he's "hoping people in law enforcement will tolerate this less and less, so they'll actually prosecute dogfighting instead of saying it's too tedious to prove.

"What happened here was some awful stuff."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:27 pm 
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Tricky tricky BB. Perhaps you should have clarified in the title that it was Todd McNair as opposed to Steve McNair, which I'm sure everybody and their mama is going to believe upon reading the title of this thread. I know I did.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:41 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Tricky tricky BB. Perhaps you should have clarified in the title that it was Todd McNair as opposed to Steve McNair, which I'm sure everybody and their mama is going to believe upon reading the title of this thread. I know I did.


That's the point isn't it...lol....Do Mama's read this forum as well??? :D

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:02 pm 
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typical shock jock bs. Just shows the nature of the beast here. I damn sure won't trust the mfer no more. Am to the point I sense racial issues with this guy. Call it an agenda, if you will.

You know,...the reference to Nazis in the other place and all that and he being banned from there,...lol just as I am banned until next year because of those racists there.

People like this make posting a chore,...they make it not fun and that's what it's all about. When agendas get in the way, it becomes not fun.

Everyone knows who fights dogs. But we keep getting inundated with these articles and it's just a chore to put up with this mentality. I rather feel it's an obsession and a mental problem of some sort, honestly.

It wasn't good enough that Vick was sussed for some people. They gotta go and make it a mission like the freaking Crusades,...like they are BETTER than everyone else, when in fact, THEY are closer to the grave than most of us. The sooner they reach that grave, the better off the rest of us will be.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:42 pm 
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PB21 wrote:
typical shock jock bs. Just shows the nature of the beast here. I damn sure won't trust the mfer no more. Am to the point I sense racial issues with this guy. Call it an agenda, if you will.

You know,...the reference to Nazis in the other place and all that and he being banned from there,...lol just as I am banned until next year because of those racists there.

People like this make posting a chore,...they make it not fun and that's what it's all about. When agendas get in the way, it becomes not fun.

Everyone knows who fights dogs. But we keep getting inundated with these articles and it's just a chore to put up with this mentality. I rather feel it's an obsession and a mental problem of some sort, honestly.

It wasn't good enough that Vick was sussed for some people. They gotta go and make it a mission like the freaking Crusades,...like they are BETTER than everyone else, when in fact, THEY are closer to the grave than most of us. The sooner they reach that grave, the better off the rest of us will be.


Walk.....no......run to your nearest free clinic. Tell them about the delusions and the voices. Good Luck....with the medication you should be as good as new in 4-6 weeks.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:48 pm 
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So, am I reading this right? This guy was fined about 5K and some community service and Vick is maybe doing over a year in jail and maybe a $250,000 fine (not to mention the multi-millions he has forfeited). What is the difference? Vick transported dogs across state lines? Yeah....sounds pretty fair. :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:58 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
So, am I reading this right? This guy was fined about 5K and some community service and Vick is maybe doing over a year in jail and maybe a $250,000 fine (not to mention the multi-millions he has forfeited). What is the difference? Vick transported dogs across state lines? Yeah....sounds pretty fair. :shock:


The article states that he wasn't convicted of dogfighting or conspiracy. His was a misdemeanor, not a felony.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:31 pm 
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Roger that. The charges were different but the activity was the same or very close to it.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:42 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
Roger that. The charges were different but the activity was the same or very close to it.


Well we aren't privy to the details, but this case doesn't appear to be as big as the Vick case. It appears to be a case of just a few dogs without any actual evidence of a conspiracy. It is like comparing a manslaughter case to a serial killer.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:09 pm 
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Remind me what the conspiracy was about again?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:13 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
Remind me what the conspiracy was about again?


http://alt.cimedia.com/ajc/pdf/vick0717.pdf

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:17 pm 
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Yeah, like I said above. Manslaughter and serial murder? Hardly a fair comparison. But we could and have argued this forever. The main difference is fame and the nature of how we get our news relative to the mid-90s. Just my two cents. 8-)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:29 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
Yeah, like I said above. Manslaughter and serial murder? Hardly a fair comparison. But we could and have argued this forever. The main difference is fame and the nature of how we get our news relative to the mid-90s. Just my two cents. 8-)


Or that subconsciously you still have one or more of your toes dangling in a river in Egypt. :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:36 pm 
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Actually, I'm from a different camp. I don't deny. I don't care. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:43 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
Actually, I'm from a different camp. I don't deny. I don't care. :lol:


Yes you do. Your passion bleeds through big-time, which is kool with me. If someone i cared about was being unjustly treated i would do the same.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:53 pm 
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I guess I do feel that way somewhat. What I meant is I don't care too much what the guys do off the field. I think it ought to be a non-issue as far as the game goes. As you know, I really enjoyed watching Vick but I was not and am not blind to his football shortcomings. It may be a blessing in disguise as far as getting back to Falcons football as opposed to entertainment. If you never went to the Dome and saw and felt the crowd during his era it is hard to explain the feeling. I'm not trying to be all I'm a better fan than you or look what I get to do but there was something about it that was special Sort of a sociological/sport harmonic convergence that I could only liken to the Braves in 91. Just a big room full of happy people. I felt the same thing in Philly when they beat us in the NFCCG and it really took the sting out of that. More rock concert-ish that sporting event. It had begun to sour last year for sure though. I had some kind of neat experiences this past game with some people outside the stadium, etc. Whenever we finally get together for that beer in Germany or maybe that enema in the old folks home I'll try to relate it to you! :lol: You're probably right though. I do think the time has far outweighed the crime here. But, as my buddy Jake says, "A fight is like going to court...you never know how it will turn out!" :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:17 am 
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I have often said that i don't care what the players do off the field as well. The past incidents concerning Vick were a joke IMHO, but they were still blown out of proportion. That's where the "haters" and i differed. The feeling you described with Vick at the dome came through to a lesser extent on the TV as well. I think we were an exciting team with him, but the past few years showed that the league had caught up with him, and he appeared to lose a bit of the excitement. His lack of leadership was also a huge problem.

Despite all that has happened i still don't have bad feelings for the guy. You have to look at what he did as a sickness, much like a drug habit. And when people are sick, you have to hope that they find a way to get better.

Once again you have to understand the seriousness of the charges.This wasn't just a few moments of misguided passion, or a momentary lapse of judgment. This was a premeditated, seriously funded, criminal enterprise over a six year period. You are correct though that certain events in the NFL and in the 24 hour news cycle merged to Vick's disadvantage. However...it must be said that Vick felt he was invincible. But that plays into the sickness as well. Had he come clean at different times before it went as far as it did, he would be looking at a 4 game suspension rather than banishment from the NFL and a long prison sentence.He and his posse, his teammates , his owner and his fans put him on such a pedestal, that he felt he could do as he pleased. The chaos he sometimes created on the field was just as prevalent off the field as well. He was out of control. But you know what??? I still feel for the guy. Despite all he has done, i still think he deserves a chance to redeem himself.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:12 am 
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Agree on all counts. I have a feeling there are some substance abuse issues even if just massive rope smoking. And I guess it is true that it is a massive criminal enterprise but I guess the idea of dog fights being an enterprise is bizarre to me. But then again, there are guys around here who have been unable to make a living with their farms and have just turned them into bigs mud rider rodeos for yee haws and their four wheel drive vehicles. I know folks around here that run dog fighting rings so to speak who have nearly as many dogs at their houses. Most are drug dealers or close enough to spit on them.Mike was damn sure guilty of being dumb as dirt. I hate the way he is trying to be excised from the history books by the NFL, the falcons and the fans. Just accept what he did good and bad and let sleeping dogs lie. :lol: I liken his deal as being like a porn addiction that wrecks a marriage


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:33 am 
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backnblack wrote:
Agree on all counts. I have a feeling there are some substance abuse issues even if just massive rope smoking. And I guess it is true that it is a massive criminal enterprise but I guess the idea of dog fights being an enterprise is bizarre to me. But then again, there are guys around here who have been unable to make a living with their farms and have just turned them into bigs mud rider rodeos for yee haws and their four wheel drive vehicles. I know folks around here that run dog fighting rings so to speak who have nearly as many dogs at their houses. Most are drug dealers or close enough to spit on them.Mike was damn sure guilty of being dumb as dirt. I hate the way he is trying to be excised from the history books by the NFL, the falcons and the fans. Just accept what he did good and bad and let sleeping dogs lie. :lol: I liken his deal as being like a porn addiction that wrecks a marriage


Now you know it is unrealistic that people will let this story die. People love a good tragedy. People love it when a person who is on top falls off the mountaintop. Much of that is human nature. The "boy who cried wolf" was eventually eaten by the very same wolf he made up. And Vick's image finally led to the public hoping that he would be caught at something, and dammit...be caught red handed, so there wouldn't be any doubt that they had been right about him all along. But just as American's love a good fall, they love a great comeback, and that plays to Vick's advantage. But it is up to him to play his cards right. Any further problems will be suicide for him in the publics eye...he can't afford any mistakes...any return to his "old" image will be the end of Mike Vick.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:44 am 
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Agree again. The cut and paste comeback trail is kind of stomach turning in its predictability (Thank ya, Jesus) but ever great play has three acts--rise, fall and comeback. OTOH, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he completely imploded. I mean, all he had to do was look at what Marcus had done to himself as a precaution. But, no, that wasn't enough. We all pretty much do what we want to do in the end. I've lost no sleep over Mike Vick's problems. The national vulture-fest is probably more of a problem to me.
As a funny side note...at the Dome on Monday they hardly played any hip hop through the PA. It was like back when the smiths ran the joint-Jerry Lee Lewis, bob Seegar, etc. All vestiges of Vick and that gosh darned hip hop he brought in here must be erased. Out damn spot! :lol:


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