As we know, former SU football player and current Atlanta Falcon Quinn Ojinnaka was arrested last week after allegedly tossing his wife down a flight of stairs, spitting on her and throwing her out of their house. He claims that she tried to stab him with a pen after finding out about some indiscretions he may or may not have been having on Facebook with another woman. (The lesson as always is...married men, don't poke other women, on Facebook or otherwise). It should be noted that neither Quinn nor his wife claimed injuries in the fracas, which is amazing given the allegations, and as far as I can tell no charges have been filed.
Without any kind of further implications coming it seems like this is where the story will end, at least until Ojinnaka joins Twitter. The story is already fading into Bolivian and if Quinn hadn't been an SU alum, we wouldn't even be talking about it right now.
That's the gist of Bud Poliquin's argument in his column today. How we're barely even discussing this story, where a woman was beaten while Ojinnaka's former Falcon teammate Michael Vick became a media target over his crimes:
But at the end of the day, shouldn't battering people be more prominently placed in the great photo of disgraces than any act of abusing (and, yes, killing) dogs? And isn't battering people made even more abominable when the alleged batterer is a 6-foot-5, 305-pound man, and the identified batteree is a woman of significantly less height and ballast?
All else equal, a crime against another human being is indeed worse than a crime against an animal. But that's the thing when comparing these two instances...all else isn't equal.
If Michael Vick got caught smacking a dog and throwing it down a flight of stairs, then went to jail for three years, while Quinn Ojinnaka did the same thing to his wife and got off with a warning...then YES, that's outrageous and a horrible miscarriage of justice. But Michael Vick didn't just lose his cool in an emotional outburst and momentary lapse in judgment. Michael Vick was so much more devious than that.
- For six years, from 2001 to 2007, Vick and his associates ran a dog-fighting operation out of a house he owned.
- Vick paid $34,000 for a location where he could train dogs and host dog-fighting events.
- He personally executed dogs that didn't perform up to his standards. He used methods that included "hanging, drowning and/or slamming at least one dog's body to the ground."
- He is alleged to have consulted with one of his associates before that man killed a losing dog by electrocution.
- Found on the property amongst the many training items was a "rape stand," which holds female dogs in place in order to procreate.
Should the Ojinnaka incident be more of a story than it is? Maybe. Probably. But all signs point to a situation where this was a heated debate between two people that got way out of hand and not just a one-sided assault out of nowhere. Much like DUI's, home-based assault incidents have become sadly too commonplace for pro athletes. It's at the point where we almost come to expect them every so often. And yes, all parties (the media, the leagues, the teams and the players) should be doing more to raise awareness and prevent this in the future.
But the "Michael Vick became a national story and went to prison for hurting dogs, so..." argument doesn't really hold water as a viable counter-argument for situations like this. Michael Vick didn't make one bad decision that put another life at risk. He made about thousands of them.