"Die like those dogs"
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
Richmond, Va. – The crowded, chaotic sidewalk on Main Street, across from the federal courthouse, was an unlikely location for a lesson on the virtues of the fifth amendment.
But standing behind a throng that wanted a pound of Michael Vick's flesh – people that had just screamed for the Atlanta Falcons quarterback to "burn in hell" and held signs advocating his murder, torture and neutering – was Thomas Smith in work boots and a white t-shirt.
High above his head he held a simple sign with just a single word: "Constitution."
"These folks have convicted a man who hasn't even had a chance to defend himself," said Smith.
But here was America in full force, full vision, mixing it up while Vick pled not guilty to federal charges pertaining to an alleged dog-fighting ring on property he owned in rural Surry County. And front and center, impossible to ignore, was race.
Like Smith, almost all of the people supporting Vick or holding signs pleading for "due process" were African American.
On the other side was an emotional, angry, passionate anti-Vick group that was overwhelmingly white.
Certainly not every animal rights supporter was screaming for Vick to die. Many were just there to support the cause of caring for animals, ending the barbaric practice of dog fighting and using the massive media presence to benefit good.
But a significant number were focused on Vick. When he emerged from a black SUV and made a slow walk up a ramp and into the courthouse, they pushed toward police barriers and let loose.
"Burn in hell you (expletive) (expletive)," repeatedly screamed one woman.
"Die like those dogs," shouted another.
Not long after Vick got inside the courthouse – and in a scene that was repeated when he left less than two hours later – the two sides clashed in shouted voices and dueling signs.
Tortured Cats Won't Make You More Virile