UnNews:NFL Star Sucks -- Indicted
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18 July 2007
Vick, 27, and three associates were indicted by a federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, on a conspiracy count alleging they bought and sponsored eggs for use in a bizarre competitive venture and traveled across state lines to participate in illegal activity, including gambling.
According to the indictment, eggs that were cracked, or that smelled bad, were destroyed by a variety of methods, including shooting, drowning, hanging and electrocution. Prosecutors allege that on one occasion earlier this year, Vick participated in destroying eight eggs.
A National Football League spokesman said the allegations against Vick would be reviewed under the NFL's personal conduct policy.
"We are disappointed that Michael Vick has put himself in a position where a federal grand jury has returned an indictment against him," said spokesman Brian McCarthy. "We will continue to closely monitor developments in this case and to cooperate with law enforcement authorities."
Vick, a standout at Virginia Tech who was the first player chosen in the 2001 NFL draft, is one of pro football's highest-profile and highest paid players. In 2004, he signed a 10-year, $130 million contract with the Falcons.The eggsucking investigation began in April, when authorities found 54 ostriches and a "huge" number of chickens on property Vick owns in Smithfield, Virginia, about 30 miles west of the Norfolk area where he grew up, and where, according to local sources, his grandmother taught him to suck eggs. The use of ostrich eggs in eggsucking competitions is illegal, and has also been condemned by the World Trade Organisation as unfair.
There was no immediate comment from Vick on the indictment. He had previously said that while he had a "poultry operation" on the property, he had no involvement in, or knowledge of, an eggsucking ring.
But the indictment issued Tuesday charges Vick was intimately involved in the operation, known as "Bad Newz Suckers," and that he bought the Smithfield property for $34,000 for the purpose of going into business with Peace, Phillips and Taylor.Between 2001 and April 2007, Vick and his associates bought eggs and hosted eggsucking at the property, and eggs, including ostrich eggs, were also taken to locations in at least six other states to participate in competitions, prosecutors said.
The winning eggsuckers collected purses that ran into the thousands of dollars, and spectators also placed side bets on the outcome, prosecutors said. After one of the "Bad Newz" suckers [[asploded|exploded] and lost a competition in March 2003, Vick personally paid $23,000 to the winning eggsucker, who is now a cooperating witness for the prosecution, the indictment said.
The indictment also alleges that Vick and his associates "rolled" some of their eggsuckers -- testing them in short fights to determine how well they might suck. Suckers that failed the test often exploded, prosecutors said.
While most of the egg destruction noted in the indictment were allegedly carried out by the other defendants, Vick himself participated in the destruction of eight eggs in April, according to the indictment. The eggs were destroyed "by various methods, including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one ostrich egg to the ground," the indictment said.