This post is a throwback from a very interesting day in my life ten years ago. It came up because Michael Vick was in the news again today as there has been some public backlash to his university inducting him into their sports Hall of Fame. Those of you in the United States will no doubt remember the 2007 news story of the professional football player who ran a dog fighting ring.
(August 27, 2007) So I get sent to Richmond, Virginia for a two week training to prepare me for my new job. I’ve been here since the 19th. This morning I walked out of my hotel room and right into the middle of biggest news story of the day. I went down to the second floor where we have breakfast and start our training at 8 a.m. As I get down there another employee says, “Did you hear the rumor that Michael Vick is staying here? It’s probably just an urban myth.” I agreed, although I’m in a fairly nice hotel only three blocks from the Richmond courthouse.
At 9:30 during a break in training I went up to my room to get something. As I came out of my room an older gentleman in a suit exited the elevator in front of me and opened the door of the room next to mine. As he did so I heard the voice of an African-American man before the door closed. I went downstairs only to return a few minutes later after the wheels in my head started to turn. As I returned three men in suits exited the room next to mine and headed towards the elevator and I overheard one say, “Court should take about an hour.” After this I observe a hotel employee talking on a walkie-talkie, using the phrase “Room____ is a VIP room for today.” Now the light bulb went on over my head! I went downstairs and went back to my training.
About two hours later we got another break and as I exited the conference room a steady stream of men with cameras and microphones began to hurry past me towards the conference room across the hall from mine. So I got into the line. It was the Michael Vick press conference. As I walked to the line filing into the press conference I passed George Thorogood, the singer, talking to one of my co-workers. He was as curious as the rest of us. In addition to the press, spectators began to file into the hotel lobby. Some had religious shirts encouraging Michael Vick to repent. A family with young children came in carrying signs saying “We Love you” A co-worker of mine began to almost shout at the children, “You love him? How can you say that? He hung dogs!”