Believe it or not, dog abuse isn’t part of the summer training camps for the Atlanta Falcons. That may be hard for the nation to believe after the team had to waive Prince Shembo when he was charged in his girlfriend’s dog’s death. The team has tried to move well beyond the mess left in the wake of the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal years ago. This latest embarrassment may cause Arthur Blank to go postal. How any player could put himself in that position is beyond me, especially on a team that fired its franchise quarterback over very similar actions.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about the lack of real news in the NFL right now with Deflategate cooling off. Non-harmful controversy is good for the League in the offseason so I proposed that events similar to Deflategate would keep happening at the end of every season from now on. Allegedly kicking a Yorkie to death is not what I had in mind! In case you don’t know this is a tiny breed of dog. Prince Shembo is not tiny, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 254 pounds.
According to Shembo’s girlfriend, the dog was left alone with the now former Falcons linebacker and when she returned, the Yorky was unresponsive. The pet died at the animal hospital a short time later. She said her boyfriend told her that he had kicked the dog. Shembo’s attorney confirmed that statement, telling reporters that his client was bitten by the dog so he kicked the small animal. Shembo is charged with animal cruelty and the Falcons dropped him like a worthless scratch off lotto ticket on a city street. “We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo,” the team said in a statement. “We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.” Thanks for those 59 tackles last year.
I don’t want to paint the entire NFL with a broad brush of idiocy, but how some of these guys have remained out of a jail cell is amazing. Being able to bench 500 pounds and run the 40 yard dash in under 4.7 seconds helps with that I guess. Shembo was simply tasked with babysitting a dog. The end result is the loss of his NFL gig, being arrested, and embarrassing his team along with the NFL as a whole. This isn’t exactly going to help clean up the League’s image when it comes to off the field violence.
I have been a bit critical of Arthur Blank recently for his hesitancy to sign any free agents who are not boyscouts. It’s hard to have a completely clean roster. I don’t want Blank to go out and get the real thugs of the NFL, but I felt like adding some bad boys to the mix would help toughen up the team. This latest news out of Atlanta makes me rethink that. Whatever time and money was invested in Prince Shembo is now wasted. He will never play for the Falcons again. Blank has tasted the bitterness of an animal cruelty scandal and paid dearly for it. Shembo wasn’t running a dog fighting ring like Mike Vick, but the young linebacker isn’t nearly as important as Vick was back when he was released by the Falcons.
Things like this happen I guess? Although I am hard pressed to think of anyone I know ever purposely injuring a dog bad enough to have to be taken to the vet. If a dog bit you or I, I am sure our reaction would not be the best, but kicking it to sleep permanently? I just don’t get it.
There should be a babysitting service for NFL knuckleheads. Some of these guys simply can’t be trusted to be alone. Even knowing about how their league is so concerned about its image right now is not enough for guys to keep their noses clean. Players like Shembo need to hire a bodyguard of sorts, not to protect the player. The living beings around these players are the ones in need of protection. This doesn’t have to be an expensive service. Give a homeless guy a taser, hangout with NFL nimrod 24/7, and instruct him to zap the NFL guy if it looks like he is about to do something stupid. You know like kill a three pound dog, set a bus full of nuns on fire, get a neck tattoo, or choke a girlfriend.