Pittsburgh Reporter Sorry For Vick Comment

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: August 2, 2007

PITTSBURGH — A newspaper reporter who said Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick would have been “better off raping a woman” than being charged with dogfighting has apologized and will no longer appear on the local sports panel TV show where he made the remark.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Paul Zeise made the comments Sunday night on the Sports Showdown show on KDKA-TV, a CBS affiliate. He was disagreeing with another panelist who said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should suspend Vick for the rest of the season because he was indicted on federal dogfighting charges July 17.

The “Sports Showdown,” which runs for 30 minutes beginning at 11:35 p.m., is a weekly discussion show with three or four members of the local media with KDKA sports anchor Bob Pompeani as the host.

Panelists Sunday were Zeise; Paul Alexander, an anchor-reporter for FSN Pittsburgh; and Ellis Cannon, a talk-show host on WPGB-FM. The subject for discussion was Vick, who has been indicted by the federal government on dogfighting charges.

In introducing the topic, Pompeani said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is “probably going to suspend [Vick] for the rest of the season, the whole year. Is he right to do that given the fact this guy has not been convicted of anything?” Alexander answered: “Absolutely. When you’re indicted by the federal government, you’re going down. Since 1987 they have a 92 percent conviction rate.”

Zeise took an opposing view. “It’s really a sad day in this country when somehow Michael Vick would have been better off raping a woman if you look at the outcry of what happened,” Zeise said.

“Had he done that, he probably would have been suspended for four games and he’d be back on the field. But because this has become a political issue, all of a sudden the commissioner has lost his stomach for it.”

Zeise apologized Monday. “I regret the poor choice of analogies I used to characterize a professional athlete’s legal situation,” Zeise said.

KDKA apologized on its Monday newscasts and said Zeise, one of a group of rotating panelists on the show, will not be invited back.

Zeise’s “insensitive and offensive” remarks “do not represent the view of the Post-Gazette,” the newspaper said in a statement Monday.

Vick, 27, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and said in a statement that he looks forward to “clearing my good name.”

Goodell has already barred Vick from training camp and Vick has lost several endorsement deals over the gruesome allegations.