August 2, 2007

Michael Vick

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback who is facing trial on charges of horrific abuse of dogs while holding dog fights at his mansion, has one of the world's greatest bodies, but not, by most accounts, one of the world's greatest brains.

A reader sent me a link to a Randall Parker Future Pundit item from 2006 that was prescient:

High Testosterone Men More Abusive To Dogs

Another reader noted Peter King's obituary in Sports Illustrated for the brilliant football innovator Bill Walsh, who, more than anybody else, invented the modern pass-crazy NFL offensive style. King quotes Walsh from 1991, which might have some relevance to Vick:

"As a coach, I know I have to start with smart players. It might not have been so important in past years, but today we're asking players to do so much and to know so many schemes. Without basic intelligence, they simply can't play. And if they're not just plain smart, they're not going to be able to do the things a sophisticated coach is going to ask. With the speed on the field today, their technique and knowledge of what they have to do has to be keen or they'll get buried. A player like Bill Ring of the 49ers, who wasn't physically gifted, was a great contributor, despite his lack of speed and size and quickness, because he was a tremendous student of the game.

"As you'll see in this book, intelligent players have an infinitely better chance to succeed. On offense, they have to cope more and more with things like the no-huddle and quick snaps. In a few years, who knows? Maybe there won't be huddles. On defense, they have to cope with different schemes and all the substitution. When I look for players now, even at Stanford, I can rule out a lot of people fast. They have to have above-average intelligence combined with the ability to function under stress ...

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Peter said...

Vick supposedly scored 20 on the Wonderlic, which is about equal to an IQ score of 100. So he's not stupid.

Anonymous said...

Although, as far as product endorsements, Michael Vick's name has sort of tanked, I seem to recall reading in the paper that his agent has been able to negotiate a three figure deal in which Vick will endorse Chinese toothpaste. This is according to Argus Hamilton, a pretty reliable source.

Anonymous said...

"Vick supposedly scored 20 on the Wonderlic, which is about equal to an IQ score of 100. So he's not stupid."

That sorta reminds me of the Vince Young wonderlic controversy, where he supposedly scored in the single digits and got to retake the test.

I wouldn't put too much stock in wonderlic scores. The NFL isn't going to set the system up to make the bread and butter of the league,i.e. black athletes, look bad

Anonymous said...

It was said of Bo Jackson: " define mistakes differntley with Bo Jackson, as he can outrun and out throw would-be mistakes of other players".

Michael Vick runs a 4.2 forty and is probably football's fastest man. He can also throw a ball 80 yards. He is probably one of the three or four quickest men in football also. He can cut on a dime. Wonderlic tests cannot account for this type of ablilty. Blacks are going to support Vick in this anwyay. After his inevitable apology it will be "over" for them.

Steve Sailer said...

The NFL's mandatory Wonderlic IQ test, a 12 minute IQ test with a mean of 21 right = 100, is more reliable for averages (e.g., average NFL center vs. average NFL quarterback) than for individuals, especially quarterbacks, with so much money and such intense agents hovering about, doing whatever it is they do. Check out, for example, Akili Smith's increase from a 92 to a 136 IQ when he took the test again.

Peter said...

Wonderlic scores at the NFL combine are supposed to be confidential but almost always become widely known. The NFL must pay lip service to the confidentiality part, while tacitly allowing the scores to leak. Given its tremendous organizational strength, the NFL surely could keep the scores confidential if that were its true intent.

tommy said...

High Testosterone Men More Abusive To Dogs

High testosterone men are more abusive, period.

I think Vick is going to prison. Good riddance.

MIke McKeown said...

Having grown up as a 49ers fan and now living in New England, it is very easy to see that smart players can run more interesting and flexible programs than those with only raw talent.

That said, all of these guys are multiple SDs above the mean in physical talent.

Anonymous said...

I saw on NFL Network a couple of episodes of "America's Game" recapping the Superbowls, covering the '81, '84, and '88 seasons. I've also seen various retrospectives on Bill Walsh.

Considering the man's success, his "coaching tree" i.e. people who worked for him coaching (Tony Dungy played for him, Mike Holmgren coached QBs for him), the widespread adoption of the West Coast Offense, I can say:

1. Vick is over-rated (so was Bo Jackson).
2. Football requires a lot of discipline, preparation, and intelligence.
3. Most positions will require more not less intelligence even over raw athletic ability.

So Vick can throw the ball, hard, 80 yards and run a 4.2 forty? What does that have to do with being a successful QB? Phil Simms reminisced about how during his first tryout with Walsh, Walsh coached him to throw softly and accurately. The idea being to throw every ball to where ONLY his receiver could catch it and softly enough that every ball thrown was completely catchable.

Success in football is not going to be who is stronger, since modern training methods are going to make that pretty much equal for all teams. QBs function is to use their arm and head, not legs. Running QBs take nearly as much of a beating as Running Backs and don't last long. A QB requires the discipline and focus to play hurt and not 100%.

Moreover, as the margin between winning and losing means endless reps burning muscle memory of complex offensive assignments or defensive reads, pure athletic ability won't be the primary issue in signing players to multi-million dollar contracts.

Character and intelligence and focus and discipline are going to count the most (athletic ability of course will still be very important). It mitigates risk that your key players will do something stupid, and is the only way you build successful organizations that compete year after year to get into the Superbowl.

Vick? He's toast. The NFL is in the Entertainment business. Sponsors made it clear they weren't going to be on board with PETA/Humane Society/ASPCA boycotts, and that filtered down to the Ownership level (with those skyboxes to fill). The NAACP is backing Vick, but their time is long past.

[I don't think a 120-plus IQ is mandatory for NFL players, but rather the ability to grasp a complex offensive/defensive scheme and work so hard that executing becomes mere pattern recognition. That means guys like Vick are out and guys like say, Marvin Harrison or Payton Manning are in.]

Anonymous said...

I'm a dog lover. I sure don't condone dogfighting. I'm also no fan of Vick. But the real story here is why the hell is the FBI spending YEARS investigating a dogfighting ring???

The FBI is understaffed and stretched thin in the post 9/11 environment. It is infuriating that precious FBI manpower would be detailed to this sort of crime in 2007. Let alone for a YEARS-long investigation. Was it so necessary to make it a federal beef? Aren't many dogfighting rings busted by local sheriff depts?

I am sure the typical isteve reader is aware of the creeping infiltration of Al Qaeda jihadis in Wahabi mosques across the USA. Throw in domestic espionage actions of China (I bet the entire FBI staff could keep busy with Chinese espionage alone) and our spreading gang problems, the various professional mafias (Italian, Israeli, Russian, Mexican), white collar crime, the illegal immigrant criminals (don't we have 500,000 + illegal criminal aliens at large in the USA right now?) ...and there is no damn time or money for busting dogfighting rings with federal prosecutions.

This is just another giant flashing sign that says we are not actually in a real war. Just keep shopping, Mr & Mrs America.

This investigation was probably pursued by some post-modern politically correct lunatic fringe animal rights activist who happens to have risen up the ranks of the FBI.

And this investigation happened partly in VA! Virginia is a hotbed of Al Qaeda infiltration. Are you kidding me? They have extra agents in the VA district to put on dogfighting rings? It is clear that we, as a society, are frigging losing it.

Anonymous said...

One thing that stands out is how "Thunder and Lightning" from USC fared in the NFL.

LenDale White who was the short-yardage go-to guy for USC has been fat and out of shape, fighting with team-mates, and not playing much last year and a dud so far (even fatter) in training camp.

Meanwhile Reggie Bush has a very innovative workout -- no weights, emphasis on agility and balance, very careful diet and lean muscle mass. Bush basically jumps over sticks at varying heights on treadmills with no handrails.

Would Bonds have been successful without Steroids and HGH? No. His career would have ended. Bonds is just one-dimensional, crush the ball when he can hit it. Does he train vigorously all season long (including the off-season)? Sure. But he won't even hustle in routine plays and can only hit for power. That's all he can do.

Tom Glavine gutting it out for 300 wins is a lot more impressive.

David said...

"Virginia is a hotbed of Al Qaeda infiltration."

Proof, please.

Anonymous said...

I work at Virginia Tech and have a friend who tutored Michael Vick while he was an undergrad. She said that he was "dumb, but nice". Universities with failing football programs will bend over backwards to recruit and matriculate star athletes. Academic and ethical standards need not be applied in these cases.

jedster said...


Assuming that Bill Walsh is right, wouldn't that mean that just about all NFL players (at least the decent ones) have above average intelligence?

If not, why not?

Mark Seecof said...

Ving Rhames' dogs just savaged their kennelman to death. Rhames looks like a high-testosterone guy and obviously kept some vicious dogs. Perhaps we need to think up better ways to discourage "vicious dog chic."

Anonymous said...

Vick should switch to boxing when he gets out of prison.There are no standards in Don Kingworld. Plus-if things remain the same as they are now- he could be the Great Black Hope in the heavyweight division. reader said...

Michael Vick dogfighting case opens racial divide

RICHMOND, Va. — The difference between those sporting Michael Vick jerseys and those urging his swift conviction on dogfighting charges is glaring: Vick's supporters are mostly black; his critics are mostly white.

The racial divide emerged early in the case against the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, apparent at rallies filled with cheering - and overwhelmingly black - Vick supporters and at anti-Vick protests that are noticeably white.

Vick's opponents say the evidence against him is overwhelming. For many black supporters, that judgment evokes uncomfortable questions about race and guilt in America.

"White folks 'been grindin' on an ax ... and that ax ain't got sharp enough for them," said Earnest Hardy Sr., who called the case a witch hunt targeting a successful black man.

In the rural county split 50-50 between whites and blacks, the case quickly took a racial bent. At the county courthouse, angry letters urged that whites "take back their town." Critics accuse the commonwealth's attorney, Gerald Poindexter, of stalling an investigation to protect one of his own.

"The only thing I'm doing is protecting my personal integrity and protecting the integrity of the office," said Poindexter, who is black. "I'm not going to be pushed into bringing charges that won't stand."

Hardy spotted Surry's racial divisions long ago - in the farmland developers are sweeping up and selling at prices working-class folks can't afford, and in the new neighbors who don't look like him.

Hardy suspects that Vick - famous, rich and black - is just the fall guy behind bigger issues.

"A hundred-million-dollar black man?" he huffed. "They can't stand it."

Tempers flared at Vick's July 26 arraignment in Richmond, where outside the courthouse blacks and whites debated everything from animal rights to slavery.

"It's racial profiling," said Bill Brown, a Richmond store owner who held a sign urging Vick's fair treatment. "We're always trying to brush everything up under the rug when it comes to racial things."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, leader of the most vocal Vick protests, says the issue isn't racial.

"We're reacting very strongly to this case because Michael Vick is someone who's a hero ... If this were Peyton Manning or Brett Favre, we'd be out there," spokesman Dan Shannon said.

Both NFL quarterbacks are white.

Vick's case is a "crack in the dam" of American racial tension, explained Jeff Menzise, assistant director of the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University in Tennessee.

Whites, he said, may have underlying anger at blacks they feel constantly play the race card. Blacks, meanwhile, may feel whites rush to judge black suspects, but are more lenient to white ones, Menzise said. A case like Vick's offers a vent for those frustrations.

"When you dam up a river, any crack in that dam and every drop of water is going to try and get out," he said.

Menzise said blacks may despise dogfighting but support Vick as a figure of black success in a society in which there are relatively few.

At his Richmond clothing store, Brown said he'll continue stocking Vick merchandise, though others have pulled it from shelves. He likened black support for Vick's cause to the support for O.J. Simpson's acquittal.

"Black people didn't care about O.J.," he said. "But we felt like we finally won."

tommy said...

The NAACP's double standard.

Anonymous said...

"Virginia is a hotbed of Al Qaeda infiltration."

Proof, please.

By David

The following search engine queries are instructive:

virginia wahabi
virginia jihad
virginia jihadi
virginia al qaeda

Or just read Paul Sperry. Or Steven Emerson.

There is a wahabi/jihadi corrider i.e. network emerging in VA. It stretches south from DC/Alexandria.

Also, Wahabi mosque prayer groups have been doing firearm practice in the VA woods for many years. But that's their constitutional right, of course. It's analogous to all the Christian shooting ranges and Christian gun camps spread across America. Nothing to worry about.

But boy oh boy, I couldn't sleep at all last night thinking about all the dogfighting conspiracies being hatched across the nation. I feel dogfighting must be a top priority for the FBI. Don't you? It's much too important to leave to the Sheriff or local authorities. In fact, it would help to relieve my mind if CIA and NSA were called in also.

Anonymous said...

The bigger problem with dogfighting is in the Hispanic community. I was living in a small town in Texas a few years back when a local story broke about it. A Mexican immigrant who worked in animal control i.e. the dog catcher had pit bulls trained to fight. He was brought up on animal cruelty charges.

Also, there was some research done a few decades ago indicating that violent criminals often have less not more testosterone than the average male. Maybe you guys shouldn't necessarily take muscle tone as evidence of high testosterone levels.

peewee said...

Anonymous said...

But boy oh boy, I couldn't sleep at all last night thinking about all the dogfighting conspiracies being hatched across the nation. I feel dogfighting must be a top priority for the FBI.

And why is the FBI wasting time investigating NBA referees?

Anonymous said...

And why is the FBI wasting time investigating NBA referees?

Apples & Oranges.

Vick staged private dogfights in his own backyard. The corrupt NBA referee case encompasses mafia, racketeering, massive public fraud.

Consider that the NBA ref is perpetrating a fraud on 1) the fans in the arena 2) the fans watching on TV 3) the fans of any other team affected by the outcome of the fixed games and on and on...

In other words what is the value of a ticket to a fixed NBA basketball game?

In the NBA example there is massive fraud on the public which, if the FBI doesn't control, will cause an eventual collapse of the league and weaken the U.S. sports economy in general. Not to mention put a big dent in the public trust.

It's perfectly appropriate for the FBI to deter bigtime racketeering and fraud.

On the hand, there was smalltime gambling and significant animal abuse going on in Vick's world. The State of Virginia or the local county could've stepped in and ended the dogfights years ago with significant fines and probation for the major players. Vick is a celeb. All the authorities had to do was bring the situation to light and the NFL would've forced Vick to choose between a football future and a dogfighting future. End of story. No more wealthy patron for the dogfighting ring.

But a careerist at the FBI saw an opportunity and started a years long undercover operation.

Let's hope that no Al Qaeda plot comes to fruition in Virginia anytime soon. In a sane world, the FBI brass would then have to explain why precious resources went to the Vick case instead of imminent threats to public safety. But, of course, no one was fired from FBI after 9/11. So, the careerist running the Vick case has likely made a prudent judgment that there will be no day of reckoning.

David Davenport said...

All the authorities had to do was bring the situation to light and the NFL would've forced Vick to choose between a football future and a dogfighting future. End of story. ...

How do you know that? How do you the NFL bosses weren't warned about Vick, and then they did nothing? The NFL knew about Pacman Jones, and dragged their feet before suspending him.

(Nice little Pac apparently did something worse than Vick is accused of. Pacman incited his bodyguard to shoot a Las Vegas club bouncer, leaving the bouncer paralyzed.)

... No more wealthy patron for the dogfighting ring.

And that's a good thing, don't you agree?

...But a careerist at the FBI saw an opportunity and started a years long undercover operation. ...

How do you know that the FBI initiated the investigation? Is it possible someone with a grudge against Vick or some smaller fish arrested for dogfighting dropped a strong case against Vick in the FBI's lap, such that the Feds had to act, or risk being accused of a cover-up?