Portis Recants Words About Dogfighting

Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis said yesterday that his controversial remarks about dogfighting were insensitive and that he now realizes he “shouldn’t have made the comments.” The remarks overshadowed news that the running back’s tendinitis is progressing well, according to Bubba Tyer, the team’s director of sports medicine. Portis will miss the team’s minicamp (June 15-17) but the Redskins “fully expect” Portis will be ready for training camp in late July. Portis, 25, created a storm of criticism a few weeks ago when asked about Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, who is under investigation for dogfighting at a property he owned in Virginia. At the time, Portis told a Norfolk television station: “It’s his dogs. If that’s what he wants to do, do it.” Those remarks drew a rebuke from Commissioner Roger Goodell, who said, “I’m extremely disappointed and embarrassed for Clinton Portis.” Portis then reiterated his belief that dogfighting — a felony in Virginia — was not that serious a crime during an interview on the NFL Network in late May, but was remorseful when speaking to local reporters for the first time this offseason yesterday at Redskins Park.

“A couple of weeks ago, when I made those comments I didn’t understand the seriousness behind it,” Portis said. “I didn’t know it would affect that many people, and didn’t think what I said was that offensive. But after doing some research and seeing how serious people take this, I shouldn’t have made the comments. I’m going to just leave it alone and hopefully it will die down and people will understand that. At that time I had no idea the love people have for animals, and I didn’t consider it when I made those comments.” Portis said he received an outpouring of mail and informational pamphlets from critics, and paid more attention to the way humans and animals interact. He recently noticed a woman caring for her dog at an airport and thought about television coverage of people weeping over a whale that was stuck in a canal, and reconsidered his remarks.

Portis also said he believes part of the comments from his television interview were taken out of context — the rest of the interview had been lighthearted and funny, he said — but nonetheless wishes he had kept his mouth shut when asked about Vick. “From now on I don’t comment on nobody,” Portis said. “My life is the only thing I control. What other people do, I’m going to let them continue doing it.” What a lame comment; if I was a betting man (actually I am), I would go so far as to say that the Redskins’ front office told Portis to clear any comments through them before saying anything. This highlights Portis’ ignorance. Like my mom used to tell me a long time ago – if you don’t have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all.

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