(CSTB’s Texas Bad Newz Kennels reserve squad is transfixed by Joey Harrington’s competent drumming play)

“We couldn’t agree on the outcome of the O.J. Simpson murder trial 12 years ago and we couldn’t cheer, or boo, together during the Barry Bonds home run chase this summer. No doubt we would have argued bitterly had Kobe Bryant faced trial on a rape allegation a couple of years ago,” writes Newsday’s Wallace Matthews, “and now, we are arguing over Michael Vick.”

Maybe race does play a role in everything that happens in this country. For my own sanity and peace of mind, I choose to believe not. I think – and I hope – that Vick is going down solely on the merits of his case.

Clearly, there is hypocrisy in a society that is more outraged with Vick than, say, Brett Myers, who was charged with smacking his wife in full view of witnesses in downtown Boston, or would seek to ban Vick from the NFL while embracing Ray Lewis as “God’s Linebacker.”

But that doesn’t change the fact that Vick’s crime baffles the sensibilities to the point that you wonder if there is something seriously wrong with him. Don’t tell me about his upbringing or his environment, please. Unless he was raised by Charles Manson or Son of Sam – both white men, by the way – he would have to know that executing dogs was wrong.

But the Vick case once again exposes the great racial divide in this country, in which people who interact daily, conduct civil conversations with one another and even regard each other as “friends” can look at the same individual, the same incident, and see it completely differently.

While it does seem hard to fathom that Michael Vick was surprised to learn those in power (more of whom resemble Matthews than members of the Vick clan) would find dog fighting socially unacceptable, surely Wally is aware that dogs are executed every day?

There’s all kinds of cruelty worthy of examination, some examples of which are legal, institutionalized, and practiced by one of Newsday’s most longstanding advertisers. Michael Vick is merely the most convenient, easiest to vilify public figure available, so we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for Matthews to consider the history of Port Washington’s North Shore Animal League.

Of Lance Briggs’ demolished Lamborghini, PTI’s Tony Kornheiser exclaimed, “probably half the people who drive them, crash right away.”

I suspect the percentage is slightly lower, otherwise we’d have heard from Ralph Nader by now.