Monday, April 11, 2005

"Hi, I'm Michael Vick for Valtrex ..."

"I've been outbreak free for nearly a year.
Just one Valtrex a day helps reduce the number of outbreaks."

Everyone's heard the commercial that touts Valtrex as an aid to reduce genital herpes. Apparently everyone beside uber-talented and uber-gorgeous NFL quarterback Michael Vick.

The Smoking Gun just released documentation that shows the Falcons star is being sued for negligence and battery after allegedly knowingly passing herpes. A 26-year-old Georgia woman, filed the suit. Sonya Elliot says that she was infected with the STD in April 2003 after unprotected sex with the star quarterback at his suburban Atlanta home.

After testing positive for herpes simplex 2, Elliot says she confronted the man who wears the lucky number seven for the Falcons. "I've got something to tell you. I've got it," the deposition claims. Vick wasn't talking about a catching a pass; he fumbled this one. The suit alleges that he had prior knowledge, and later admitted that he was aware of his condition.

This is just the latest volume in that long-running reality show, Brothers Behaving Badly. As a pro baller, Vick would routinely be subjected to a battery of physicals, tests and exams. It's difficult to imagine that Vick wouldn't know that he had herpes; the symptoms are obvious and painful.

"Let me just put the head in ..."

The action claims that plaintiff and athlete had an ongoing sexual relationship last spring, and Elliott routinely requested that Vick use condoms. Apparently one time he did not, and uttered the line every straight boy and top learns from birth: let me just put the head in. Wrong choice.

There is no cure for herpes simplex 2. Left unchecked it can cause sterility and other concerns. Valtrex is the only medication avaliable and it's expensive; low-cost 'net pharmacies sell a one-month supply of 500mg tabs for $222. But there are other costs associated with women: frequent ob/gyn visits are necessary and, of course, pregnancy risks. That alone should give Vick and his attorneys pause, but they want to fight this.

Elliott's action does not specify monetary damages. There's nothing for Vick to gain from litigation unless he is planning to say what every celeb cries when they are prosecuted or sued: it's all about the money. He has plenty, and can well afford expensive STD therapy and meds. Vick is one of the sport's marquee players. Last December he signed a ten-year, $130 million contract with the Falcons, the richest deal in league history.

Trojans would have been cheaper

But Vick is only 24 years old, and has many more years to learn that slipping on a jimmy always costs much less in the long run.

The lawsuit has larger ramifications than the inevitable settlement that the star quarterback will be forced into. Elliot's lawsuit alleges that Vick used the alias "Ron Mexico" "for the purpose of herpes testing and/or treatment." In order to obtain that information, Vick's medical records will have to be subpoeaned; it seems that they already have. Georgia's laws allow full disclosure without consent in HIV and STD cases, as long as a willing judge signs the waiver.

To say the timing is bad would be an understatement. The league is already reeling from bad publicity over steroid use and the Vikings scalping scam. Unfortunately, the sex, steroid and scalping scandals are overshadowing some positives in the off-season, such as Vick's teammate Warrick Dunn recently attending the dedication of the USO's Pat Tillman Center in Afghanistan. The league donated $250,000 for the center. Vick could only pray for a settlement that low.