Me and Michael Vick

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Dogs, Cats, Pets, Animals

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I have a t-shirt with a cartoon of a dog peeing on a football with a number seven on it. The inscription reads “My Dog Hates Vick!” I bought it when the news come out.

I’ve never felt quite right wearing it.

The facts state that Michael Vick did horrible inexcusable things to dogs that I don’t understand. The argument that it had something to do with culture doesn’t fit quite right with me.

Yet, I type this with a leather belt holding up my pants.

I love dogs. I love dogs more than a lot of people.

Not everyone does. Some people see animals as things to utilize. Some people will quote the bible on such things. In some cultures dogs are eaten which I find repulsive yet we glorify the eating of other animals.

I went vegetarian three years ago–one who eats fish–which gives me a special veggy name. I drink milk and eat cheese and I know cows are treated poorly. The fish I eat certainly don’t appreciate it.

After Michael Vick got out of prison there was a big PR campaign about how he was going to give speeches discouraging inner city youth from getting involved in dog fighting.

This year he’s been getting all sorts of press for being great on the football field. I thought to myself that you didn’t hear anything more about the crumb making speeches about being kind to animals.

I did a little research to see what a hypocrite Vick was.

Turns out he isn’t. He’s kept his word and he regularly speaks to kids about abusing animals being wrong. He still doing it this year. In fact dog fighting is down across the country probably related to all the negative publicity around Vick’s case.

I don’t want to cheer for him and it isn’t up to me to forgive him. Calling what he did a mistake seems way too trivial.

Yet, he’s kept his word. He did something rotten and now he’s doing something he said he would to prevent it from happening in the future.

Is it enough? Doesn’t seem like it but I don’t think that’s my existential call either.

I won’t wear a green number seven.

But I don’t feel right actively hating the man either.

  1. Jen Forbus says:

    These are very good thoughts on the subject. Personally, my feeling is this: the man did things he knew were wrong. He did them for entertainment purposes, not to sustain life or anything of that nature…he did them to entertain people in an ILLEGAL arena.

    I don’t care how good he is on the field this year – or any year, I don’t think he should have been allowed back in the NFL. I’m a firm believer that if you CHOOSE to do things you KNOW are wrong, then you also are choosing the consequences that come with them. He got off easy. But, since I’ve foresaken that part of our culture (pro sports), I guess it doesn’t matter.

    Maybe…just maybe…when they let a person out of jail who viciously and knowingly kills a human being…and they excuse that person their wrongs because he/she goes around speaking about the evils of murder to urban kids…maybe then I’ll have the ability to excuse Michael Vick his sins, too.

  2. Amy says:

    Nicely put. What he did in the past was horrible, but I guess he’s doing the most positive thing he can right now, given the circumstances. I’ll never see him as a hero, but I can’t condemn him if he is being part of the solution.

    There’s a great video on youtube with Wayne Pacelle from HSUS speaking about Vick’s turnaround

  3. Ginny says:

    Like Jen said.

  4. marycunningham says:

    My husband and I had this discussion yesterday. I believe you can do horrible wrongs and be rehabilited. I think Vick is doing what he HAS to do in order to play in the NFL. I have yet to see him express remorse about all the suffering he caused those dogs. Instead I believe he’s remorseful about all the suffering he caused himself.

    If he’d just ONCE break down and say how sorry he was for his cruelty, maybe I’d begin to forgive him.


  5. Becca says:

    I have mixed feelings. I tend to agree with Mary. I think he would do it again because I don’t think he feels anything for those dogs. But…playing football is his job. It’s disgusting that he gets kudos and money and glory. But anyone should be able to go back to the job they can do. I felt the same about Tyson. He served his time and boxing was his job. Tom, where have you heard that dog fighting has decreased?

  6. Jen basically wrote my entire comment. I could not have stated it better myself.

    Vick got caught. He would most likely still be involved in the murder of dogs had he not been caught and forced to speak out against this blood sport.

    Cat, Chaps and Emma

  7. Tanya says:

    You can’t blame Vick for playing football again but you can blame the organization. I said I would stop watching pro football if they let him back in and I have but tell me…would the world be as forgiving if Michael Vick was a woman?

    As far as being a hypocrite, well I seriously doubt Vick is the one making those calls asking if he can speak in behalf of animals. I’m not buying the propaganda.


  8. I’m of two minds about Vick. Not only did he kill animals, but he did so with great cruelty and apparent enjoyment.

    However, he served his sentence, and even many murderers get out of jail someday.

    Finally, if he’s done something bad in the past, he can’t go back and change it. Instead he’s trying to make a positive difference now. I’m not 100% convinced that he’s sincere and it’s not just PR, but if he keeps doing it, and it works, does it matter what he really feels in his heart?

  9. D. B. Dean says:

    You all think your conflicted?

    I hunt. Have been on cover of a hunting magazine. I use the deer for my dog who has a food allergy to dog food. I shoot and kill animals, technically for sport, although we use all parts of the animal.

    I think dog fighting is wrong and its illegal. But if he served his time and is making amends…everyone deserves a second chance. And to lose your job for a bad choice made in an area that has nothing to do with your job isn’t right. Should a person who gets a DUI lose everything. What about infidelity. Tiger Woods did something most deem morally wrong. Should he lose his job, house etc.?

    Vic did the crime
    he did his time
    he deserves a second chance.

    my two bits.

  10. Pasquale Palumbo says:

    What D. B. said.

  11. Becca says:

    He can play football to earn a living. But I don’t have to watch him. And I don’t care how much he “pays” for his crimes, I certainly wouldn’t want to live next door to him. Or even be in the same building.

  12. Tez says:

    I think everybody makes mistakes and we shouldn’t be given the power to judge. It’s amazing that a child molester gets less time then Michael Vick, or that BP oil(speaking of remorse their CEO was off racing his yacht while it was going on) killed whole species of fish without jail time. First of all Dog fighting was going on long before Vick. I’m not in agreement with it nor am I a big fan of dogs. I simple have a problem with the value system. What makes Michael Vick scarier to be in a room with than a child molester or a thief or a white collar stock exchange company exec ripping of people of there lifesaving’s or the people who were giving out housing loans to people they knew couldn’t afford them.

    • marycunningham says:

      Tez, To justify your statement that white collar crime is, somehow, just as bad or worse than killing dogs because you’re not a big fan of dogs is the same problem that fosters dog fighting today. “What’s wrong with it? They’re just dogs!”

      The difference is cruelty. Cruelty to a defenseless animal. Most seriel killers have killed and tortured animals in their early lives. I’m not minimizing what the banks, hedge fund operators, mortgage brokers and BP have done to this country, especially the middle class (I’m one of those hurt!), and I certainly agree with you on child molesters. Children are also defenseless. But there’s simply no comparison with what Vick and his buddies did to dogs and white collar crime.

  13. B Noonan says:

    Here’s an interesting take on it all:

    Sometimes it’s tough for people who grew up in certain economic situations to see how it is for people who grew up differently than themselves. And vice versa.

  14. Tanya says:

    You can’t deny that kids look to sport stars as heros. Some stars do not like that but with the job comes great responsibility. Sure I think he should get a second chance in society but not in the NFL.

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