Of all the things in this world that I do not understand, Michael Vick’s return to a lucrative career in the spotlight baffles me.
The man is a convicted felon. Since when is a convicted felon a role model?
Yet this criminal has been offered the key to a city, a multi-million dollar contract, an “sportmanship award” (of all ridiculous things) sponsored by Subway, and an endorsement contract with Nike.
Are there really so few talented professional athletes in the United States that we need to heap all this money and acclaim on a convicted felon?
Michael Vick tortured, maimed, and killed dogs. For fun and profit. For me, that immediately puts him into the category of irredeemably subhuman. In addition to the hideous animal cruelty, let’s consider everything that goes with dogfighting.
Drugs. Prostitution. Illegal gambling. Money laundering. And all the violence that accompanies each of these.
Michael Vick broke many, many laws and killed or irreparably damaged many, many animals. And those are just the crimes we know of. I do not believe for one minute that the full extent of his criminal activities will ever be revealed or paid for.
Yes, he did his time (although he should have had a much harsher sentence). Yes, he has the right to work at his chosen profession. Yes, he has the right to rebuild his life and try to become a better person.
Here are my problems with this mess.
Truthfully, I do not believe that Michael Vick has really changed. You have to be truly lacking in empathy and indeed have a huge void where your soul should be to get off on hurting animals for sport. I don’t believe that defect is fixable. And incidentally, I remain appalled that the Humane Society of the United States considers him rehabilitated and a good prospect for future pet ownership. Giving this man access to a dog would be tantamount to giving a child abuser custody of a child: inappropriate, potentially dangerous, and just plain irresponsible.
Even if he has changed for the better, Michael Vick should NOT be held up as a role model for our society. Really, no matter how forgiving you are, is this man someone you want your kids to emulate? Yesterday, I saw people on Facebook complain that “the brutha” went to jail for killing a dog while an accused child killer was acquitted. I don’t know what bothered me most – that they were implying that the dog’s suffering and death were irrelevant, or that they were claiming a certain sociological kinship with him by calling him “brutha.”
If Subway, Nike, and the Eagles had not gone out of their way to glorify this convicted felon, would the general public be so quick to dismiss his crimes? I don’t think so, and I will refuse to support any business that tries to make a hero or a martyr out of Michael Vick.
I have not forgotten. I will not forget. And neither will the millions of responsible humans offended by the glorification of a dog torturing convicted felon.