Thursday, December 10, 2009

Michael Vick is no person to cheer for!

Transcript from this episode of The Web-DVM:

My personal comment tonight once again takes us back to our old nemesis Michael Vick. As you well know, Michael Vick was arrested in July 2007 and later convicted of participating in, funding, and providing the venue for the raising of dogs for the blood sport of dog fighting. At the time it happened, the Atlanta Falcons fans were appalled by this man, felt betrayed to their core, and could not run him out of town fast enough. Back then I wondered to myself, do these people revile Vick more for his crimes, or for what his arrest did to their beloved football franchise. After all, the Falcons had recently signed a new coach who later left the team mid-season because of the turmoil left behind in the wake of Vick's departure, and they had traded Vick's talented back up Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans - this franchise was in trouble. Then it occurred to me that whatever the people's motivation was really irrelevant, since Vick would for life remain a pariah, one that no NFL franchise would risk tarnishing their image to sign. I mean, O.J got acquitted and we never saw him make another Naked Gun Movie! Boy was I wrong.

Still, when Vick served his time as mandated by our animal cruelty inept criminal justice system, when Philadelphia actually showed interest in signing Vick, I actually supported Roger Goodell's decision to allow him back into the NFL. For one, having grown up in northeast NJ on the other end of the turnpike supporting NY teams, I favored anything that would make the Philadelphia Eagles look bad. But also, I figured he served his time, and as much as I despised him, he earned the right to make a living the only way he has ever known how. And if the creep is going to be free, might as well let him work so that the country can at least benefit from his income tax revenue.

That was my thinking until this past week, when the Philadelphia Eagles visited the Falcons to play in a year that has been marred for Atlanta by a disappointing season in large part because of the play of second year quarterback, Matt Ryan, who left high expectations following his breakout, amazing rookie season performance last year. I did not see the game for myself, but watched ESPN Sportcenter report later on that Philadelphia pretty much manhandled Atlanta, in a game that featured Vick make a few impressive plays which included a touchdown pass. I then felt my hair stand up as ESPN reported that, frustrated with their own team's performance, Atlanta fans started chanting, "We want Mike, we want Mike!", every time Vick took the field or Atlanta did not play well in later quarters.

That crowd showed me a lot that day. They proved that the people of Atlanta did not reject Vick for what he did to those 60 and likely hundreds of other dogs. They rejected him only because of the state that his actions left their football team in, without an identity, without a leader, without a coach, and unable to win. Few really ever gave a dam about those canine victims, they were just upset that their ability to win football games was compromised.

For the record, I completely and unequivocally rescind any support I had for allowing Michael Vick back in the NFL, because my past position was begotten from an overestimation of the notion that my fellow citizens would never embrace this man again, and certainly not elevate him to the status of hero, after knowing what really is in his heart. He does not belong back in the NFL because America clearly values having a winning football team over compassion for animals that were sadistically brutalized for entertainment! And as long as our citizens have such little regard for the suffering of other living beings, the best message we can send in a case like Vick's is that someone like him will simply not be allowed return to the NFL, a place where all is forgiven as long as you play well for our team. The best message we can send, is to render him insignificant.

I will leave you with one last thought. Before you consider jumping on the Vick bandwagon and cheering for him, consider this. By all accounts Michael Vick had participated in and loved the cruel sport of dog fighting since he was a teenager. He had the world at his finger tips, a lucrative playing contract, the status of being the name and face of a franchise, all kinds of endorsement revenue, and still, he was willing to risk it all for the rush, for the pleasure of having his very own dog fighting ring and houses of torture to cultivate the most tormented and mean dogs to inflict the most violence on their opponents. He loved it all so much that he would risk all that!

You think that 16 months of jail time takes that level of cruelty out of someone's heart? Think again. When you cheer for that man, you cheer for the very worst in humanity.

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website


kurt70 said...

I am appalled about what Vick was involved in - no doubt! But not allowing him back into the NFL after he has served his time is just wrong.

What he did was wrong, but the NFL has history of forgiving players who have done some very bad things. Ray Lewis, for example, was involoved in a nightclu fight that led to the murder of 2 men. They let him back in the league, and he got out of serving any time because he paid off the victims families to drop the charges.

Mark Chmura was araigned on charges of sexual assault on a minor - acquitted, but many believe that that was the result of expensive, good lawyering.and he did not miss a beat on teh playing field.

Nate Newton on 2 different occasions was busted with over 175 pounds of Marijuana - do you know how much weed that is?? And he was let back in the league.

Alonzo Spellman - DUI arrest, terrorizing a passenger flight, which included threatening the pilot telling him he is "about to rip your throat our!"

Mark Gastineau - Drug possession and woman beating (which included burning the victim with a cigarrette lighte!)

I could go on and on. The point is, to not allow Vick to be readmitted into the league to make a living the only way he can, would be outright hypocrisy. How can you justify freezing him out, when all of these other sociopaths were let back in after some pretty nasty crime in their own right.

Roger Welton, DVM said...

Well, those sociopaths should not have been allowed back in the NFL either!

Jan said...

Kurt makes a good point that we should not consider the gravity of these other crimes perpetrated by NFL thugs to be any less severe than what Vick did. If we do, we run the risk of coming off like kooky animal rights people.

Still, it is very upsetting to see people cheering for this monster, but I will not sign on to the idea that this occurs because people generally do not take animal cruelty crimes seriously. This is just another example of professional athletes being held to less of a standard of conduct than the rest of us.

Because we cannot throw a ball, run very fast, and be the sports hero, us mere mortals are held to a higher standard. I can assure you this, a convicted felon would not get his job back at McDonalds. They would not take on that kind of bad PR.

Isn't it funny that McDonalds has higher employee standards than the NFL and its fans?

callie79 said...

I nearly cried when I first heard the news of what this man did, and hated him as much as the next person. But I have known people that have done some pretty bad things that they are truly sorry for, whether getting caught or other circumstances that led to their change of heart. To condemn this man, assuming that he is not capable of of feeling remorse for what he did beyon simply getting caught is unfair. We do not know what is in his mind.

While it is still hard to look at him enjoy himself on the field and see poeple cheer for him, I still think that our humanity must at least offer anyone who served their time, a second chance.