Pathetic Efforts to Rehabilitate Michael Vick’s Rep

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Once again, I log on to my computer and see the smiling face of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, celebrated by mainstream internet homepages and sport media outlets working in concert to erase all memory of Vick’s recent past as a vicious killer of dogs. There he is: vaunted gladiator of the gridiron. Athlete. Warrior. Hero.

Different words come to my mind, however: “permanent record.” Join the Ku Klux Klan…permanent record. Molest a child…permanent record. Leave a woman to drown in a car that falls off a bridge without notifying authorities…sorry, permanent record. No rep rehab for you! The same applies to the decision quarterback Vick made years back to spent his leisure time torturing dogs and seeing them torn apart by other tortured dogs. Permanent record. No question.

Once his illegal leisure activities came to light, Vick went to prison for a time. And now, short attention spans abounding, football fans and sports media hacks have forgiven Vick his crimes — that word “forgive” playing a major role in the familiar story of a man’s ability to throw a football trumping a moral compass. Sorry. It will always be permanent-record territory to me. And I’m not alone in this. Some months back, for instance, Dennis Miller took a call from a young woman on his radio show who insisted in a sweet, sugary tone that Dennis must forgive Michael Vick in the name of Christian goodness. With his usual eloquence, Dennis said (and I echoed with far less eloquence): No way!

What this caller failed to recognize is that it is not Dennis’ place…or mine…or yours…or ESPN’s…to forgive Michael Vick. He didn’t hurt Dennis. He didn’t hurt me. Or any of us. No, he hurt animals we call our “best friends,” animals that had no choice but to endure his torture. He hurt animals I love – dogs – in the most vicious, most heinous, ways possible, without remorse, without contrition. We have heard a feeble “sorry” or two from him in the name of forced repentance and career salvation, but no heartfelt condemnation of dog fighting, no effort to prevent and/or end the suffering of other animals enduring atrocities identical to those he himself once perpetrated. It’s the dogs who need to do the forgiving. And they’re not talking.

So, no, I won’t forgive Michael Vick. It’s not my place. But it is my place to choose a side in battles of right and wrong, good and evil. One look at my resume, highlighted by decades of writings about dogs, children and the link between the abuse of animals and children, and it’s no secret which side I choose.

Meanwhile, Michael Vick moves on, reveling once more, with the help of a complicit media, in his glory as football hero, Super Bowl contender, role model. But I haven’t moved on. And I won’t. And I hope all who love dogs, even those who also happen to love the Eagles, will never forget the permanent record.

One Comment

  1. LA
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    “So, no, I won’t forgive Michael Vick. It’s not my place. But it is my place to choose a side in battles of right and wrong, good and evil.”

    Lady, you need to pay more attention in church. It’s not one’s place to JUDGE, either! But judge you do…and very, very well.