So Michael Vick is well on his way to NFL reinstatement — if, that is, he can find a team to call home.
Is it fair that Vick is free to stretch out and play without a bothersome leg bracelet cramping his style, while so many dogs — themselves natural, talented athletes who live to play — have been robbed of their lives by his hand?
Many of these magnificent pit bulls are available for adoption, several have managed to find the loving new homes they deserve. Two of them, Leo and Hector, now do volunteer work as therapy dogs, visiting hospital patients to spread cheer. Leo does dog’s work in California; Hector’s home base is Minnesota. But the 22 canine survivors of Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels that were sent to Utah’s Best Friends Animal Society for rehabilitation wear the physical and psychological scars of Vick’s abuse. One of them, Georgia, has no teeth in her pretty head because Vick arranged for some lousy veterinarian to pull them. We don’t know that Dr. Mengele’s name, so he or she is still at large and practicing. How reassuring.
Two years ago, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Vick indefinitely, he said Vick must show remorse before he would consider reinstating him. Vick sure snowed him. “I accept that you are sincere when you say that you want to, and will, turn your life around, and that you intend to be a positive role model for others,”Goodell wrote in his recent letter to Vick. “I am prepared to offer you that opportunity.”
While I would love to believe it’s possible for a convicted felon — even one who laughingly boasted about drowning, electrocuting, and fatally body-slamming the dogs in his care when they didn’t perform — to miraculously evolve overnight into an animal-loving role model, please forgive my skepticism.
Animal lovers all over the country are outraged by Vick’s reversal of fortune. Witness the emergence of anti-Vick websites and Facebook groups such as “Boycott every sponsor of the NFL until Michael Vick is gone!”
Committing crimes against animals is no less grave than committing crimes against people. It’s an assault on humanity and it should not be rewarded with any vote of confidence, especially one from the NFL. Why is animal abuse so easy for some people to forgive, when compelling evidence shows that those who harm animals are very likely to also inflict harm on children?
Look at Michael Vick’s mug. Is that really the face of remorse? You can laugh at PETA all you want; I often do because the organization is all for banning pit bulls and supports the entirely un-American efforts of legislators to enforce breed-specific legislation that would make pits illegal to own as pets. However, PETA did something that made me want to cheer: the group withdrew its offer to do an anti-dogfighting TV spot with Vick, stating that his behavior fit the established profile for anti-social personality disorder (APD).