Green Room

Is Michael Vick a True Animal Rights Advocate or Just a Hypocrite?

posted at 11:09 am on July 20, 2011 by

Yesterday, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick appeared before Congress. His purpose was two-fold. On its face, his visit was to advocate for the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2011, which would make penalties stiffer for conducting or participating as a spectator in an animal fight.

A secondary motive for Vick’s appearance was to underscore his contrition at having taken part himself in this most grisly and barbaric of “sports,” the end result of which was a sentence of nearly two years in prison and what would turn out to be a temporary banishment from the National Football League. As Vick explained to Congress:

In prison I told myself I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. These laws are not to punish people, but prevent people from getting involved.

Congress was not the only stop for Vick on yesterday’s redemption tour. He also appeared, along with his new BFF, Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle, on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. The portion of the chat that was televised last night can be accessed here.


Clearly on some level, Vick wants your forgiveness. At the very least, he wants to be liked and knows there is a large segment of the population who find his past actions repulsive.

In comments to articles I have written previously, Vick’s defenders have reminded those who still harbor resentment that “the Christian thing to do” is to “turn the other cheek.” I wonder how many of those champions of mercy know the particulars of the unspeakable atrocities for which Vick was convicted and punished.

These are spelled out in a 17-page report by the USDA’s inspector general investigations division dated August 28, 2008. The report reveals that Vick and the two friends who helped finance his dog-fighting enterprise, Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips, “thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs … injure or kill the other dogs.”

The report also states that Vick, Peace and Phillips lynched three dogs that failed to perform up to snuff “by placing a nylon cord over a 2-x-4 that was nailed to two trees located next to the big shed.” The report further maintains that the three men drowned another “three dogs by putting the dogs’ heads in a five gallon bucket of water.”

Vick’s sins against humanity do not stop at depraved indifference and murder. They also include lying. As the report notes, he initially told authorities that “while he assisted Phillips and Peace in the killing of the dogs, he did not actually kill the dogs,” a statement that was proven false by a polygraph test:

Vick failed the examination as it related to the killing of the dogs in April 2007. Ultimately, Vick recanted his previous statement wherein he said he was not actually involved in the killing of six to eight dogs. … Vick admitted taking part in the actual hanging of of the dogs.

It is clear from last night’s interview that Vick, whether he has seen the light with respect to dog fighting, hasn’t yet learned his lesson about the evils of lying. He said of dog fighting:

I got nothing out of it. And the sad part is I was just about to walk away from it.

The second part of this statement is unprovable and may or may not be true. But the first part is demonstrably false. Vick’s primary role in the Bad Newz Kennels operation was as financier. He provided most of the money for the gambling side of the operation and was well-compensated in exchange.

He continues to be well-compensated, albeit not as handsomely as he was when he played for the Atlanta Falcons prior to this suspension. Nevertheless, Vick is still pulling in $1.6 million per season—an amount that is sure to rise significantly at his next contract negotiation. In addition, he recently signed a lucrative endorsement deal with sports apparel manufacturer Nike.

Money of the kind Michael Vick rakes in could be used to speak far more eloquently than the jock himself ever could. And it should be used for that. If Vick is truly remorseful for the evil that he did, he should donate generously to the building of much-needed animal shelters and other relief and rescue efforts.

Talk is cheap. And Vick is a better quarterback than he is a public speaker. What do you say, Michael?

Related Articles

Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at howard.portnoy@gmail.com or by posting a comment below.

 

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Vick’s sins against humanity do not stop at depraved indifference and murder.

Killing dogs as Vick did is reprehensible and criminal, but it is not murder. No need to cheapen your argument with hyperbole. As for the substantive question, is Vick an animal rights advocate or just a hypocrite, I don’t think anyone knows that except Vick himself at this point. It could go either way IMHO. He may still be growing in the lessons he learned in prison. Or maybe not, or maybe he never really learned any such lessons, but just played along while serving time in order to get back to the NFL as quickly as possible. For now, he at least is making some effort to present himself as a decent person and that is a huge improvement over where he was a few years back, and where many of his fellow players are.

jwolf on July 20, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Killing dogs as Vick did is reprehensible and criminal, but it is not murder. No need to cheapen your argument with hyperbole.

jwolf on July 20, 2011 at 11:22 AM

I will believe that animal cruelty laws mean something when killing unborn children elicits equal outrage. Until then, I look at dog lovers railing against Michael Vick with a jaundiced eye.

gryphon202 on July 20, 2011 at 12:16 PM

I could care less if he’s a hypocrate or not. I won’t watch him because I can’t stand running quarterbacks that think they can win the entire game by themselves.

crazy_legs on July 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

It takes a certain personality to inflict as much pain and suffering that Vick did on those animals. He’s disgusting and I want nothing to do with him or the people who support him.

Blake on July 20, 2011 at 6:51 PM

In comments to articles I have written previously, Vick’s defenders have reminded those who still harbor resentment that “the Christian thing to do” is to “turn the other cheek.” I wonder how many of those champions of mercy know the particulars of the unspeakable atrocities for which Vick was convicted and punished.

I missed the passage in the Gospels where Jesus Christ said “turn the other cheek…unless there is a 17 page report.”

uknowmorethanme on July 20, 2011 at 8:03 PM

I missed the passage in the Gospels where Jesus Christ said “turn the other cheek…unless there is a 17 page report.”

I’m hardly an expert on the bible, and that goes double for the New Testament. But unless Matthew was not a Christian, I have no idea what you’re gassing on about? Do you?

Howard Portnoy on July 20, 2011 at 8:13 PM

I don’t know that it matters what motivates Vick as long as he does the right thing. He does spend some time persuading the demographic groups which abuse animals to stop abusing animals. These people sure wouldn’t listen to me, PETA, and probably just about anyone from the Humane society. They will listen to Vick. I am willing to buy any myth of redemption if I see something positive come out of it.

I would guess there is some ambivalence in Vick about what he is doing. But every redemption myth that is based in the human condition admits that this ambivalence is one of the steps towards redemption. In a few years, Vick will be convinced by his own words that fighting cruelty to animals is right. I doubt he keep his concentration as an excellent athlete and be discontent with his message against animal cruelty.

thuja on July 20, 2011 at 10:25 PM

I’m hardly an expert on the bible, and that goes double for the New Testament. But unless Matthew was not a Christian, I have no idea what you’re gassing on about? Do you?

Howard Portnoy on July 20, 2011 at 8:13 PM

In comments to articles I have written previously, Vick’s defenders have reminded those who still harbor resentment that “the Christian thing to do” is to “turn the other cheek.” I wonder how many of those champions of mercy know the particulars of the unspeakable atrocities for which Vick was convicted and punished.

These are spelled out in a 17-page report by the USDA’s inspector general investigations division dated August 28, 2008. The report reveals that Vick and the two friends who helped finance his dog-fighting enterprise, Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips, “thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs … injure or kill the other dogs.”

You wrote this, I didn’t make it up. Maybe you should have just omitted the “turn the other cheek” nonsense and just wrote your post.

Seems like you are saying something along the lines of “I know Jesus said turn the other cheek, but I think that’s a load of crap concerning Vick based on the details of his crimes.” That’s the vibe I got from what you wrote.

So I was snarky, it happens. But I should also note, before you go accusing Vick of murder, you should familiarize yourself with the definition.

uknowmorethanme on July 21, 2011 at 12:47 AM

Seems like you are saying something along the lines of “I know Jesus said turn the other cheek, but I think that’s a load of crap concerning Vick based on the details of his crimes.” That’s the vibe I got from what you wrote.

Your powers of perception are impressive. Turns out that’s EXACTLY what I meant. If I offended your Christian sensibilities, I apologize, but I don’t believe Vick deserves charity.

As for the rest of your complaint, you had to go miles out of your way to read the meaning you impute into that section of my article.

Howard Portnoy on July 21, 2011 at 9:36 AM