Is Michael Vick a True Animal Rights Advocate or Just a Hypocrite?
posted at 11:09 am on July 20, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
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?
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