Aug 17, 2009
As you have no doubt seen, the sports world is "abuzz" with the news that the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick for the upcoming season. His return is conditional and he is going to be mentored by Tony Dungy during this rehabilitation and reassessment time.
As you recall, Vick was found guilty for his involvement with a large dog fighting ring run from his property in Virginia (Bad Newz Kennels). He has spent 18 months behind bars and was released earlier this year.
In the meantime, he has negotiated with the Humane Society of the United States to function as a spokesperson against dog fighting. In fact, he and Wayne Pacelle (CEO of the HSUS) have already made two anti-dogfighting presentations in Atlanta and Chicago.
His return to the NFL is certainly causing a lot of controversy. Dog lovers from across the US are denouncing him, the Eagles, and the NFL. There are calls to boycott the Eagles season.
What do you think? For me, its been tough trying to come up with a good defendable position on this issue. I firmly believe that everyone deserves a second chance (heaven knows that I have had plenty!!) so from that aspect, Michael should be afforded that opportunity. As long as he is keeping to the straight and narrow, I suppose that it is only fair that we let him do his job (play football) and leave it at that. With a mentor like Tony Dungy, I think Michael has a better than average chance of staying true to his word and working to help resolve some of the damage he has done. For those of you who don't know Coach Dungy, he was here in Indianapolis for many seasons coaching the Colts. During that time, there were very few cases of any kind of criminal or deviant behavior by any Colts player. Compare that to the Pacers (our NBA team) who routinely have 3 or 4 players arrested each year!
But, what about the dogs? Shouldn't someone speak up for them? Shouldn't Michael be forced to live a life of regret of what could have been?
My empathy for all of the dogs involved in this horrendous sport is great, but I think we do have to look beyond the past and look towards what we can do to eliminate this crime in the future. Maybe Wayne Pacelle has the right idea..turn adversaries into allies (I hate to admit that I agree with Humane Wayne...). How would a continued punishment of Michael Vick stop dog fighting? How would keeping Michael from doing a job that he is qualified for and (in some people's eyes) good at, stop the murder of other dogs?
I firmly believe that education is the key to stopping so many of our cruel acts against our furry friends. It's really one of the top reasons that I am so excited to get out of bed each and every morning. log on to sites like this and start sharing knowledge with people. If Michael can get out there and change the minds of young men (and women) across the nation who think that it's ok to fight dogs, then I think that we need to give him the chance.
Ok..now it's your turn...let me hear your thoughts.