Friday, August 14, 2009
So in the interim of my long DCB hiatus, Michael Vick got released from two years of prison and house arrest for running a dogfighting ring, and has now signed with the Eagles.
Now, what Vick did was fairly reprehensible in a moral sense, though probably not too far removed from, say, running a greyhound racing track. He bred dogs in abusive circumstances for the purpose of adult entertainment and gambling purposes, and of course eventually killed off the animals that ceased to be useful.
According to pet owners, however, Vick basically shot the president, killed his kids and then skullraped their corpses. There is a subset of the population that wants Vick to never work gainfully or have any sort of a life ever again.
This is understandable in the sense that most pet owners have a maniacal, obsessive love for animals... and hold dogs and cats in an esteem they don't even grant their fellow human loved ones. It is this obsessive love that fuels the hateful bile of animal rights activism in general and organizations like PETA, which has come a long way from their rightful causes of the 80's (such as their villianization of orangutan trainer Bobby Berosini for beating his trained animals)... cultivating some outrageous causes to protest against over recent years.
So it's no surprise that they tirelessly vilify Michael Vick, and would not be a surprise if they chose to vilify him regardless of his penance paid or future actions for the rest of his life.
As morally reprehensible as his act was, animal lovers have painted Michael Vick as a far greater sociocultural enemy than he ultimately is. What he did was wrong and he served a career and life wrecking two year prison sentence as penance, which is justifiable. He leaves prison with dim career prospects, insurmountable personal debt and the negative social stigma of a felonious organized criminal. Oh yes, and genital herpes (though he had that well before his arrest). Prison's purpose is to break a life that has gained through wrongful terms, and it's clear that Michael Vick emerges from the punitive catacombs a man whose life is broken, possibly beyond repair.
But that's not enough for scorned dog lovers. With an obsession typically reserved for celebrity stalkers, PETA, pundits and citizens across America keep the torches lit and soaked in gasoline to further destroy and destroy and destroy any chance Michael Vick has at salvaging his life until there's nothing left to destroy but ashes that one of these nutbars will somehow chemically reconstitute into a destroyable form so that everyone has something to destroy in his name again. Frankly, I'm surprised someone hasn't tried to kill him yet.
At some point, dog lovers ought to accept that Michael Vick organized a criminally malicious dog fighting ring, was caught and has paid an uncanny penance whose scope stretches far beyond the legal terms of his sentence. And they ought to do the one thing they seem unwilling to do: Move on.
Let the man collect his relatively marginal paycheck (well, relative to NFL standards and relative to his millions of dollars in debt) to be a career backup. He wasn't a productive quarterback, and he's reaching an age where his durability and football skills will begin to diminish, if two years imprisoned haven't already began taking them away. His career is likely not long for the NFL, and there's likely no endorsement or TV deals waiting for him on the other side. Michael Vick will spend the rest of his life scrambling not downfield, but around millions of dollars in debt that will not be forgiven until everything to his name is liquidated and absorbed by all lending parties, leaving him a penniless man whose legacy is a stint of organized crime and the unforgiving bile of a large, dog obsessed segment of the American public.