Thursday, May 21, 2009

From The Slackmistress - On Michael Vick

Michael Vick was released into house arrest yesterday, after serving 18 months in a Federal Prison. Unless you've been living under a rock - and a big one at that - you'll know that he was sent there for dogfighting charges. Most of the dogs were killed - either in the ring or at the hands of Vick and his cohorts. The ones that were lucky enough to make it out alive found their way into the very few (and I stress very few) rescues that had the skills and resources available to rehab a fighting dog.

As you can see, most of the Vick dogs - dogs that had been abused, beaten, starved, and fought - are now family pets, therapy dogs, and canine ambassadors. You can what happened to them here.

But what about Michael Vick? The ex-quarterback will be on house arrest for two months, missing out on the 2009 season. While still on suspension, he can petition to be reinstated to the NFL in 2010.

One can argue a million-dollar home in Norfolk, VA isn't exactly punishment, but the reality is Vick has served his sentence. As Jason Smith, the talk radio jock who hosts All Night With Jason Smith, said last night on his show, do not confuse that with paying his debt to society.

Unlike the dogs that survived his wrath, here's no indication that Vick has been rehabbed. There's talks that he might do a series of PSA with the Humane Society or PeTA (which is ironic since PeTA wants to kill pit bulls dead <-- note that this link includes some ugly images) but that's more about rehabbing Vick's image. He's a PR nightmare, but he's a PR nightmare who has played professional football, which means that there might be a team out there desperate enough to sign him.

I've seen plenty of images of dogs who were used as fighters, of dogs that were used as bait. You don't need to take a class in ethics to know that dogfighting is wrong. You just need a single shred of humanity.

However, we do have a legal system in this country, and no matter what you think of it, when he's done with house arrest Vick will have served his sentence. The NFL has every right to reinstate Vick for 2010. But more so than any PSA, than any post-prison interview, than any in-depth feature in ESPN magazine, the NFL has a chance to show current and future players who break the law - especially in such a cruel and tortuous way - will not be tolerated.

If you feel the same way, please email or call NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and ask him to not reinstate Michael Vick:
Telephone #: 1-212-450-2000 or (212) 450-2027

On twitter: @nflcommish

I understand that there are other NFL players who have done terrible things and continue to play. This is not to say that I think that I think one thing is worse than the other, or that those crimes committed do not warrant the same judgment. But as a pit bull owner and a football fan, this one strikes close to home.


Nina Bargiel
the slackmistress

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