We've had a lot of inquiries about our reaction to the 60 Minutes interview of Michael Vick and his roll with HSUS as well, so I finally sucked it up and watched it all a short while ago. It's not something anyone in BAD RAP was particularly looking forward to since we'd really rather not see or hear him anymore than we absolutely have to, but somebody had to do it, so here we are...
With the rash of recent emails we've received it has become clear that there are still people out there who aren't aware of the particulars of this case - Some wondering if Vick might even get his dogs back now, while others think they are all dead, and some still thinking he only bankrolled the operation. But everyone seems to have strong opinions and feelings about it, so it feels like good timing to shed some light on a few things so that we can at least all come from a place of clearer perspective if we are going to judge Vick, or go easy on him.
Ultimately, it does not matter anymore what anyone thinks about Vick playing football again. He has been accepted back into the NFL and that is more a reflection on the league than anything else. This multi billion dollar corporation has proven that a conscience is not much of a necessity to big business - it has been pointed out to me that the NFL employs killers of people as well as killers of dogs. So who are we to judge Vick? But since we're all in the mood to make some kind of an assessment of MV after watching his interview with Jim Brown, I'll continue.
First it should be made clear that Vick was not simply a dog-fighter who paid his dues and now deserves that second chance at football that seems so important to some. Dogfighting was ironically labeled a "Gentleman's Sport" some decades ago in the south, and while I obviously don't agree with that moniker, I bring it up to illustrate how different Vick is from even the most common dogfighter. There were rules and ethics that demonstrated, oddly enough, the dogfighter's love for their dogs. If a dog "turned" (faced away from the opponent) twice, the match was over and the dogs weren't harmed any further. Medical supplies were on hand to dress wounds instead of killing a dog for underperforming, and the towel would be thrown in when a dog was obviously beaten and and in jeopardy of bleeding out, even though it wasn't giving up. There are even old stories of dogs going home in the baby carriage after a battle because of the affection for their dog as a family member. Now this sounds as strange to me as it probably does to you, so I just don't even try to understand it.
For those who are still not aware, Michael Vick on the other hand is the guy who not only fought dogs, but threw family pets into the pit for fun, and laughed while they were suffering "major injury." He's the guy who killed dogs in a variety of ways - one last time: hanging, drowning, shooting, repeatedly slamming their head and spine into the ground until dead, and electrocuting with jumper cables attached to their ears before being thrown into his pool. So no, not even a regular kind of dog-fighter, but an over-the-top, especially sadistic kind of man.
The 60 minutes interview did not show a man healed, it showed a man that could still not face his own demons, much as he tried to make it appear that he had. All but once he referred to the dogs as animals, because hey, they're just animals right?
Several times he spoke of what he let happen to the animals ... because these thing just happened and hey, shit happens right? And in reference to losing his money, the one and only time he finally referred to killin,' and dogs as dogs, (due to Jim Brown's prodding) he spoke in the third person: "Why would a guy making thirty million and then on the flip side killin' dogs or doin' the wrong things...they don't deserve it." They.
Now, according to Wayne Pacelle of HSUS, Michael Vick is The Man Who Needs No Introduction when it comes time for him to speak to youth about the evils of dogfighting. Apparently the kids in Chicago were on the edge of their seats while watching their hero. Now was that because they were so excited about learning to not fight their animals, or because of Vick's celebrity status? These are kids from the ghetto who have literally nothing to lose who learned that Vick, the dogfighter, who had everything to lose and seemingly lost it all, is now once again a millionaire who's back in the game.
Just what have these kids learned?
Just what have these kids learned?