Opinion: Owning a dog would not aid Vick's rehabilitation
December 15th, 2010
03:37 PM ET

Opinion: Owning a dog would not aid Vick's rehabilitation

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and an opponent of drowning and electrocuting dogs, so I have two reasons to be skeptical of Michael Vick, especially after he shredded the ’Boys’ secondary Sunday.

So when I read this morning that the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback (seen above leaving a Virginia courthouse after his 2008 guilty plea) would one day like to own a dog again – well, I was more than a little gobsmacked.

Surely, I thought, he was making a passing quip. Of all the hell that rained down on him after his conviction – the prison sentence, the NFL suspension, the checkbook full of fines and retribution – the lifetime ban on owning a canine was the only provision that seemed a strong enough rebuke for his crimes.

Alas, it was no quip. Not only was Vick serious when he made the remark to thegrio.com, but he went into detail on how owning a dog could help him in his rehabilitation.

“I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process. I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love, and my passion for animals,” he said.

Um, what? Love? Passion? Really?

I am all for redemption stories. I am doubly for second chances. I am as impressed as anyone with how the reportedly lackadaisical run-first Atlanta Falcons quarterback transformed into a potent and well-rounded gunslinger for the City of Brotherly Love.

I also admire that he is voluntarily speaking to children on behalf of the Humane Society to warn kids that dogfighting isn’t cool.

But I’m not buying love and passion.

When asked by a child in the audience at a Newark, New Jersey, school why he took part in such an abominable pastime, he said he didn’t know, according to NBC New York.

But when thegrio.com asked him how a purported animal lover could commit the crimes of which he was convicted, he blamed his upbringing and said no one ever told him it was wrong.

“I hate to use our culture as an excuse,” he began before doing exactly that, “but it is what it is, and that’s what happened, and that’s the way I thought about it growing up. ... I love animals. I love dogs. I love birds. I love all types of animals, but this was just the way we was brought up.”

Are we to believe that as he blossomed into one of the most dazzling quarterbacks to ever chuck a pigskin, no friends, no family members, no neighbors, no teachers, no one at Homer L. Ferguson or Warwick high schools, no one at Virginia Tech or in the Atlanta Falcons clubhouse ever told him that training dogs to fight to the death – and slaying them if they faltered – was a no-no?

I know the Humane Society and many Pro Bowl voters might disagree with me, but I’m not moved by the culture victim argument. Nor am I swayed by his claim that his young daughters miss having dogs.

“That’s the hardest thing: telling them that we can’t have one because of my actions,” he said.

With all due respect to the puppy-cuddling aspirations of young London and Jada, how about a nice guinea pig?

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Filed under: Animals • Dogs • Michael Vick • Pennsylvania • Pro football
soundoff (268 Responses)
  1. PFC Barky

    No I don't want Vic around me. thank you though. bowzie-wowzie

    December 15, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cmr

    2 Duke: I dont know u so i dont want to come off as judgemental, i have to ask. If someone treated u or a loveone the way he did all thoes dogs. surely u could forgive them still would u want them around you or ur love one just because he did his time- paid their debt?

    December 15, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michele

    Absolutely not. If you have tortured, killed, and abused a dog-you should never be able to have another one. Ever. It is the one part of his punishment that is even close to being enough. For shame for believing anyone would buy that your culture and upbringing caused this. It just demonstrates he really hasn't changed at all. Your kids can have dogs when they are adults and leave home. And it isn't about never knowing the love and companionship of a dog at all. It is about not recognizing and valuing that love at all nor being able to be touched by it. He still doesn't. It is about crushing the life and betraying the trust of intelligent , feeling, empathic living beings that he was completely responsible for. That is the scariest part of all his sad, stupid, cruel story. He values only money and power-even if it is the pathetic power he wielded over some dogs. May he never ever in his life have either again. One of the best, and sweetest dogs I ever had was a stray pit bull pup. I don't know what "culture" he is claiming caused this in him unless it is the culture of psychopathy and none other. It sure isn't American nor Black culture. Football culture? Not buying it and no one else should either.

    December 15, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bear


      December 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Suzanne

    Michael Vick was raised to believe, feel and think that dog fighting was an legitamate sport. Just like slave owners 200 years ago were brought up to believe that owning, abusing and using African American human beings was "normal". Culture, people, culture. Can you wrap your minds around that?

    December 15, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      What does killing dogs have to do with slavery? Put the race card away and read up on your history.

      AFRICAN Tribes sold their prisoners to the Dutch in Western Africa close to 5 centuries ago. I wonder why Western Africa is still in chaos/ Wrap your head around that.

      Vick is a hater and beyond rehab- I have never heard of dog fighting being a legitimate sport in Virginia b/c it is a felony. So to what culture are you referring?

      December 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Mimi obviously has not read up on the same history she is asking you to read. Not all African slaves were sold by other Africans....... Please do not comment on such significant history if you do not know the facts Mimi..... you end up double talking and making a fool of yourself. You Dog obsessed people are a joke, you have nothing to say about folks shooting (alas hunting season is here), beating to death (Mrs. Palin sure knows how to club the hell out of Halibut), trapping or eating other animals but want to cut down Vick, please if you want to be even handed, stop all hunting, fishing, clubing and spearing of ALL animals and quit making Dogs sacrosanct.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Ya but mimi, your still being rediculous. Not all of the slaves were prisoners, and up until the civil war did the United stated abolish slavery. The comment had nothing to do with vick being black but more to do with the concept of cultures and their ethics.

      Vick was probably brought up believing that fighting dogs is acceptable, however that still does not make it right, and he deserved his punishment, and it will make him a better person. On that note, forgiveness is just as much a part of the compassion it takes to have a family loving dog, and he deserves to have a chance, with some loosely state-supervised guidence.

      And he's a great football player and I don't think he's going to screw that up for himself again.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • patty

      I am so sick of hearing that was how he was raised, thats his words and he is a liar and a killer..That time it was dogs who knows what he will kill next. This thing you call michael vick is very very sick i can't believe they did'nt order him to get help with mental problem..The only dog michael should have ever is a picture of one of the dogs he killed.

      December 18, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mimi

    He's in Killadelphia ready to start up a new operation. He's an animal serial killer. As of late, he has been getting hammered on the football field- it has given him time to think about his future-he is quoted as saying he is really getting banged up on the field and that he hurts. I'd rather he had pythons and boa constrictors and let the wild kingdom exact revenge upon him. He's pathological liar, a sociopath, and killing dogs was an outlet for his aggression. He needs Electric Shock Therapy if there is an ounce of Mental Health Medicine that will help. The canine OJ, I say. MImi from Atlanta

    December 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wanda

    Just a note, I did not read the entire article until after my post because I am sure that Michael is being advised and prompted in this situation(not only being instructed to redeem himself publicly for the franchise and team, but also tailoring his words in this regard to the public rather than letting him do this on his own and in his own, heartfelt words).

    If I were to advise the franchise owners and Michael, I would simply do the following.

    First, as owner(s) I would simply ask Michael if he was genuinely sorry for the pain and suffering he caused to the animals involved(not illegality aspects, etc. because he has already been judged and punished for this). Then I would say to Michael, "It is up to you to search your own conscience and look for whatever measures you can to redeem yourself personally. If you understand why it was wrong on so many levels, I am sure you will seek out and do whatever you can to prevent others from continuing this behaviour and severe treatment of animals. We do not believe you are a bad person, but you will be judged by how you handle this and every future situation, which could possibly affect this franchise."

    This would have to be the end of it as far as the team franchise is concerned, and Michael should be left to handle his own reputation from here on out. And, no press conferences, etc. when he attempts to do anything good. Whatever he does will benefit him personally and professionally without being manipulated and broadcast for all to see.

    December 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. duke

    It was a dog not a human!!
    Big ben should be castrated by your standard!!

    December 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe from Buffalo

    Miss B writes: "Ben Rothlesberger is a rapist so he shouldn't be allowed around women, right?"
    That's actually a good analogy. I sure wouldn't want Ben R – or any other rapist – around any woman that I care about.

    December 15, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      Amen! In any other company in America Ben the Rapist, and Vick the Murderer would be fired from their jobs. The NFL is full of criminals, cheaters, and low lifes.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mimi

    I live in Atlanta and am wondering why the violent nutters come here- Ben was an hour South, Vick was a former Dirtybird, and let's not forget my all-time Favorite Raven's player who was involved with knives guns dead bodies, getting caught @ airport for fleeing crime scene Ray (Rhymes w/ OJ) Lewis. FOOTBALL. and then there's Benoit....ugh

    December 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Suzanne

    Mimi – you are beyond educating. It sounds like your world is all either black or white, nothing in between. Or at least nothing that you notice.

    December 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      Come talk to me when you got a doctorate= I have one

      December 15, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marissa

      Suzanne, you as well, should go visit a Therapist

      December 16, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. chris

    yo yo yo, he be needin a pit. yeah yeah. that pit gonna go ham!

    December 15, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. net

    to meme thats not true thats something the white man made up just like he made up jesus was white with blue eyes and blond hair and christerfer columbus discovered america. go read some black history

    December 15, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Suzanne

    A doctorate in close mindedness or holier-than-thouness? All the education in the world is worthless if you can't exercise a some empathy or humility. What Michael Vick did was terrible – that is why he spent 20 months in federal custody, and lost millions and millions of dollars. He has paid his debt to society. Is he suppose to go live in a dirt hole now, never to see the light of day again?? Or is better for all of us if he execises his brain and God given talent to give back to society, by entertaining millions of people on Sundays, and educating hundreds of children on the pitfalls of dog fighting, using his own situation as an example?

    December 15, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      Suzanne do not pretend to be articulate in your argument b/c it makes no sense. Vick tortures animals like Jeffrey Dahmler and other seriously mentally defective people. If you think it is ok to torture dogs then fine. I do not. That is clearly black and white, but race or ethnicity has nothing to do with it in the US.

      IT IS A FELONY. VICK KNEW he was operating an illegal business or didn't you see the black fences, security cameras, and remoteness of the place. The fact people were shuttled there and not allowed to drive their cars to the dog fight arena is quite telling. He is not apologetic, he got caught, lied that he was bankrolling it, and the evidence mounted up to a point that his lawyers told him "Take the deal..." He did the crime and not enough time. VICK is only sorry he got caught, because he lied to his boss Arthur Blank (Owner of Atlanta Falcons), who publicly defended him for months. It was not until Blank saw the real story, and then wanted his signing bonus back so he sued Vick. And won. Vick is Persona Non Grata in Atlanta, and many people sent their Vick Jersey shirts to the local animal shelters to be used as rags. Spare me the entertainment value, as you are clearly an antagonist and defending the indefensible. I am leaving judgement to whomever decides, but he is a predator. He needs to be clear that HE CANNOT OWN A DOG EVER! That ruling came from the VA Judge. He's owned and slaughtered more than I care to think.

      Seriously, how do you rehabilitate a person, who drowns dogs almost to their death, electrocutes them, and then shoots them. You let him tell your child's school about his experience. He just didn't let 2 dogs fight. Sorry that you don't have the full story Suzanne, but now you might think a little deeper before opining. Forgiveness needs to be earned by good deeds not disingenuous ones. And if he wanted to do the karmic thing , he would donate anonymously to shelters – that is the character of a changed man. There is no way he'd do that- he likes the spotlight. He is a QB.

      December 16, 2010 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Have you read Jim Gorant's book or the book by the animal control officer involved in the case?
      If not, you should.
      As a dog lover and owner of pits I was horrified by what I read. There is no excuse, cultural, societal or not being told it was wrong that can excuse what Vick and his crew did to those dogs.
      As a football fan, I can appreciate and respect Vick's talents as a football player, but can find nothing to respect about the MAN. Never once has he admitted remorse and has been quoted as saying to the prosecutors "It was just a damn dog." Now he wants to own another for his "rehabilitation?" May the red dog seek her revenge from the hell he put her through.

      December 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. net

    i dont give a rat's azz what you have that dont empress me

    December 15, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      I have no idea what point you are trying to convey. I have a Doctorate in Divinity though. Yes clergy. Please go back to school and learn effective communication skills and grammar-

      December 16, 2010 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. tomcat

    as an petlover i feel that he does not need a pet of any kind. putting aside the fighting issue, his time traveling playing ball would be my concern. all pets require attention, fresh food and water not to mention positive attention( even working dogs are rewarded).

    December 16, 2010 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
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