I know on Saturday I said I would post the next excerpt from my new book today, but something else grabbed my attention. Last night I watched the interview with Michael Vick on 60 Minutes eager to hear him fully acknowledge his participation in the dog fighting enterprise that sent him to prison for two years and maybe show real remorse.
That didn’t happen. The PR team he has hired to help him scrub his public image has done a good job in scripting what the man says. He didn’t admit to the horrible things he did to the dogs — hanging them in trees and electrocuting them, holding them down in his pool until they drowned, using pet dogs as bait to make the pit bulls blood thirsty, throwing them into arenas where they tore each other to shreds. Those are the horrible things he did, but all he admitted to was “not standing up to the people around me who were doing things that I’m not proud of.”
Appearing on the show to support Vick were former NFL coach Tony Dungy, who has been asked by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to mentor Vick, and Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States. Dungy talked about how people like Vick who make one mistake deserve a second chance, and Pacelle talked about how important it was not to just punish Vick, but to use him to help educate young people about the horrible business that is dog fighting. Both possibly valid points depending on how you look at it.
However, I don’t think Vick would be getting this second chance in his career — he was just signed with the Philadelphia Eagles – if he was anything but a star athlete. It seems we will let athletes get away with almost anything just because they are so good at their sport. Think about all the “bad boy” football players who have disgraced the game in the past 20 years or so.
And I don’t care how much money Vick gave to the Humane Society, I am disgusted that he is even associated with an organization that I have been an avid supporter of for years.
Just for a minute think about what might have happened if the dog fighting enterprise had never been discovered and Vick had never been arrested and put in prison. Would he still be abusing those poor dogs just for the fun of it, or would he have come to his senses without legal incentive?
Unfortunately, I think the answer to the first question is yes, and no to the second.
All of these “bad boy” athletes say all the right things after they are caught, just so they can get that second, or third, or fourth chance to prove that they are really redeemed. I truly believe that had Vick not been caught, he would still be running his Bad Newz Kennels and people who knew about it would just look the other way because he is such a talent on the football field.
Well, it takes a hell of a lot more than just talent to hold my interest, and I used to love the game and the men of character who played it.