The other day my son and I were talking about Michael Vick and his comeback with the Eagles. I said I thought he should have been banned from pro football after the whole dog-fighting fiasco. My son countered that Vick had “paid the price. He got a lot more than just a slap on the writst. He went to prison for two years and lost most of his endorsement deals. Isn’t that enough?”
That was a reasonable argument – I really do respect my son’s opinions – and I was almost ready to change my mind. Maybe the spin that Vick has been fully rehabilitated really was true, and I was being unfair in hanging on to my belief that the consequences should have been greater.
Then I read a piece from Jacquielynn Floyd in The Dallas Morning News on Jan 2nd. She reminded readers that Vick did a lot more than “engage in illegal dog fighting”, which was the final charge of his conviction. He participated in the killing of dogs who would not fight, or who lost fights. Some of the dogs were hung like carcasses on a line, except they weren’t dead yet. Others were drowned by forcefully holding their heads in buckets of water. And at least one dog was killed when Vick and another man held it by the legs and repeatedly slammed it into the ground.
When the story first broke about the Bad Newz Kennels and the charges against Vick, it was also reported that he threw family pets into the pits with the pit bulls. Apparently he “thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs injure or kill the other dogs.”
People who take delight in torturing and killing animals are usually labeled a sociopath. They are not simply someone who made a mistake, paid for that mistake, and is no longer a threat to society. A sociopath is defined as: someone who behaves in a dangerous or violent way towards other people and does not feel guilty about such behavior.
And the behavior usually starts with killing animals in horrible, cruel ways.
Sure, Vick has expressed remorse and guilt over what he has done, but how much of that is genuine and how much is just enough to get back into the game? What do you think?