Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reform or Reject?

Michael Vick is being released from prison today. He'll spend the last 2 months of his sentence confined to his home, which still makes his incarceration less than two years. He's also filing for bankruptcy and waiting to hear if the NFL will reinstate him.

After I read the news about his release I got to thinking about what I hope to see happen to him in future. I wasn't getting much of anywhere before I noticed a piece on Facebook by the Humane Society of the US. It seems that Vick has approached them asking to participate in their highly successful anti-dogfighting efforts and they have accepted. Though he doesn't say so outright, HSUS president, Wayne Pacelle, makes it clear that any organization that worked so hard to reform abused dogs rather than euthanize them should have the same attitude toward humans. If Vick fails to follow through with this initiative it will be his own failure, not that of HSUS, they will have done their level best to participate in his rehabilitation process. They also appear to have restricted his involvement in the program to human interaction, not putting him in charge of dogs.

There is the matter of what Vick will do with the rest of his life still to ponder. He's deeply in debt and got that way while making $10 - $12 million dollars a year. While he waits for the NFL's ruling he has a job with a local construction company and is being paid a reported $600,000 to participate in the making of a documentary so he's not without income as he works to rebuild a life. The first plan he presented to the bankruptcy court called for him to keep 2 houses and 3 cars. The judge, thankfully, rejected that offer out of hand and told him to go back to the drawing board. The fact that this interaction even happened makes me question Vick's commitment to reform in all areas of his life.

I hesitate to bring it up since I was planning just a short post to bring up the questions of the hour but there are wider questions about the prison system here, too. This guy has a job and a home of his own to go to when he's released. He has professionals assisting him with his financial difficulties and he's already in negotiations to return to his dream job. Not many prisoners find those sorts of opportunities upon their release. Did I tell you about the time a woman talked her way onto the bus on my way home one night? She'd just been released from the local detention center and all they'd given her was a piece of paper. She didn't have any shoes.

As far as I'm concerned I think it's imperitive that Vick never be allowed to be alone with animals again in his life. Same should go for all of the people involved in his ring. I also think the NFL should refuse to reinstate him. There might be wiggle room there but no way should he get to go back to doing what he loves and being paid exorbitantly for it. He can play as much football as he wants on any level, I guess, but he gets paid the same amount as anyone else doing manual labor at the stadium, you know? It can be his choice to do something more lucrative or to stick with the love of the game. We need a lot more athletes out there playing for the love of the game. Any company who requests his endorsement should be told in no uncertain terms that any product Michael Vick thinks is cool is seriously suspect in our eyes. He's shown poor judgment in almost every area of his life, that's not the kind of advice I'm looking for, frankly.

All of which, I suppose, makes me a little more stringent and a little more hypocritical perhaps than Mr. Pacelle and the Human Society. For now I'm OK with that but I promise to keep thinking about it.

*All but the last photo are courtesy of Google Images. The last photo is taken by me of my friend and neighbor, Bucephalus. I do not recommend you do an image search "pit bull." Many of the photos in that category are extremely disturbing.


  1. I'm not sure how I feel about this. My nature requires that I believe people can change and that they should be given the chance but, like you, I'm not willing to trust quite so easily, either...

  2. Bless their baby hearts. All of them look so sweet and kind.
    And well... just F--- him. Without the hyphens or with if it hurts more.
    I have no desire to forgive and forget. None. And if that makes me a bad person. Fine.

  3. I just can't believe that prison has reformed him. Anyone that can attend a dog fight, see the wounds and destruction their sick and twisted pastime creates, and doesn't feel an ounce of empathy or humanity cannot be reformed from jail time.

    He'll be in trouble again. I just hate to think how many dogs will have to suffer in the mean time.

    He's a sick and twisted f*&k and I hope he has his balls forced through a meat grinder.

  4. And another thing (can you tell how freakin' mad this makes me), I stopped watching football ages ago but I would hope that the NFL actually takes a stand on this. Then again, they have no problem with domestic violence, thieves, and thugs in their midst. I have a feeling I know how they will respond to this.