Where to begin with the Michael Vick/dogfighting tragedy? My first reaction upon hearing the allegations was “Yeah, that sounds about right”. Michael Vick has always struck me as an egostitical, idiot loser, so adding sadistic torturer to the list wasn’t that big of a leap. I won’t cover the allegations in detail here, but suffice it to say that, if true, Mr. Vick has not only engaged in dog fighting, with all the associated cruelty and barbarity that entails – he also seemed to revel in the creative and sadistic elimination of dogs that didn’t perform up to his pathetic standards.
I’m hearing two things consistently from Vick that confirm just how despicable he is. First, he’s playing the race card and stating that he’s being targeted because he’s black. Listen, dogfighting is so monstrous that ANY person of ANY color in ANY public role would be being subjected to this same scrutiny and outrage. For example, the last time I checked Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan were white. I call BS.
Secondly, Vick is claiming that he didn’t know that any dogfighting or dog training was occuring on his property. To own a property that you visit regularly, and then to claim that you never noticed the extensive kennels, rape stands, fighting pits, bait dogs, and carcasses of the vanquished is simply preposterous to the point that he’s actually giving us the finger, metaphorically. He’s taking the ‘street’ route of dealing with all inquiries by authorities with “I don’t know anything” and “I didn’t see anything” and “I didn’t do anything”. I call BS again. Either BS or Vick is actually mentally challenged.
The issue, as I see it, is that there is a sub(human)-class of people who see nothing wrong with the abuse of animals. This includes “people” involved in sport hunting, cockfighting, dog fighting, bear-baiting, bullfighting, and all of the other blood sports. As an example of this psychosis, immediately after the allegations arose around Michael Vick, he was immediately defended by two other NFL players. They didn’t defend him in the sense of saying Vick didn’t do it. They defended him by saying that there was nothing wrong with dog fighting. Really, they did. Who are these two? Clinton Portis and Chris Samuels from the Washington Redskins. Here’s an excerpt from their stunning defense, courtesy of Sports Illustrated Online:
In an interview with WAVY-TV, Portis said that if the Atlanta Falcons quarterback is charged and convicted of being involved in a dog fighting operation, then authorities would be “putting him behind bars for no reason.”
“I don’t know if he was fighting dogs or not,” Portis said. “But it’s his property; it’s his dogs. If that’s what he wants to do, do it.”
Portis said dog fighting is a “prevalent” part of life.
Portis, a native of Laurel, Mississippi, added: “I know a lot of back roads that got a dog fight if you want to go see it. But they’re not bothering those people because those people are not big names. I’m sure there’s some police got some dogs that are fighting them, some judges got dogs and everything else.”
“Politicians,” added Samuels, who found it hard to keep from giggling while Portis was talking.
I assume from their breathtaking oratory that they both have law degrees (as well as publicists/agents that didn’t get to them fast enough to keep them from making jackasses of themselves). You know they’ve been silenced by now, but their first, unfiltered responses open a window into the mentality of the class of people who abuse animals and simply think nothing of it. An animal is a piece of property to be used and/or abused as the owner sees fit and it’s nobody elses business.
The only tiny piece of good news in all of this horror is the otherwise universal condemnation of Vick’s actions. In a move that I almost cannot believe, the Reverend Al Sharpton, along with Defmogul Russel Simmons, have partnered with PETA to lobby Michael Vick’s corporate sponsors to drop him. Now, Reverend Al is one of the most dependable defenders of black people who are the subject of witch hunts, to the point of sometimes backing the wrong side in certain cases. However, where a black person is being railroaded by the court of public opinion, you can count on Reverend Al to be there to speak out for moderation and to steadfastly maintain that no judgment should be made until all the facts are in.
But in this case Reverend Al has immediately turned on Michael Vick. That ought to send Mr. Vick a message – even the staunchest defender of black people has abandoned him. The only support he has left is his family (one presumes), his lawyer (a paid lackey), his employer (the NFL would love for him to be able to play), and the other trogolodytic wastes-of-space who think that dogfighting is a good thing.
There are also others making a clear statement about this behavior. Nike cancelled the launch of a new shoe sponsored by Michael Vick, although they haven’t pulled existing Vick shoes (yet). Airtran also did not renew their endorsement deal which expired after these allegations came to light. The NFL has asked Vick not to report to training camp, at least not yet, and the scuttlebutt is that they’re trying to convince him to voluntarily bypass this season in an attempt to separate his trial from the NFL season. And several old white men (including Senator John Kerry and Senator Robert Byrd) have voiced their condemnation of these acts.
[Update 7/27/2007 7:27pm] Nike has announced they are suspending Vick’s contract WITHOUT pay, but not severing the relationship completely. Reebok has announced it has stopped selling Vick’s offical replica jersey. And Donruss trading cards are pulling Vick’s cards from all 2007 card packs. Beautiful, just beautiful!!!
Also, it’s not like Vick was beloved before the dogfighting issue. Prior to the publicity surrounding this investigation, sponsors like Coca-Cola, EA Sports, Kraft Foods, and Hasbro had cancelled or failed to renew their endorsement deals with this loser. So it’s not like these new allegations are somehow bursting his bubble of popularity – he’d been doing a fine job of that all by himself and the dogfighting is serving simply to seal the deal in the court of public opinion.
And to those of you who think that pit bulls are naturally violent and only good for fighting, please do some reading and maybe meet some pit bulls that are owned by educated, loving owners. The pit bull is a fantastic fighter, and that’s the problem. Jerks and idiots choose to adorn themselves with these great fighters because it supports their juvenile image of themselves. And to be sure everybody understands how tough they are (via their dog’s toughness), they torment and abuse their dogs until the dogs become mean and nasty. The same would happen with any dog of any breed subjected to the same abuse, it just so happens that pit bulls are naturally better fighters and so become the canine bling for idiots.
In a more direct example, we own a rottweiler cross, along with another dog and two cats. Our rottie is one of the most loving, caring, gentle, intelligent dogs that I have ever owned. At mealtime our cats will blithely stroll up between her legs and eat from her food bowl. She doesn’t like it, and sometimes will try to push the cat away with her snout. The cat reacts by grooming our big tough rottie’s face and then sidling off. She is a gentle guardian, and we have no doubt that she would lay down her life to protect her pack, and she would be an overwhelming obstacle to anyone bent on wrongdoing in our household.
We had an incident where a long-time friend of ours came into our house unexpectedly through the side kitchen door (he was early for a get-together and one of our family members on the driveway told him to go on in). He came in through the kitchen shouting a hearty hello to the family, but since he hadn’t come through the front door and was entering through an unexpected direction, our rottie leapt up from a dead sleep, leaped across the living room in two bounds with ruff up, teeth bared, and snarling like a devil hound. Once she saw it was our family friend she immediately put on the brakes and gave him a sheepish, butt-wagging greeting, but for about two seconds there we got to see her in full attack mode, and it was astonishing. I pity the criminal fool that ever gets to meet the business end of our dobie-o-matic. But around good folks and children she continues to be a gentle, loving creature with absolutely no malice in her heart.
And what of Michael Vick? His lawyers and publicists are certainly working overtime. Here are two pictures of Michael Vick – one is pre-indictment (street-thug, keeping it real) and the other is post-indictment (wrongfully accused pillar of the community). Can you tell which is which?
Throughout his career in the public eye Michael Vick has maintained his cornrowed, gangsta look. Through controversy after controversy he steadfastly maintained his hard-core look, never deigning to change himself for the PR value. Until now, that is. What kind of pressure could force an arrogant, ignorant prick like Vick to cut off his trademark cornrows? I’d say it was guilt and fear. Not guilt over what he has done, but guilt as in he knows he broke the law. And fear as in the fear of losing it all and being seen for the pathetic, sadistic loser that he really is.