Update 9/1/2007: For those of you who feel that Michael Vick is being treated more harshly because he is black, and that a white person in such a scandal would be getting off easier, please see the case of US Senator Larry Craig. He’s resigning after being caught attempting to entice another adult into consensual sex, which is a victimless crime, particularly when compared to the torture and brutal killing of innocent dogs. And Senator Craig could not be any whiter…he’s the Senator from from Idaho, for crying out loud, what’s whiter than that?!!????
Original article appears below.
Michael Vick has pled guilty to some of the charges against him, and held a press conference today where he made his first public statements. What I wanted to hear from Vick, the only thing he could have said that would have given him a glimmer of a chance of redemption in my eyes, was to state that his personal enjoyment in the torture and killing of dogs was a mental illness and that he would be seeking therapy for his psychotic behavior. However, he did not.
He tried to be contrite, but referred to his behavior as “bad choices”. However, the choices are not the issue, the issue is that he has a psyche that can torture and kill helpless animals for pleasure. A “bad choice” is getting behind the wheel after you’ve had too much to drink. A “bad choice” would be attending one, single dog fight.
Michael Vick did not make a “bad choice”, he suffers from a mental illness that needs treatment. His affliction is similar to alcoholism or abusive behavior in this regard. A single instance of getting behind the wheel tipsy, striking out in anger, or participating in animal torture are “bad choices”. However a pattern (or in this case a recreational lifestyle) that regularly includes such behavior indicates mental illness.
During the press conference Vick constantly referred to himself in the third-person, one of the surest indications to me of a runaway ego and not of a contrite confessor. This press conference stank of public relations spin, and I got zero sense that Vick actually believed what he was saying. I believe that he is sorry – sorry about losing his NFL salary, sorry about losing his endorsements, sorry he got caught lying to the league, etc. But I do not for one minute get the impression that Vick thinks that there is actually anything wrong with dogfighting – it appears to me that he accepts that society (and the legal system) condemn such actions, and he’s sorry for wrecking his gravy train.
Also, his plea deal is carefully crafted to allow some hope of returning to the NFL. He says he funded the dogfighting enterprise, but didn’t actually place any bets. Please. Even more obfuscatorily, he says that dogs were killed through the combined efforts of the three defendents. He doesn’t come right out and say, yes, I electrocuted, shot, hanged, and drowned dogs for fun. His plea and his press conference lack the full truth and show that Michael Vick is simply playing the odds.
And it appears that the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons are in cahoots with Vick in this endeavor. Shortly after Vick’s press conference, Arthur Blank (owner of the Falcons) held his own conference where he stated: “Cutting him today may feel better emotionally, for us and many of our fans, but it’s not in the long-term best interest of our franchise.” Mr. Blank also said, “We don’t know what the future holds for Michael. Having said that, I do believe in redemption.” That says it all, to me. Mr. Blank is letting us know that Michael Vick will be coming back to the Falcons, eventually. One presumes that he would not have made such a statement without the knowledge and approval of the NFL itself, so it looks like a done deal.
But Michael Vick still needs to stand up and take responsiblity not just for his actions, but for his psychological disorder. Get treatment, Mr. Vick. Deriving pleasure from the torture and abuse of helpless creatures is one of the clearest signs of mental illness that there is. It is particularly reprehensible with dogs, as we have spent generations domesticating dogs to be our trusting companions, to depend on us for shelter, sustenance, and companionship. We have an implied contract with dogs, that they will be our faithful companions and in turn we will take care of them. Turning that dependency into sadistic torture for personal pleasure is a mental aberration of astonishing magnitude.
Michael, I know that you’re sorry you got caught and lost your money train, you didn’t need to say that in your press conference. Now tell me (and the world) that you actually realize the horrific nature of your “hobby” and work to heal yourself.
Short of that, this dog won’t hunt.