Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Should we forgive Vick?

Dog Killer. Felon. Star Quarterback. Comeback. Redemption. Which word would you use to describe Michael Vick? Coming off his spectacular performance Monday Night against the Redskins I think it is a perfect time to ask the question: Should we forgive Vick?

We all know the story of Vick by now. We know what went on at Bad Newz Kennels. We know where he grew up from and what the culture was like. It seems like he has changed but has he really? Or rather, does it even matter?  Some people will hate Michael Vick forever. Some people have already forgiven him. But for those of us that are undecided why have we not made up our minds yet?

America is a forgiving country especially if you are really good at something. If Michael Vick wasn't an NFL star he'd be working at your local grocery store or be out on the streets right now. People wouldn't be giving excuses for him or saying he served his time. He'd be another ex-con from the streets.  But since he is a superstar athlete he is given a second opportunity at life. Whether or not that is fair it is the reality. 

Do I think Vick has changed? In some ways. I'm sure he recognizes what he did was wrong and that he is sorry to some degree. But I don't think you can ever truly change someone's core values. In his head he knows he was wrong, but in his heart he probably will never realize how atrocious his crimes were.

For those of you who say he served his time and deserves a second chance I'd ask you the same thing I ask people who are anti-death penalty or anti-abortion. What if it happened to you? What if it happened to your dog? This guy knowingly allowed Pit Bulls to be hung and electrocuted on his property. These are defenseless animals killed for sport. Now the guy is going to get a huge multimillion dollar deal after this season and these dogs are still going to be dead.

But this is a place where we allow Dante Stallworth and Leonard Little to keep playing after killing someone while drunk. We allow people like Ben Roethlisberger to serve a 6 game suspension after an alleged rape. Why not give Vick another chance? Were his crimes worse than theirs? I guess it is all a matter of opinion.

If you do choose to forgive Michael Vick please never forget what he did.  While I'm glad to see all the good he doing now for the community, it doesn't take back what he did for so many years before this. While he came from a place where this was part of the culture that by no means excuses his actions. Especially when he had the means to get out of that lifestyle and still chose to stay in it.  Yes, Michael Vick is indeed back. Whether or not that is a good thing is for you to decide.


  1. Heck no, so he can play ball, still got his jock off by slaughtering puppies.

  2. If any dog owner actually forgives this piece of trash, I wouldn't know how you could look in the mirror. Not only was he torturing animals for losing fights, he had to train these dogs to kill too. In order to do that, someone within his organization would have to find other dogs for the fighter to "practice" on before the fight. Obviously you can't go to a breeder, pet store, or pound and just keep getting dogs otherwise it would make people suspicious. You have to sneak into people's yards, and steal their dogs to be thrown into a cage to be "practiced" on. I consider my dogs a part of my family, almost on the same level as my brothers, sisters and parents so this would be on the same level as kidnapping my brother and throwing him in a wood chipper just to see if it worked correctly. Obviously you can see why I would have a problem with him.

    Beyond that, this man doesn't feel bad about what hes done. He knew what was going on, knew it was illegal and tried to conceal what was happening on his property. Sure, he has an excellent PR cast now to tell him what to do and say. Hes sorry he got caught, he doesn't give a crap about the dogs he killed, and he wants to play football. Thats why hes showing the community how far hes come along. Hes still a disgrace to humanity, I don't care how good he is at football.

  3. This man is an ass. No amount of talent can overcome that.
    Charlie Sheen - ass. OJ - ass. Kobe - ass. Hugh Grant - ass.
    You don't lock hookers in the loo whilst on a coke binge, you don't (allegedly) kill your wife, you don't cheat on your wife, and you NEVER cheat on Liz Hurley with a prostitute.
    These guys are all idiots, and no amount of talent can overcome that. To Hell with Vick.

    p.s. I hate the Eagles.

  4. Personally I believe in 2nd chances, whether you are an every day Joe or a famous celebrity/athlete. Everyone who feels remorse in their hearts should be given a 2nd chance. What they do with the chance is where my decisions are made. No one but the person and God will ever really know what a person feels in their heart. Great blog Karl.

  5. I think there is an important distinction to be made here. If he were to come up to me and ask for forgiveness, I'd say I won't forgive you, but I will look past what you did now that you have paid your debt to society. If you won't look past it, then you probably favor harsher punishment for what he did. If you are one of these people, what punishment would be justified?

    It's interesting to look at the sliding scale of punishment for cruelty crimes as the lifeforms get further and further from human. Torturing a human can be life in prison, a dog can be a few years, a bird gets you fine if you don't have a hunting permit and an insect gets you some laughs from your friends. With inconsistencies like this, how can we as a society pin a certain punishment on a crime like Vick's that will appease everyone? The fact is that different crimes resonate more or less with different people because of their past experiences, so really all we have are the absolutes of logic and reason to fall back on. He did the crime, he paid the penalty, hate his character all you want, but let him move on with his life.

  6. Michael Vick is a better QB than any QB on my favorite NFL teams roster - I'd take him in a heartbeat. Any owner that does not try to improve his team because of something Vick did off the field (and has paid his debt for) is an idiot...and I hope he isn't my owner, GM or coach. The name of the game is winning....period.

    I don't care if a guy is up for a Nobel Peace prize.

    I'd take a team full of Vicks and Ray Lewis' any day of the week. I want players that can help my team get a super bowl, world series, or championship. Is that bad?

  7. I agree with most of what people have said on here. If he wasn't a ball player he wouldn't be able to get a good job, buy a house, (probably) serve in the military, etc. I personally think the NFL should adopt a more rigorous policy. If you do the crime then you can't play, EVER AGAIN. Often these athletes feel above the law since they can get away with murder (see previous drunk driving references) and have no real world consequence. They keep making millions and the families of their victims pay the price.

  8. These are awesome comments everyone. Thank you!

  9. Would people be as outraged if it were, let's say, squirrels as opposed to dogs? The reason the crimes were such a big deal was because our country has such attachment to dogs based on the emotions generated from either having your own dog or knowing someone with a pet dog that is a loving, harmless animal. But in much of the world, as well as in much of our country, specifically low-income southern communities like where Vick is from, they do not look at dogs as those loving, caring animals. They look at them like wild dogs that roam the streets scavengering for food, barking at whatever is in their way. Is what he did that much different than people who go out into the woods hunting birds, deer, and other defenseless animals for sport. I am sure if we had a culture of raising deer as pets in our country, then people would be outraged everytime someone goes out and hunts for sport. And let us not even start about some of the slaughtering practices that go on in the food industry. Clearly, Vick should not have started this gambling ring, but if it is really put in perspective, he more than served his time when compared to others who have done so much worse and not served any kind of punishment. Remember, he did not think of dogs like you and I did, he thought of them as wild animals on par with what we would think of a fox or rooster.

  10. I can't and won't forgive him for the decisions he's made and the animals he's harmed. However I will and can acknowledge that he is a superb athlete. I think its easy to separate the two, although I do not agree that the NFL should have put this individual back into a place where he could make stupid sums of money and potential mis-use it again. As of now he is paying back his debts, but what's the dollar amount on abuse? Abuse of money. Abuse of power. Abuse of innocent animals.
    The big talk was how Andy Reid is supposedly playing a huge role in his rehabilitation - what is he doing? I would like to see Vick out and about more, paying back his debts to society in community service with animal organizations. I would like something well documented. I think its possible for people to change, but not in situations like this one. Prison in my opinion for Vick was a slap on the wrist.

  11. Honestly, I don't care if he did think of dogs as annoying little craps who can be toyed with. You could say that in some cultures humans are thought the same way as dogs are in the south. Would that justify stealing human beings, torturing them, forcing them to fight?

    Also, Why do you think we have restrictions on hunting? There are only specific seasons in which people are allowed to hunt, you go to jail if you're caught otherwise. Also Deer overpopulation is a huge problem, not just for motorists, but for deer themselves. Is it more humane to let animals starve to death in their natural habitat or to thin out their numbers and sell the fur and meat for others to use? You can't really compare dog fighting to sport hunting. Those dogs were tortured for no reason other than personal satisfaction. Thats sick, twisted, and sociopathic behaviour. Hes a terrible human being.

  12. To the Anonymous Idiot between Karl and Caren:

    You are a moron. You not only have insinuated that dog fighting and cock fighting are acceptable if you have a different perception of the animals, you also insinuate that because people have gotten away with worse crimes than Vick's that he shouldn't have to pay for his crimes.

    So, since OJ got away with murdering his wife, does that mean a rapist should go free - because I don't think it's as bad as murder? What about a child molester? Where the Hell do you draw the line?
    Additionally, if you see cock fighting as alright because you see roosters like Vick sees dogs, does that mean that if I pay two homeless men to fight to the death, I am without reproach because I see them as less than human and scavengers as well?

    You are an idiot. Your arguments make no sense. You should be locked inside of a chemical toilet and set on fire.
    And the person should get away with it because that isn't as bad as torturing animals.

  13. although I believe in second chances, I do not in this case. I can not conceive of anyone abusing an animal especially a dog. I adopted my little puppy three years ago after she had been abused and she still shows a very timid side after all this time.

    He may be a great ball player and even better than he was before, but my personal hope is he fails again...

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  15. Will Lambert, you leaned back, wound up, swung for the fences but unfortunately you have completely whiffed. You are the one who has missed HIS point, and what's worse, you have resorted to insult slinging rather than rational arguments. He did not insinuate what you claim, merely that different cultures emphasizes different values. Much like my post, he is merely saying that based on our experiences, individuals attribute different levels of severity to different crimes. He is obviously not saying that animal abuse is OK, rather trying to point out some of the hypocrisy that has accompanied this story. In fact, re-reading his post, I am really amazed at how badly you misrepresented him or her.

    I think we can both agree that when he or she says, "he more than served his time when compared to others who have done so much worse and not served any kind of punishment," we could say "we should not consider time served for minor crime A relative to lack of time served for major crime B to be justification of an excessively light penalty," but we would have missed the point. It seems to me that anonymous is critiquing our justice system with that statement(e.g. "At least he served some time for his crime when most athletes avoid punishment altogether.").

  16. Three Toe,
    I certainly agree with the fact that yes, it is a relief that he served any time at all, as compared to those who go without punishment. It seems that your interpretation of OP's words differs from my own.
    However, stating that "he thought of them as wild animals on par with what we would think of a fox or rooster," does in fact imply that OP takes no issue with cock fights.
    I do not disagree with your original post. I think that it raises some damn fine points. I also think that if the OP meant what you are interpreting it as, they should have worded it a bit more clearly.
    I still think that my post was a nice mix of a rational retort to a reasonable interpretation of the post and some juvenile insult slinging.
    Furthermore, poop.

  17. We are interpreting things differently, and I can't claim that I AM right about my interpretation, but I do BELIEVE I am right. I don't think that implication is correct because he doesn't give me the impression that he is OK with people using wild animals to fight, though I can see where you get that. For what it's worth, I can't extract his opinion on using any animals (wild or domesticated) to fight, so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he is not OK with it.

    Thank you for the compliment on my post, and yes, it certainly was a mix haha.

    I'd like to get your opinion on a part of his post that we haven't discussed though. I am of the opinion that at this day in age, where we no longer hunt for food, that hunting is identical to animal fighting. Sure a good hunter may kill instantly without any suffering on the part of the animal, but nobody's aim is perfect. For me, both cases come off as human beings inflicting pain and suffering upon defenseless animals for our own amusement. What about you?

    (sorry karl, for this tangent)

  18. These comments are good. I don't have a clue really about this but I love reading all the opinions. This is so controversial it's great. Three toe, your comments are excellent!

  19. Love the comments and the arguing Three Toe and Will. This is what I love to see!

  20. Three Toe,
    I think that you have raised a good point, though I see it as misguided. Benjamin made a very good point earlier about the benefits of hunting, such as preventing overpopulation of animals causing them to starve to death. He mentioned deer, but this is true for many different animals.
    My views on hunting are this: If you are going to eat the animal, then feel free to hunt - within the limits of the law. My friends and I that hunt, eat the ducks, the deer, the caribou, and anything else that we shoot. I honestly believe that killing an animal with a bullet that has run free all of its life is much more humane than the way that slaughterhouses handle the beef, pork, chicken, and whatever else we get from the market. I find the way that commercially sold meat is raised, especially the chickens and the veal - in boxes and cages too small to move, or sometime even stand - to be more like the cruel conditions of a dog breeding/dog fighting ring than hunting free animals.
    So until we're ready to give up meats from the supermarket, I see no issue with hunting - as long as the animal is eaten.
    Your thoughts?

  21. Yea you know, I am not a vegetarian, so I'm not going to say that I am against eating animals. Hunting for food, in my eyes is completely fine. I did a poor job of stating what I meant. I said that we longer need to hunt for food, but I should have said that while it is unnecessary, some people still do and I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with hunting for sport or enjoyment.

    You do raise a good point about the mass-marketed meat industry though. I have not done much research here myself, but the little I have read does indicate that mass produced meat suppliers do treat the animals so badly that it should be (or is, for people who actually know what goes on) considered torture. In this way, hunting probably IS the more humane option.

    I guess what gets me is that everytime a story like this comes out you'll see John Q. Dumbass sittin there at MacDonalds eating a hamburger talking to his friend about how Michael Vick is a prick for torturing animals. I know this blog entry was set up to discuss Vick, but my underlying point is who are we to judge when most of us are big hypocrites? I hope I didn't offend you earlier but that's why I defended Anonymous's post.

  22. Whilst I see the two as separate issues, I at least agree that there is some degree of hypocrisy there. Anonymous was on the right track with his point that people were so up-in-arms about it because dogs are cute and friendly in most people's eyes.
    Can't eat a dog = DON'T TORTURE THEM!
    Veal is delicious = mm... raised in a box... yummy!
    I also think that if you aren't eating the animals that you hunt, that we should make it sporting and give the deer an Uzi.
    I really enjoyed your response defending Anon because you raised points that I was not seeing. I always enjoy intelligent arguments because they usually lead to great discussions - and it turns out that you are more in agreement than either party may have thought.
    In my eyes, it all comes down to the legality of the issue. Did he do his time? yes. But I still find it unacceptable that he (and every other criminal with talent) is allowed back into the NFL.
    p.s. I still hate the Eagles.
    p.p.s. SERIOUSLY! HOW do you cheat on Elizabeth Hurley with a prostitute?!?

  23. My feeling on the NFL's re-admittance goes along with my point earlier about how he's already pay for what he's done. Unless something about it is in his contract, the court system, not the NFL, is the only entity that should be able to enforce penalties for crimes committed outside of other realms. If he was arrested for something like gambling within the NFL like Pete Rose was in baseball, then I'd say both the courts and the NFL can take action. If the NFL was to make a statement saying they won't employ anyone who tortures animals, I would say that's unfair, but I would certainly agree that it's within their rights to do so.

    p.s. yea i hate the eagles too, but usually only when they play against The Patriots.

    p.p.s. I think Liz Hurley is super hot, but it's hugh grant. He basically can get any woman he wants, so while you and I sit here going "I can't believe he'd risk losing such a beautiful woman" he's going "well, looks like i'll just have to find another unbelievably hot woman to sleep with. should take all of 8 minutes." He obviously was not in love with her. And I'm not even going to get into my views on prostitution, they are usually very unpopular and a huge tangent from Karl's blog post.

  24. Fpr the record, I also have a problem with hunting as a sport. I also hate Sara Palin. Michael Vick is less of an asshole than Sara Palin.