by Joel Barnett
Thanks to Richard Cohen for his Washington Post piece in which he asks if some sports reporters have a special key on their typewriters that types in “he’s served his time.”
Michael Vick has indeed served his time, but that entitles him to walk free in our society. And, as he walks, he can remember how lucky he is to have been able to afford such an army of high-priced attorneys that he could get a plea bargain - and not be charged with all the many cruelties and other crimes that took place when he purposely built a mega-gambling operation and the grounds on which to house it. How he is so lucky to have only been charged with maiming and killing some dogs, although that carefully designed fighting operation of his went back at least 8 years. Serving his time entitles him to live in one of his big houses and go where he pleases.
Did you see this video of Vick being welcomed back and see any remorse in Vick’s eyes? As the champagne flows, does he look ashamed by the deeds he’s done? Vick is showing as much remorse for dogs he tortured as he did his first night out of prison—when he went to a strip club. Perhaps that’s why the video in which his eyes are blurred and his speech slurred has been pulled by its poster from YouTube and the original version isn’t loading anymore anywhere on the Web.
So, Vick can no longer claim it was just a lack of parental guidance, and bad influences in his youth. And the last USDA report blew out of the water his protest that he has always loved his “pets,” but didn’t see that the “pits” were the same. In that report, he is revealed to have enjoyed throwing those pets into the ring with the fighting dogs and laughing as they were torn apart.
We gave the man the benefit of the doubt, but he tested positive for marijuana on the day he was taking an empathy course, he went into a Newport News pet shop and bought a bulldog weeks before he was set to go to jail, and, frankly, nothing sat right. We worried that “I’m sorry” might just be words in the wind. We didn’t want his money (offered and rejected) or words, we wanted him to take the latest neurological test now being given to violent offenders: a test that can tell if the part of a brain that registers empathy, is active. He wouldn’t do it. That’s when we said, “so long.”
Michael Vick may deserve to walk free, but he doesn’t deserve to be a hero to children or to be a football star, and no group has any business helping him do that. Thank you goes to Richard Cohen for remembering the dogs who Mr. Vick personally electrocuted, held under the water in the swimming pool, strung up like hammocks, and slammed into the ground until their backs broke.