Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Forgiving Michael Vick?

I wrote about my torn feelings on the Michael Vick situation a few weeks ago. I'm still torn. But I'm leaning towards acceptance of his new role with the Philly Eagles and hopeful that he will become a spokesman against dog fighting.

On Monday, Michael Medved talked about him on his radio show and made some very valid points toward forgiveness.

One of which was that of visibility. If Vick were NOT allowed back in to play football, he would disappear from the spotlight. His return is bringing a LOT of attention to dog fighting and the horrors of such a "sport". Maybe this attention will show other lower income youth growing up the way Vick did that it's not right. I hope so.

Additionally, the Humane Society sent out a newsletter, and wrote a blog post, in semi- support of Vick's supposed turn around.

I also spoke about giving Vick the chance to fulfill his pledge to help us reach at-risk youth in America’s cities and to steer the kids away from the alleys and abandoned homes where street fighting festers.

The words carried promise. And I’m happy about that. But still, they were just words.


But he has a chance to add a new chapter to the biography, as long as he is committed in the months and years ahead to using his celebrity to bring awareness and to persuade boys and young men to love their animals instead of fighting them.

It's been an interesting day of Vick news.

Even the Obama Dog Blog wrote about the issue. I think the writer did a fabulous job outlining the issue and expressed many of my own feelings.

I realize that Vick grew up exposed to dog fighting. It was exciting, it was part of the culture. Even cool. So maybe it’s too much to expect that at some point the light would go on and he’d realize these choices are not only wrong, they’re horrifically cruel. But with each new fight, each additional act of abuse or torture or killing, he chose to proceed.

We all have the ability to make choices in our lives, regardless of the culture we are born into. Take the so called "sport" portion of dog fighting out of this for a moment...I believe it's cruel in and of itself but an argument *could* be made for a cultural aspect (i.e. bull fighting, cock fighting, and other things I find fairly mean).

The TORTURE inflicted upon the dogs has nothing to do with culture or "sport". The torture is just that - unnecessary cruelty (is that redundant?) for the sake of inflicting pain and suffering. That should be an obvious no no in any culture. Regardless of how someone is raised - anyone should know that it is wrong to electrocute a dog's privates or hang them.

I don't buy the excuse that something is okay because it's a cultural difference and those of us who disagree are being ethnocentric (i.e. female genital mutilation). Some things are just WRONG no matter why or where they are done.

I hope that Vick's re-entrance to football will lead to a greater awareness of the animal cruelty that exists out there.

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