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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Michael Vick Doesn't Deserve an NFL Comeback

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The Philadelphia Daily News welcomed its newest quarterback Michael Vick with the front cover headline blaring “HIDE YOUR DOGS.” The back page read: “WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?” I wish I knew.

Naively, I believed that Michael Vick would not be reinstated by the NFL. It is obvious that talent trumps character in the NFL and I see this as very “Bad Newz” [Bad Newz Kennels was where Vick kept his fighting dogs.]. Sadly, as football fans, no matter our NFL team, we all have lost.

People of all walks of life, working in every profession are charged with crimes every day. But the NFL rate is an astounding one in every five players according to the book Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL.

I am outraged, troubled, disturbed, angry, saddened (pick your adjective) at the reinstatement of yet another criminal pro football player to the NFL. There is no precedent in the NFL for what Vick did. For six year, he knowingly bankrolled and was an active participant in a criminal operation at Bad Newz Kennels, which was involved in gambling as well as buying, transporting and receiving dogs for the purposes of dog fighting. Vick then lied about it to his coaches, the NFL, and law enforcement officials. I will not even go into the details of the heinous cruelties the dogs endured, including death.

I realize that Vick has served 18 months of his 23-month sentence in a federal prison and has technically “paid his debt to society.” Many claim he deserves a second chance. (Did the dogs receive a second chance?) Maybe Michael does deserve a second chance at life…but a second chance on the NFL stage?

How many convicted felons are given a second chance in their previous professions? Lawyers are disbarred, doctors have their licenses to practice taken away. Not many are given a second chance to earn $1.6 million dollars in their first year returning to society with an option for $5.2 million more their second year. What is the NFL thinking?

I watched the Eagles press conference and the Vick interview Sunday on 60 Minutes. While Vick was trying to convey remorse, his words just rang hollow with me. Vick’s performance, designed by a highly-paid team of PR experts, was well planned and rehearsed. Rather than using one of the longstanding 60 Minutes’ investigative reporters, the sportscaster James Brown was selected to do the interview, insuring a public relations touchdown. (Where is good, old Mike Wallace when you need him?) 

Vick tip-toed along the sideline of responsibility, when Brown referred to, "The operation that you pleaded guilty to bankrolling," implying that Vick was passively involved by simply “bankrolling” the “operation” that was responsible for the vile acts. Michael Vick was an active participant in every aspect of his "Bad Newz Kennels." 

The irony of the situation is although many are having a difficult time forgiving Michael Vick and giving him a second chance, any dog would be the first to forgive him if he showed the dog any kindness at all. Dogs ask no questions, make no moral judgments, and always greet us with a wagging tail of happiness. After all, as one anonymous wise person once said, “To err is human, to forgive, canine." 

Cynthia Waldenmaier owns Hyde Bark Fashions, a pet boutique in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Michael Vick Doesn't Deserve an NFL Comeback

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