I have to extend a sincere apology to any Michael Vick fans who were offended by a comment I made yesterday morning in which I – in an egregious slip of the tongue – shared an opinion that was completely out of line: I dislike people who abuse animals. There. I said it. Until now if someone had asked me, “Hey, what’s your take on someone who douses a dog in water and electrocutes it?” I would’ve taken the politically unopinionated route by pretending my phone was ringing at that moment. That’s what people expect reporters to do; keep your opinion out of it (though one could argue that saying Michael Vick strangled puppies is not so much an opinion as a fact). But now my thoughts and feelings on animal cruelty are out in the open and there are quite a few viewers who: 1) think I’m a moron for not acknowledging Vick has served his time, 2) think I’m an atheist for not being more forgiving, and 3) do not know how to use spell check. They must not be dog people. It made me feel lower than Michael Vick himself until I remembered that the worse thing I’VE ever done to a dog is ignore it. Granted, most dog owners take great personal offense when you don’t recognize that their dog is “just excited to see you” as it’s ripping holes in your jeans.
But now I’m ready to make amends, Vick fans, and admit that he is an extremely talented football player and, yes, six touchdowns in one game is VERY impressive. But six has always been a good number for Vick. He spent six years with the Falcons, owned six homes, six horses, spent six years running a successful dogfighting ring, and 66 just happens to be the number of starving, tortured dogs that were confiscated from his Virginia property in April of 2007 (to mention 666 here would be too easy).
But that’s all behind us now. I’m ready to concede that he has served his time! 23 months in jail gave him plenty of time to sit and think about what he would’ve done differently. Like not get caught. Besides, it’s not like he funded the dogfighting ring with his own money, buying the property, chains, nylon ropes, and treadmills. He didn’t make T-shirts and headbands emblazoned with his company logo “Bad Newz Kennels” in a proud display of his animal cruelty and his horrible fashion sense. His humane methods of putting dogs down in no way included drowning or hanging or “slamming them into the ground”, though some reports say he forced them to listen to Ke$ha. FBI agents were also grateful that Vick was completely forthcoming with information, unless it had to do with dogs, fighting, or any combination of the two. So he flunked the polygraph, but he scored high on his drug test. And keep in mind, this was not something Vick did for fun, he needed the money to feed his family. The Falcons had only signed him for a mere $37 million.
Yes, folks, Michael Vick may have had a small lapse in judgment, but for the most part he’s lived his life with the kind of respect and selflessness we’ve come to associate with professional athletes. We can only hope all of our young children look up to and emulate him. He was simply running with the wrong crowd, a product of his environment, he didn’t know any better, (insert cliche excuse here). How can we NOT forgive him? He served a full 23 MONTHS! That’s like 161 in dog years. Upon his release he was heartlessly dropped by the Falcons and forced to sign with the Eagles for a meager $1.6 million. Hasn’t the man been through enough? He deserves our support now because I’m sure he’d support you if you couldn’t pay your mortgage this month.
So now that we got that out of the way, let us all work on forgiving others starting with Joran Van Der Sloot, Charles Manson, and – what the hell – the guy who invented the Vuvuzela. It might be a little harder to do because, let’s be honest, they didn’t play six touchdowns in one game, but the least we can do is try.