Why are we giving Michael Vick a second chance?

I just checked the Best Friends website to see if something had happened that I didn’t know about, but no.

“From what we at Best Friends know of the way Michael Vick has related to the animals he abused, the answer is clearly that he has “simply rediscovered the pocket.” Best Friends took 22 of Vick’s 48 seized dogs and the only contact we’ve received from Vick or his representatives was by way of some overtures from his agent, one of his attorneys and a PR firm specializing in reputation rehabilitation. They were interested in some public glad handing that would put Vick in a favorable light with the NFL, which at the time was still considering whether or not to reinstate him. We declined.”

“Best Friends has never heard from Michael Vick or any of his representatives inquiring after the health or well being of any of the 22 dogs that we received from his fighting ring.”

Their full statement is here. My statement: fuck you Michael Vick. The picture is of Georgia, one of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick. If you’d like to donate to help out George, click here.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

7 thoughts on “Why are we giving Michael Vick a second chance?

  1. I’m sorry to cut and paste someone else’s reply to the same question (this was posted over at Ezra Klein’s column at the Washington Post), but the poster says it more eloquently (or clearly) than I could:

    First of all, Michael Vick did not have a “downfall.” He got a very mild sentence for the crime of running dogfights. The far more heinous offense, the torture killings of unknown numbers of dogs, was eliminated as part of the plea bargain. This is the real offense. He inflicted unspeakable pain on many many dogs for his own enjoyment. He hanged dogs. This is a man who should not now be a completely rehabilitated celebrity. These are acts of people who often go on to kill human beings, but even if this is limited to dogs, the reveling in cruelty over many years and many acts should place him beyond the acceptance and embrace of the public, and far more so, of the president. What was the President thinking here? If he wanted to weigh in on the issue of giving released convicts a second chance, he should have picked almost anyone else. How about someone doing time on charges of drug possession? The crimes of Vick were brutal and absolutely pathological, and showed a man who rejoices in the suffering of helpless dogs. He should NOT have such an easy ticket back to celebrity, and to have that ticket stamped by the President — beyond disgusting.

  2. Completely agree. I was never a fan of Obama (when something looks too good to be true, it usually isn’t), but this is an enormously disappointing endorsement.

    We used to live in a county that was one of the dog fighting capitals of the US. In fact a bunch of us even supported candidate for sheriff partly based on his agreement to go after dog fighting should he be elected. (He wasn’t.)

    The training methods that these dog fighters use are every bit as cruel and unthinkable as the dog fighting itself. For example, they will hang some little poodle with ropes, then enrage their fighting dog while holding on to its collar. As the fighting dog struggles to get to the little pet cat or dog, the master’s hand hold the fighting dog back from the victim, as it digs claws into the dirt. Finally, the fighting dog is released to mangle the pet which has wandered out of its yard only to be captured.

    What some do not realize is that dog fighting is actually a segment of organized crime. Not every dog fighter is some addled good ol’ boy with missing teeth. Some go back and forth across the country involved in illegal dog fighting. Usually at these sites along with gambling there also are prostitution, dope sales and a host of other criminal activities.

    President Obama might as well be trying to rehabilitate a member of one of the organized crime families. Of course in a big criminal enterprise that sucks in lots of rural people sometimes one touches on a political constituency. This is why dog fighting was never shut down at our location.

    The humane society had meetings in our town to confront this issue and would not allow any members of our police or sheriff’s departments to attend. Somehow when the sheriff’s department would roll out to these remote locations, everybody would already be gone. Even city officials were prevented from attending the humane society meetings in some instances.

  3. I’m still a huge supporter of President Obama. But he’s not perfect and I will criticize bad calls.

  4. Thanks for posting about this. For me, Obama’s position on the Vick issue was a very sobering shock to the system.

    Vick is an unrepentant psychopath who was restored to ‘hero’ status by the NFL. He shouldn’t have been reinstated, but nothing too complicated there: he was a talented player who made a lot of money for a lot of corporations.

    But when the President chooses to publicly praise that, it makes me think about the role of all of those corporations in the government. It harshes the holiday mellow.

  5. Now I’m reading that this whole thing might have been exaggerated, it was an offhand comment in a phone call?

  6. I think it was exaggerated. The purpose of Obama’s call was to congratulate Eagles’ owner for his plan to turn stadium into self-sufficient energy alternative stadium. The Vick remark was an aside. I’d give Obama benefit of the doubt on this one, for he may have been focusing on unemployment issues for ex-cons & thinking Vick’s hiring sets an example to employers. Which may be inaccurate, but it sounds more logical motive for Obama than promoting a the fortunes of an animal abuser. Apparently conservative commentator Tucker Carlson has suggested Vick should be executed & Olbermann (I think) asked him why Vick and not Sarah Palin, who has been killing animals on her TV show & has advocated shooting wolves, etc. Complex issue.

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