On Monday, the NFL announced that Michael Vick will be among the four legends’ captains for the 2020 Pro Bowl. Darrell Green, former Washington cornerback, Bruce Smith and Terrell Davis, running back from the Denver Broncos will also be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame; the main difference is Vick is a convicted dogfighter organizer.
After serving 18 months in a federal prison for his conviction, Vick became a Philadelphia Eagle and played seven more seasons in the NFL, earning 60 million dollars. He now works for Fox Sports as an NFL analyst.
Pro Vick supporters contend the man served his punishment in prison and like other citizens when released have officially paid their debt to society. That may be, however did Vick ever pay his debt for the egregious torture of dogs used to fight and then killed in the most heinous ways if they lost?
Vick was never punished for animal cruelty. He may have been convicted of “dog fighting,” and he may have gone to prison, but what he and his friends actually did to dogs is worse than anyone could ever imagine doing to any animal – much less a dog.
In the spring of 2019, in Louisville, Kentucky, a football camp for kids was cancelled after social media outrage from animal advocates strongly opposed the involvement of Vick. Created Player, LLC and Prototype Athletics, a for-profit organization had arranged for the camp.
For anyone who has ever forgotten what happened, in 2007 Vick and three other men were indicted on charges related to an illegal dog-fighting ring known as “Bad Newz Kennels.” Although some fans will tell animal advocates to forgive and forget, and that Vick showed remorse for those convictions, it was the degree of inhumanity, cruelty and downright sadistic treatment of the dogs who did not win as fighting dogs, and the degree and torture the innocent animals endured by Vick’s own hands that rocks so many people to the core of human decency.
A carefully written blog described in detail what happened to the dogs:
“The details that got to me … involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water. We don’t know how many suffered this premeditated murder, but the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape, they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.
And then there was more:
“…my mind’s image of a little black dog splashing frantically in bloody water … screaming in pain and terror…brown eyes saucer wide and tiny black white-toed feet clawing at anything, desperate to get a hold. This death did not come quickly. The rescuer in me keeps trying to think of a way to go back in time and somehow stop this torture and pull this little dog to safety. I think I will be looking for ways to pull that dog to safety for the rest of my life.”
And so the whitewashing of Vick’s egregious behavior continues. Although it is fair to say anyone who has paid his debt to society is free to continue his life, but to constantly reward a person for his disgusting behavior to innocent animals is unacceptable.
As the league continues to struggle with Colin Kaepernick because he used the NFL as a platform to demonstrate his feelings against social injustice and racial inequality, a man who intentionally electrocuted dogs in a swimming pool because they lost a fight, is acceptable and rewarded.
What exactly is the NFL thinking these days?
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