I've deliberately waited to write anything about Michael freaking Vick because I wanted to get over my frothing-at-the-mouth-ragefest before writing something that could be read by anyone who happened to stumble upon my blog. For those of you who have been reading my blog, I don't think that you have to try very hard to guess that I am... not happy... with Michael Vick.
I'm not happy with the Philadelphia Eagles for signing him, either. Nor am I happy with the NFL for allowing him to be signed. Nor am I happy with his fans, who seem perfectly content to forgive him a lifetime of wrongs against animals just because he's having a good football season. But when I heard about his dramatic entrance onto the field surrounded by fireworks and hailed as a hero, I'm pretty sure that my head exploded.
Michael Vick is NO HERO. Sure, he might be able to play football, but that does not mean that he's a freaking hero, it does NOT mean that he has redeemed himself, and it does NOT mean that he's changed one little bit. Yes, I believe that he isn't involved with dog fighting anymore, but for more self-serving reasons than "I just one big happy dog lover now and would never hurt a sweet innocent pup." No, he's just smart enough to know that getting caught a second time would be very, very bad for him personally.
I have a tough time believing that his little tiny prison sentence made him realize the error of his ways, as he is claiming. I'm pretty sure he sat there behind bars wondering why everyone was picking on him, and why we were all so meeeeeean to him. I do not have a tough time believing that he felt some regret, but only regret that he got caught. Because if he hadn't gotten caught... you'd better believe that he'd still be fighting dogs, and yes, killing dogs. And he wouldn't be feeling any remorse for it.
I find myself appalled at the numbers of people that will defend him. Granted, I think I put one or two of them off by my foaming at the mouth last month, and maybe they felt compelled to defend him against someone who was obviously crazy. I've heard lots of arguments for why I shouldn't hate Vick, and that I should forgive him.
1. They're just animals. You eat animals, so you're no different from Vick. I will admit that I am very conflicted about this. In some ways, I have to agree with the argument. I do eat meat. I feel horribly guilty about it, and try to keep that to a minimum. Setting that aside for the moment (something like that could take up an entire blog post by itself) I still do not believe that eating meat = torturing and killing dogs.
2. He's served his time, so leave him alone. Yeah, he's served his prison sentence, which I don't think was nearly long enough, or harsh enough. All this means that he has satisfied the LAW, and does not have to be incarcerated for his crimes anymore. This does not oblige every manjack one of us to forgive him as well. And it certainly doesn't oblige us to be happy that he's making an ass-ton of money and getting treated like he's the only guy who's ever been able to play football.
3. He's working hard to redeem himself. Even the Humane Society has forgiven him! And for the life of me, I do not know why they have. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing that he's going around warning people away from dog fighting, but the cynic in me thinks that he's just doing it to repair his public image. I don't think that he is truly remorseful for his actions, but I do think that he's sorry that he lost favor with the public.
4. He's not the only public figure who ever did something bad! Don't hate! Um... there is plenty of hate to go around. I hate Vick, I hate every public figure who ever abused their fame to be able to hurt someone else. Whether that's hurting and killing dogs, raping women, killing to cover something up. I can surely state that I hate Michael Vick without listing every single other person that's ever done something equally bad or worse, right? Because that would be completely stupid, and none of us could ever have a conversation about ANYTHING without having to list out every single conflicting factor first.
I find it terribly sad that we are so starved for heroes that we are willing to embrace anyone who shows any modicum of talent playing a game. I lost a lot of respect for the NFL over this and other recent incidents with other players, and am really struggling to be able to sit there and smile blandly when people are cheering and exultant over football games. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have never been a gigantic football fan. I watch it sometimes when I feel like it, or when my city's team makes it to the Superbowl, but you're never going to see me hurrying home just so that I can turn on the t.v.) That being said, I haven't been able to make myself even want to watch a game this year. I think that I've gone from bemusedly indifferent to feeling nothing but contempt and animosity.
So... even though I live in a huge football town, and even though I doubt very much that the NFL gives a crap about little me, I refuse to watch a game this year. I especially refuse to watch any game that includes the Eagles. Will it make a difference? I doubt it very much - I'm not exactly going to be trying to convince people to go along with me. I don't have anything against anyone else who likes to watch football, I don't have anything against any Philadelphia Eagles fans out there. But this little boycott of mine is the only way that I can feel at ease with my own conscience. I will not support an industry that supports the likes of Michael Vick.
That is all. Rant off.