I'd be okay if I never heard Michael Vick's name ever again...
I've waited a few weeks to blog about the situation with Michael Vick because frankly, the whole thing is hard for me to stomach. I'm not sure what disgusted me more…the idea that someone of Michael Vick's celebrity and status would be so blatantly stupid and cruel or that his colleagues went on camera and said, "What he does at his own house is his own business." Two NFL players stood on camera on ESPN and laughed about the situation…of course, this was in the very beginning, but how idiotic can grown men be?
I was told this was a cultural thing, that powerful men in the hip-hop and professional sports community have been fighting dogs forever, but does that make it right? Celebrities have been committing adultery, snorting cocaine, and spinning through the revolving doors of rehab forever too, but it doesn't validate that drinking, doing drugs, or sleeping around is socially acceptable.
For any human being to think that it is okay to subject an animal to the cruel arena of dog fighting -- and then to punish dogs when they don't perform well -- should be forced to a punishment akin to their crime. In some countries in Asia, they make the punishment fit the crime…i.e. if you steal, they cut off your hand. Michael Vick and his posse should be starved for a few days, trained to fight, and then put in a ring with other rabid idiots and forced to fight to the death. If Michael wins, he lives to fight another day. At least he would know why he's in there. People have been calling for this type of vindication for weeks now, but the truth is, there is no punishment that fits this crime. These poor dogs have no idea what a good life can be; they're oblivious of the luxuries most animals are afforded: a safe home, plenty of food, and the love and respect of his owner. The most apropos punishment would be for Vick to lose anyone and anything he's ever loved.
I regret watching the media footage that has since haunted me, but for those of us repulsed by cruelty to animals (and I can't fathom the mindset of those of you who aren't), I hope the courts and Roger Goodell see to it that Michael Vick never plays football again. He should never be any kind of role model for our youth (except to know what NOT to do), and at the very least, needs to spend some time in prison.
For animal lovers, his crime is unthinkable and unforgiveable. For human beings, it should be equally repulsive, because someone with that blatant disregard for life usually translates to similar thoughts and behaviors toward other people.
Hopefully, Vick's arrest will put a stop to dogfighting, or at least raise awareness. For one year, let's channel our contributions and make a collective effort to end this cruel and useless sport. True role models like Tiger Woods, Cal Ripken, Tony Gonzalez, LaDanian Tomlinson, and Andre Agassi embrace their fame and use it for charities, children's organizations, and fundraisers.
Take heed, famous athletes…these should be YOUR role models.