One Fabulous Game will Never Make Us Forget…Ever

Posted by Stephanie Ulmer, Guest Blogger on December 2, 2010

So Michael Vick played a great football game for the National Football League (NFL) on Monday, November 15th. The sports media was all aglow over his success: “Michael Vick has completely revived his career, changed his image in Philadelphia,” reported ktla.com; “Goodell sings praises of ‘maturing’ Vick,” trumpeted the Winnipeg Free Press; and “Time to forgive Vick is here,” wrote Rick Reilly of ESPN. So do you think that the many animals Vick abused and tortured during his reign of terror at “Bad Newz Kennels,” his interstate dog fighting ring, care about his athleticism? The few surviving ones that is, as most did not survive their hell on earth. Are they jumping around for joy that he has helped their fantasy league stats? No, they don’t care, and neither should we.

The day after Vick’s Monday Night Football game, Bill Plaschke, a longtime sports writer for the Los Angeles Times, reported on how Mel, one of Vick’s surviving victims, felt about the game. He wrote about how Mel still shakes and cowers at meeting strangers, about he can no longer bark, and about how difficult life has been recovering from the horrific abuse at the hands of a man that can also throw touchdowns. Mel was a "bait" dog, "thrown into the ring as a sort of sparring partner for the tougher dogs, sometimes even muzzled so he wouldn’t fight back, and beaten daily to sap his will. Mel was under constant attack, and couldn’t fight back, and the deep cuts were visible on more than just his fur." "When you look at Mel," said Richard Hunter, Mel’s new owner, "you just don’t think about how Michael Vick is a great football player."

Yes, Vick served his time in prison–a paltry 21 months. This even after Vick himself admitted unspeakable cruelty to his pit bulls–”the strangling, the drowning, the electrocutions, the removal of all the teeth of female dogs who would fight back during mating,” as listed in Plaschke’s article. Yet, some of those in the mainstream media would like to say that his crimes and atrocious past have been discussed and debated to the nth degree and that we should move on. Hey, Vick is now in the running for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player! He sells jerseys and tickets to his games. He makes lots of people lots of money. It has been easy for them to forget. Why can’t everyone else? Plaschke wrote that some believe that because Vick served his time in prison, he should be beyond reproach for his former actions, while many others believe that cruelty to animals isn’t something somebody does, it’s something somebody is. I am in this second group, and I think that anyone who loves animals probably is, too.  

I am all for forgiveness. There are lots of stories about athletes that make mistakes, moral and otherwise, and then move on. Everyone chimes in that such bumps in the road are a part of growing up, part of becoming a star athlete. After all, to err is human. Some cheat on their wives (Tiger Woods), some take money and kickbacks (Reggie Bush), and some bet on the very sport that they played (Pete Rose). But these transgressions involve adults, humans with their own voice, their own capacities to make decisions. There have also been other athletes that have committed terrible crimes (Rae Carruth) but they are not later thrust into our faces with the media pleading with us to forgive and forget. Vick is different. Never before has there been such a situation where the mistakes were so heinous, so ongoing and so… unforgivable. As Plaschke put it, “Vick’s success is raising one of the most potentially costly and difficult perceptual questions in the history of American sports.” Vick’s case involves helpless animals: those that cannot speak for themselves, those entrusted to the very person who was supposed to be caring for them, raising them, and nurturing them. One stupendous football game does not atonement make.

There is no real atonement here as long as Vick continues to play football. The fact is, Vick is allowed to continue to live his life, play a sport he loves, earn millions of dollars, and basically live the American Dream of success. His poor animals do not have the same luxury. This is what bothers most people. It’s as if the whole thing never happened. Abuse (kill, torture, maim) animals, go to jail, and then come right back to the NFL, and all is well. I just can’t get past it. I don’t watch football anymore, not since Vick was reinstated, and I tell anyone who will listen why. Richard Hunter also told Bill Plaschke that he doesn’t watch it anymore either. I suspect there are many others who feel the same way. No longer watching football or buying NFL merchandise are small victories for the animals in the grand scheme of things, but if we forget what Vick did, it may happen again. We simply cannot allow that, great football game or otherwise. "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." — Elie Wiesel 


19 thoughts on “One Fabulous Game will Never Make Us Forget…Ever

  1. Terri Jones says:

    We have to forgive but forgetting is very different. I believe if he is going to have merchandise for sale in his name than the NFL should give most of the profits to organizations that help animals that have been tortured in the same way. Not watching football anymore is clearly not fair to all the very good ppl that play so that I don’t think will help. But to know that you are there for the animals is a blessing..God will get all that do things like this.

  2. debra dietrich says:

    we never have to forgive! I hate Michael Vick with all my heart and soul! What I wouldnt give to lock him in a pen, his hands tied behind his back and a very hungry tiger. See how Vick handles that! MIKE VICK is a GOOF!!!

  3. Kenway Mead says:

    I could never forget the vicousness with which he treated those dogs and the money and time spent for cruelty. No Sir, I will never forgive and forget!!

  4. Sharon Courselle says:

    Michael Vick should have been banned from football forever. I cannot and will not ever forgive or forget what he did (and probably would do again if he didn’t think he’d get caught). I agree that he should be thrown in a cage with hands and feet bound with a hungry tiger except the poor tiger would probably die from the poison running through Vick’s veins. Can’t do that to the tiger. I hope he burns in hell. Too bad we will never see him suffer as he made those poor dogs suffer.

  5. Tracy T says:

    I hope he is forever reminded on a daily basis of his sick pathetic choices. I hope he is haunted and tormented until the day he dies. And I will not watch a team he plays footbal on. It is a shame that anyone lets him play at all!!
    For illegal gambling on sports athletes are kicked out PERMANENTLY… but for this crime they get no punishment from the NFL?? WHAT A DISGRACE!!!

  6. Teresa says:

    He has NEVER apologized to the dogs he killed, tortured and abused. He has only apologized to his family and fans — for what, for embarassing them, for losing money?? I will never forget and will not forgive such ruthless actions, particularly when the pit of his soul is not deeply sorry for the tremendous pain he’s caused.

  7. Stacey says:

    Vick will ALWAYS be a LO0SER in my book!! Any “person” that does those sick acts on Animals are MONSTERS.. He should NOT have been allowed to play football again. Like the artical states, it is as if he never commited a crime. vick is back to making all his money and making back the money he had to pay out. Oh he got a slap on the hand, big deal. But he never really got to feel the punishment for what he did to ALL those poor Dogs. He is gaining love back because he’s a “great football player”?? So what!!! Look at the person he is on the inside. It’s NOT a good thing. How can you support someone that hurts Animals like that??? How can you support/ love a person that picks on and hurts (and even kills) the weak?? Even though he may have stopped dog fighting (as far as we know), doesnt mean that the TWISTED mind that vick has went away. vick is a M O N S T E R and always will be to me…..

  8. Kathleen O'Keefe says:

    No, I will not forgive Michael Vick, nor will I forget. He is a monster; he got caught. If he hadn’t been caught, I’ve no doubt he’d still be torturing innocent living beings. I find it pathetic that we’re expected to let Vick off the hook because he played a good game of football. What a joke! If he were playing badly, would that mean we shouldn’t let him off the hook? I agree that abusing those poor dogs wasn’t something he did, it’s something he is.

  9. Claire Vinet says:

    I am just incredulous that a person can commit one far lesser crime and serve years in prison, yet someone who has committed countless violent, heinous, and unspeakable crimes spends 21 months in prison and 3 months grounded in his opulent home. Then, he has to do 200 hours of community service. He’s going around to schools talking about the evils of dogfighting, which is good, but consider that everyone else who gets “community service” as part of their punishment gets real punishment: they have to perform grueling work along highways.

    I read the other day that he was at a school doing his talk with Wayne Pachelle, and he said that he was very sorry for the things he allowed to happen to his dogs. He still fails to own up to what he, himself, did to his dogs. Then he proceeded to express pity for himself because his kids want a dog and he can’t have one. This is all classic, textbook sociopathy.

    It’s such a shame that we live in the United States of Amnesia where hideous cruelty to innocent animals can be so quickly forgotten when the perp is winning football games.

  10. lenny matthews says:

    No, this is unacceptable. In my opinion he has lost his privilege of EVER playing football again and representing OUR game!! He has lost all honor and with that should come the loss of privilege. 21 months is nothing considering the ramifications of this mans actions.

  11. Monica Kelly Wright says:

    Forgive and forget what he did because he can play football? How sick is that? What happened to our values? Remember what happened to Pete Rose for GAMBLING? Michael Vick is a cruel, sociopathic, sadistic monster and I shudder every time I think of the innocent children that he is being presented to as a HERO! It’s all about the money now -who cares about the animals he tortured?

  12. Luckydwg says:

    He may be a good athlete but he is a lousy human being. His sociopathic behavior does not lend to forgiveness.

  13. Brian Adamczyk says:

    Before we shower this man with hatred and evil thoughts. Let’s ask ourselves…how many animals, as a society, are we killing cruelly and unusually right now? How many flies, bees, wasps, hornets, ants, frogs, etc have we crushed, maimed, sprayed or squashed in our lifetime. Ever stop to check on a rodent or other small animal you hit with your car on a dark night? Ever stop to think how other athletes who have killed other PEOPLE are still in the NFL and not even in jail? Don’t get me wrong for one second. I love animals, all of them, not just the ones with the cute faces and that can sit on my lap. I think what he did was unspeakable, heinous and barbaric, but he has to live with that everyday. You don’t think he realizes what he did was wrong? Think again. Ever been in prison? I can guarantee you that a man has plenty of time to think when he is away. I’m not defending Vick, all I am saying is let’s not place the crown at his feet when it comes to animal cruelty, he’s not the worst or the first and won’t be the last…oh, and one last question: How is one able to remove a dog’s teeth without the help of a vet?

  14. Lauren says:

    Football players are idolized by children – I am appalled that they would even allow Vick to play because it just shows children out there that there are minimal repercussions for monstrous behavior. I will never forgive nor will I ever forget.

  15. DONNA says:

    I ADVISE EVERYONE TO READ THE BOOK THE LOST DOGS ABOUT THE VICK PITBULLS & YOU WILL BE SICKEN TO KNOW WHAT HE DID TO THESE POOR DOGS & HOW HE TORTURED THEM. YOU WILL THINK DIFFRENTLY OF THAT SCUM VICK OR MAYBE YOU WON’T IF NOT YOU ARE JUST LIKE HIM. FROM THE LOVE OF A PITBULL OWNER!!

  16. kathleen zottarelli says:

    anyone who abuses a living creature, much less lots of beautiful innocent dogs, is sick on so many levels. first off it has been proven that the abuse of animals is the first step that many serial killers take, and abusing animals also makes it easier for them to abuse people..like women and children, who in most cases don’t have any recourse, just like the animals. the only suitable punishment for vick and people like him is to receive the same horrific abuse that these defenseless animals received. and then to have them institutionalized for the rest of their lives, because they ARE serial killers and abusers and have you seen one serial killer rehabilitated, i think not! micheal vick isn’t better, he didn’t do his time, he is a sick twisted individual who deserves only to serve eternity in the pit of hell!

  17. Isabel K says:

    Why would anyone forgive him. He is a heartless, cruel person. I would never allow him to play on a team I owned and I dont understand how the NFL does either. Yea, he can play but hes not worth having on a team for me. Those poor innocent dogs that are still suffering because of him arent playing because they are still scared from his actions.

  18. Collette says:

    @Brian Adamczyk: Do I think Vick knows what he did was wrong? Sure. AFTER he had no other options but to ‘fess up and plead.

    Vick, himself, said in one of his interviews that when he was committing those atrocities he, “didn’t know I was doing anything wrong.”

    Those, my friend, are the words of a sociopath.

    Lots of people have done harm to other people or to animals. But they did what they did, KNOWING they did wrong.

    Vick claims he didn’t know that burning, maiming, drowning, torturing, and murdering a living, breathing, helpless animal was wrong.

    Let me repeat: Vick says he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong.

    If you believe him, those words should send chills through you. If you don’t, then you know him for what he is: a manipulative, unabashed liar.

    Either way, this is not a man who represents either regret or redemption.

    And here’s ONE difference between Vick and your run-of-the-mill animal abusers: No one is demanding that we forgive them, or forget about their crimes.

    Nor do they have the media and ‘fans’ clamoring that they be lauded, admired, and recognized simply because they have spent a few months in jail and henceforth kept their respective noses clean.

    Nope. They’re left to sink into well-deserved (and probably welcomed) obscurity.

    Yet, because Vick can run fast with a little ball, we’re supposed to treat him differently. We’re NOT supposed to acknowledge that Vick is a talented athlete AND a henious excuse for a human being. We’re supposed to “forgive” the latter, and focus on the former.

    We are supposed to place an admitted sociopath on a pedestal.

    And, no, Vick is not the first, and he won’t be the last. However, that matters not a whit. Because we haven’t extended adoring amnesia to those that came before Vick, and we won’t be extending it to those who come after him. More to the point, we won’t be expected to.

    Also, dogfighters don’t use vets. They treat their dogs – if they treat them at all – by themselves. Learning to set up an IV on an animal isn’t difficult. Farmers do it all the time. So, sorry, the credit for ripping out a dog’s – her name is “Georgia” – teeth, all belongs to Vick and his buddies.

  19. Cynthia Preisser says:

    Just the other day I heard that Michael Vick has a child who wants a dog. I was stunned that Michael Vick had a child. It never crossed my mind. I fear for the child of Michael Vick who seems to find it so easy to torture and kill animals. I think that children’s social services should be interested in how Vick raises his children. The judge that gave him the task of going around to talk to groups is just providing him with a grandstand. What he needs to do is send a million or so to animal shelters for the next few years. Its sad that he is being told he has paid for his crime and is complaining he can’t get a dog for his son. He should never have a dog again. I won’t forget either.