Monday, August 17, 2009


In the past, I’ve written about being pissed off at those who try to paper over the crimes they’ve committed by calling them "mistakes." White-collar criminals, like the Enron bunch and the crooks responsible for the current economic crisis, as well as college and professional sports figures are particularly fond of apologizing for the "mistakes" they’ve made. Even rapists do it. Let’s get one thing straight – these people have committed crimes, not mistakes! The only mistake they’ve made was getting caught.

The latest sports celebrity to apologize for his "mistakes" is Michael Vick, former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. Vick has just been released from prison and signed to play by the Philadelphia Eagles. My friend Dave from Lake Havasu sent me an e-mail, "What Michael Vick Actually Did." Part of that message follows. You can decide for yourselves whether Vick just made some mistakes or committed a series of horrendous crimes that would sicken anyone, whether animal lover or not.


……….Some commentators have argued that Vick should be allowed to play because he "made a mistake" and has now "paid his debt." Perhaps these people are under the mistaken impression that all Michael Vick did was fight some Pit Bulls. But dog fighting, as cruel a crime as it is, is the least of what Michael Vick did.

Purnell Peace conspired with Vick, Phillips and Tony Taylor to kill dogs. According to the prosecutor's statement of facts in the case, between 2002 and 2007 Michael Vick and his co-conspirators Purnell Peace, Quanis Phillips and Tony Taylor killed thirteen dogs by various methods including wetting one dog down and electrocuting her, hanging, drowning and shooting others and, in at least one case, by slamming a dog’s body to the ground.

Michael Vick didn't make a mistake. He didn't "make a bad choice." Over a period of five years he forced dogs into deadly fights, and he personally killed, or conspired to kill, thirteen dogs. He didn't pick a quick, painless method of killing, but instead chose a variety of means that qualify as torture. Pit Bulls are powerful dogs. Imagine how hard you would have to work to kill a Pit Bull by forcibly drowning him.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reports, "Sometimes [the dogs] were starved to make them more vicious in the pit."

And Michael Vick didn’t confine the abuse and killing to his own Pit Bulls.

Quanis Phillips, like Vick and Peace, "thought it was funny" to place family pets in the ring with trained fighting dogs According to a November 2008 news story, a report prepared by the USDA's inspector general-investigations division revealed that Vick, Purnell Peace, Quanis Phillips and Tony Taylor also put family pet dogs into the ring with trained pit bulls.

The report, dated Aug. 28, 2008, says, "Vick, Peace and Phillips thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs belonging to [Vick’s] Bad Newz Kennels injure or kill the other dogs."

Supporters say Vick apologized for his actions. But in his famous press conference apology, Vick admitted only to fighting dogs, despite the fact that he pled guilty to all charges, including the killings. He admitted to "making mistakes" and "immature acts." But deliberately and repeatedly planning dog fights and repeated premeditated violent killings of dogs are not "mistakes." They are not the acts of someone who’s merely immature. They are the acts of a sociopath and a predator.

If we can't admit that the crimes to which Michael Vick pled guilty make one a bad person, then we have no definition of morality anymore.

Vick supporters who want to see him play football again should, if they’re being honest, say "We don’t care what Vick did to dogs, we just want to watch him play football." But please don’t say he apologized, nor that he paid his debt. You can’t pay a debt you’ve never admitted you owe.

1 comment:

Centurion said...

Thanks for posting this Howie. Especially those first two paragraphs.

I couldn't agree more.