Aug 22, 2007

On Dog Fighting and Michael Vick's Disgrace

He was once an inspirational role model for underprivileged youth, and an example of what hard work and a little luck could bring to a person who grows up in poverty. To Michael Dwayne Vick, though, financial and professional success could not provide enough excitement, and the result is the destruction of nearly everything he accomplished in his too-brief career with the Atlanta Falcons.

The young man from the projects in Newport News, Virginia began to associate with some unsavory characters after becoming a multi-millionaire following the signing of a contract with the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. Some like to repeat insipid aphorisms like "you can take the kid out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the kid," but I think Vick's troubles really began after he became a celebrity.

I have always felt that young sports stars and big money are an especially volaitile combination; while working for many years at Joe Louis Arena, I watched up close the self-destructive Bob Probert on his long odyssey of struggles with cocaine and alcohol. Michael Vick is just the latest young man with wads of cash to whom lowlifes are attracted.

Yet it is not my intent to paint Vick as some sort of victim, for the dog fighting operation known as "Bad Newz Kennels" had Vick's complete participation, even to the point of his killing poor-performing dogs. Vick's decision to accept a plea bargain - along with his half-hearted apology - are admission enough of his role as a player in the barbaric world of dog-fighting.

Facing a federal sentence of up to five years, plus the possibility of state charges of animal cruelty, Vick will now be relegated to the status of "has been," or perhaps "never was." At 27 years of age, the Falcons quarterback should have been entering his prime playing years. Instead, he will be spending time in a federal prison, and will likely face a post-release suspension from the NFL. By the time Michael Vick is eligible to play again - if ever - he will likely be well into his thirties, having wasted what should have been the best years of his career as a football player.

I am disgusted with Vick's behavior and complicity as a participant in the cruel torture and killing of canines, but I am equally saddened at the self-destructive personality traits that led to Michael Vick's downfall. Here was a young man with seemingly unlimited athletic potential who threw everything away on the debased thrills associated with betting on dogs who are trained to rip out each other's throats.

And in housing projects across the country, there are little kids wearing black-and-red jerseys with the number 7, passing footballs and wondering what happened to their hero. Michael Vick let down millions of fans with his shameful actions, and his rehabilitation should begin with by publicly apologizing for his disgraceful behavior.


falcon hater said...

Well, since Michael Vick has spent the last few years avoiding the grasp of large, sweaty men, he should be ready for jail. I'm just sayin'!

historymike said...

You are bad, Falcon Hater. Go to the corner and repent for your wickedness.

historymike said...

A warm welcome to USA Today readers. Thanks for the link love!

Animal Chaplain said...

Hi - in light of the Michael Vick stuff, I am especially pleased to share this with others! As satisfying as it would be to personally spay and neuter Michael Vick (without anesthesia), our goal is not to dwell on Vick and the evils of dog fighting, but to teach people how animals SHOULD BE TREATED, and what a blessing they are. Thanks for reading it and passing it on if it interests you. If it doesn't, I apologize. ~ Nancy Cronk at www.Animal

Press Release August 22, 2007

"Animal Chaplains To Honor and Bless All Creatures on World Animal Day"

~ from the Interfaith Association of Animal Clergy

In what will look like a scene from the popular family movie, "Evan Almighty", scores of Animal Chaplains around the world will bless hundreds, perhaps thousands of animals in many different settings on October 4th 2007. At a pet cemetery on the east coast, to a city park in the desert, to a sandy beach on the west coast, they will walk in on a leash, fly in on a harness, and slither in their cages. Barking, mewing, bleating, mooing, whinnying and purring will join human voices in hymns of praise and worship.

That day is World Animal Day, a day dedicated to honoring, blessing, and protecting animals all over the world. World Animal Day was founded at an ecologist's convention in Florence, Italy in 1931 as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4th was chosen as World Animal Day because it is also the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic Church holiday which is often celebrated with an annual "blessing of the pets". Since then, it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and has been widely celebrated around the world. Churches and synagogues in many faiths traditions have adopted "Pet Blessing Day" or "World Animal Day" in increasing numbers every year.

The Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains prepares for World Animal Day by referring its members and visitors to the official World Animal Day website. The site provides ideas and resources to individuals, families, community groups and congregations everywhere. People can post their pledge for volunteering at a World Animal Day event. In addition to blessing pets, volunteers will work at animal shelters, zoos, rescues, and other nonprofit organizations. Dogs will be walked, cats will be brushed, horses will be groomed, and fish will benefit from freshly cleaned tanks. Donations will be given to animal welfare agencies, and pets will be adopted. School children will collect pet food to be donated to charities, and bake sales and car washes will be held as fundraising events. Veterinary clinics will hold free spay and neuter days, or may offer to vaccinate pets at no charge. All over the world, on the very same day, the well-being of animals will be on the minds of millions of people.

Interfaith Chaplain Nancy Cronk feels a day honoring animals is very important at a time when the headlines speak of animal cruelty such as athlete Michael Vick's alleged ties to illegal dog fighting. Animal Chaplains would like everyone to know that every major faith endorses the responsible stewardship of the earth and all of its creatures. "Deliberate harming of animals is in direct opposition to teachings in all of the major world faiths. Caring for animals is our global spiritual responsibility. If we can teach this ethic to all of our children, animal abuse and suffering will someday become a distant memory".

To find out how to get involved on World Animal Day, go to To find out more about Animal Chaplains, go to

(This article may be reprinted.)

Nancy J. Cronk
Founder, Chair and Chaplain
Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains

Anonymous said...

If Michael Vick was not a Star, none of us would even know about this. It is really a shame when you hear about this dog fighting incident for days and days and the media gives about 2 seconds on a child mauling case. As far as I am concerned (and I am not an animal hater)the only good pit bull is a dead pit bull. But no one hears about how a smal child's arms and legs are literally pulled from their body and their faces made unrecognizable. Michael Vick should be on probation and that is all. America needs to find their priorities. I hear about a child that dies because the parents can not afford a heart or kidney transplant. Then, in the media's next breath they speak of a Sea Turtle receiving a new fin to the tune of $500,000. Even a murderer is given a little more liberty when he/she has not had prior conviction. Put him on probation, don't take his life away. They were dogs, not people that were killed. I "wish" them dead every time I hear they have killed or maimed someone. Pita Poop!