MAN’S WORST FRIEND

I’m telling you right now that this post is fueled by my passion for animals and the notion that all living things should be able to live healthy, loving lives. We live in a world where suffering occurs and I know this may ultimately seem like a pipe dream. Nonetheless, I feel strongly about this topic and ask that you listen to your own heart to come up with your own conclusions.

Michael Vick, former NFL quarterback is being considered for reinstatement into the NFL after being released from prison after serving a two-year sentence for running dog fighting rings. This makes me sick.

I’m a drama teacher at a school with a very successful, thriving sports program. I know (on a high school level) what it takes to build a successful, winning team…on and off the field. A player’s skill, training, approach, execution on the field and character off the field are just some of the considerations that a high school athletic director must manage when preparing a thriving young athlete for a potential college career on the field. It’s a long, complicated, drawn-out affair. One that I’m sure has no extenuating circumstances, like steroid use, recruiting, etc. (I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek, although in my own school’s defense…I have never seen a sports program run with more integrity than Faith Lutheran’s.) You can open any newspaper in any city and find a story about teenage drug use…poor choices…unsportsmanlike conduct coming from both players and coaches.

With that said…imagine now the NFL. This isn’t community college…we’re not talking university level football, this is the big league. The very top. The very pinnacle of all things sports. Now…can you imagine the strings pulled and all of the gray areas that put together a professional sports program? The agents, the coaches, the publicists, etc. Everybody getting their two cents worth even before the player even gets a chance to open their mouth. It’s an amazing web of publicity, propaganda and poo-poo.

Michael Vick says he is a changed man. He says that two-years behind bars has given him a lot of time to think. He has gone as far as partnering-up with the Humane Society. Heh. That’s laughable. I cannot think of a more obvious publicity stunt if I tried. (Couldn’t find a picture of Vick birthing calves or nursing a baby goat on his own teet?) Even the president and CEO of the Humane Society Wayne Pacelle said that after sitting down with Vick and his representatives (because we all know that football players can’t so much as shake it after going pissy without a posse) he is no sure of his intentions with this partnership.

NOT SURE? It’s freakin’ crystal. It’s all about the benjamins my friends. It’s seldom ever about the game anymore. It’s about endorsements, TV spots, salaries and franchising. EVEN IF Vick desperately wanted to play ball again…and that was the root of his intentions….should he? Let’s look at it from a strict FOOTBALL perspective. This is a man that not only participated in dog fighting….he trained, raised, and RAN a dog fighting ring. That means he was the head of MANY dog fighting rings.

Let me try to accurately describe what dog fighting is to those that may be unclear on the topic. Thanks to the North Carolina Animal Resource and Educational Service for their very accurate description.

Dog fighting is a sadistic “contest” in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit (generally a small arena enclosed by make-shift, plywood walls) to fight each other, for the spectators’ gambling and entertainment. Fights average nearly over an hour in length and often last more than two hours. Dogfights end when one of the dogs is no longer able to continue. The injuries inflicted and sustained by dogs participating in dogfights are frequently severe, even fatal. The pit bull terriers used in the majority of these fights have been specifically bred and trained for fighting and are unrelenting in their attempts to overcome their opponents. With their extremely powerful jaws, they are able to inflict severe bruising, deep puncture wounds, and broken bones. Dogs used in these events often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight.

Now, before I tell you why Michael Vick should never step on a football field again, let me touch on a few points first.

This is my dog, Penelope.

s1165931154_30011950_6541

She’s a loving, gentle, silly dog who I’ve had for 7 years. I love this dog very much and can’t imagine NOT coming home everyday to this gray muzzle and raspy bark. She’s a member of my family.

This Johnny, my wife’s dog.

s1165931154_30011946_5208

We got Johnny from the shelter as a scrappy little stray. He has grown, and matured into the smartest dog I’ve every seen. He obeys commands, and is one of my wife’s best friends.

I want you to picture these two friendly fuzzy faces in an enclosed ring with a vicious, growling pit bull, bred specifically to attack anything that opposes it. These small dogs, that are often picked up off the street and out of people’s own front yards or picked up from “Free to a Good Home” ads, are carelessly used to train these monster dogs prior to a major fight. They are even called “Bait Dogs.” I’m not a blubbering wussy…but I get teary thinking about some inhumane, heartless, automaton selfishly pouncing on these type of dogs and then throwing their life away without thinking.

And let’s not forget that these fighting pit bulls are sacrificed as well. When one pit bull loses, then they pull another one from their training “camps” and build that one up to be the next monster.

There is absolutely NO REGARD to the well-being of the dogs, whatsoever.

Now let’s talk about the EVENT itself. Usually it is for gambling purposes. Ask anyone who has visit Las Vegas. Most of the people who enter the casinos wind up walking away from the casinos a little bit lighter in the wallet. So, it would be safe to assume that Vick was looking to make a little cash on this dogfighting ring.

One may argue that it was merely for entertainment purposes and compares this type of activity to UFC fighting. Let me just make one thing VERY VERY clear. In the UFC, human beings, with rational thoughts, willingly step into a ring to fight. Dogs are coaxed, trained, bred, and out-right forced to fight against their will. If a dog is raised to fight…bred to fight….trained to fight…and then sacrificed! I’m sorry…but if you compare that to anything remotely human…that’s the stuff horror films are made of.

Did you know that that a study showed that over 72% of known male serial killers had a history of killing or torturing innocent animals prior to turning to human beings?

Another thing is fascinating to me. Over 80% of all known dog-fighting ring criminals have children present in the home or in the actual dog-fighting “arena” at the time of arrest. Vick has three young children. While they weren’t on hand when he was taken into custody, you have to wonder if they were EVER around when the dog-fighting took place. The life of a football star is a busy one. One-on-one daddy time is limited.

Okay….with that said….Michael Vick was found guilty to running dog fighting rings. Guilty. He served his time, has publicly apologized and is willing to participate in public service including working with the Humane Society. ALL THINGS I think are fantastic steps on the road to recovery. BUT….there is a huge power struggle here. Dog fighting could be compared to rape, or murder in the sense that it is a submission thing. It’s a dominance thing. That is something that needs to be nurtured and watched carefully forever…not just 2 years.

If the NFL reinstates Vick, they are supporting his love for money….his drive to feed his obsession…they are taking him away from his children (which he has already neglected for two years and however how long before that)…and they are opening a flood gate welcoming all “reformed” criminals.

He says he’s served his time and is now “reformed.” The word “reformed” means nothing. That’s like saying you’re a Christian because you go to church. You can stand in a garage as well…that doesn’t make you a Chevy. He will forever have to work with this drive for money, power, and dominance. He will find little to not time for that earning $20 million on the football field and clubbing it up with groupies after each game.

I’m sorry, I can’t speak for Vick’s after-game activities….oh, wait! I can! They were proven to be CRIMINAL.

NFL…do the right thing. I’m not a member of PETA. And I won’t be dousing anyone with cow’s blood in protest or anything. I’m just an avid animal lover with a strong drive to try to do God’s will everyday. I try. I sin like everyone else…and I do wrong too. But I do believe that there needs to be consequence for all wrong doings.

I will be sick to my stomach if the NFL allows this man to play again. And mark my words, if they do, Vick will offer a statement THROUGH an agent, or publicist. He never has anything to say himself. Does anyone else have a problem with this?

Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not a huge football fan. But I’m a HUGE fan of doing what’s right.

I plead with you NFL commissioner….to NOT grant Vick’s request to play in the NFL again. Have we sacrificed our dignity for the sake of ONE quarterback…or are we chucking all morality aside like a “BAIT DOG?” Let another player that is training to be as good as Michale Vick was take his place.

I will say, let Vick be a part of the NFL, by all means…maybe let him commentate! Give him a forum to clear his name and prove his changed life…that would be cool. Vick wants in at any cost and if you hand him the ball and say welcome, you are slapping the justice system in the face and showing all un-found criminals that currently participate in the NFL that sure, it’s a doggy-dog world…but we disregard leash laws.

Do not let this fighting dog back into the ring.

**NOTE: I had a link to an online petition to the NFL comissioner asking him to consider not allowing VICK to play in the NFL. That petition has since been sent and is no longer available. I would ask all readers who were interested in signing that petition to instead pray about it, and spread awareness to help avoid animal cruelty. Word of mouth and support is the best form of awareness.

If you feel so moved, you can help with a monetary donation to the American Center for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Visit their website at: www.myaspca.org or you can call 1-888-612-8889.

About these ads

11 Responses to “MAN’S WORST FRIEND”

  1. We had a dogl growing up – her name was Molly, she liked to nap with my cat, chase dragon flies and eat flowers and pickles. If you weren’t careful, she’d knock over your beer and drink it – she had a preference for my brother-in-law’s Budweiser. She was the sweetest, most loving dog you could hope to own. She was also a pit-bull rescue puppy who’s tail hadn’t been “docked” properly so she would from time to time bang you about with her excited tail-wagging – that’s as vicious as she got. These poor dogs who are trained for agression and forced to fight never get to chase dragon flies, bond and play with others, or knock over a cold one on a hot day. And when one of them inveitably ends up maiming a person, the dog (also a victim here) is put to sleep, while the owners or trainers are spared, and once again pit bulls are vilified. It pains me that not only are so many helpless animals sacraficed for sport, but the image of an entire breed has become misunderstood and tarnished, all in the name of greed.

    I completely agree with your position, and am disgusted that the NFL is even contemplating reinstatement for Michael Vick. I did click to sign the petition but the website says it’s closed. Please do warn your other readers the website has a graphic photo of a post-fight dog.

  2. I tried to follow the link, but the site is under maintenance- will check back tomorrow.

    I have two dogs. I got my first dog of my very own about a year ago, and she is like my child. She is this little scruffy ball of joy that I get to come home to every day. I was watching DogTown on NatGeo the other day, and they rescued the worst-case dogs from the Vick fighting rings. There was one dog in particular that didn’t just bring a tear to my eye. As I was watching the show, I was literally SOBBING. It was an adult female, who was said to be one of his best fighters. She had killed many “bait dogs”, and was so skittish, but you could tell she wanted to trust people so badly. They told eye-witness stories about the horrible things that she was forced to do. Since she was their best fighter, they obviously needed to breed her, because her puppies would most likely be promising fighters too. So, they tied her to a post in the middle of a yard (I absolutely hate the name, because it just reiterates how awful it is: it’s called a rape stick), and let a whole bunch of male dogs have at her. The poor dog was absolutely scarred, and I doubt will ever make a full recovery, but by the end of the show, the caretakers were able to cuddle her like a regular dog, and give her a glimpse of the love that she had been missing out on. It made me absolutely sick. I wish I could sign the petition a million times!

    PS- Your dogs are so cute!!!

    Now, I gotta go give my puppies a squeeze……

  3. Michael Vick is a human and is definitely responsible for his own choices. However, in the warped world in which he lives, he is in many ways like the very dogs that he abused. The reason that he never speaks for himself, is because he is just a piece of hybrid aggressive meat who is used to ‘fight’ for other people’s titillation. With all of the pimp (or is it ‘pomp’?) and circumstance that goes along with professional sports in general, is it any wonder that there are so many high-profile players involved in so many high profile criminal activities? Asking the NFL to do the moral thing is like asking Vick to take Penelope and Johnny for their daily exercise. The only reason they would consider it is if it makes them more money than Vick’s reinstatement would. Yes he’s served his time. I’ll take his word (for a moment) that he’s reformed. Let him show it by making a living creating some actual good in the world. If he needs the violence and test of physical skills and ability there are two wars our country is involved in. Let’s see what he could do there.

    By the way, you left out some of the worst of Vick’s involvement. In order to train a fighting dog the trainer regularly physically abuses the animals while losing animals that survive the pit are often tortured and/or used as a higher level of bait dog. Vick was personally involved in the sadistic killing of loser dogs.

  4. erikball123 Says:

    John –

    I always love your commentary. You have a wonderful way of shedding light on subjects. I couldn’t agree with you more. And “pimp and circumstance” made my day….thank you, my friend.

    -ERIK

  5. Awesome post! I too am disgusted when I see garbage like Vick. I am absolutely floored that the NFL is allowing him back. How crappy is that? But the worst part – the fans will welcome him back. What a sad, sad situation.

  6. Erik, thank you so much for highlighting this in your blog. Violent men doing violent things make them a hero to some people. I have sewn up more than a few dogs that were victims of a “not for pay” dogfight. In fact , they are so common we have an acronym “BDLD” (big dog little dog) to describe one of the most common fights. And I have sewn up dogs that I think were probably from dogfighting rings. I haven’t seen one in years, and now with a little more backbone and experience behind me I would have no hesitation in calling animal control, and praying that they would do something about it.
    Its a sad sad world when people find this stuff entertaning. Even sadder that a mediocre player like Vick may continue to make money being somebody’s role model.
    Ramble much?
    Take care.
    Liz

  7. Liz, thank you for caring for dogs as you do. It is a shame that people think he’s fine to come back to work having served in prison. The NFL could easily get rid of this guy with a code of conduct. All my other heroes have one (police, military, etc.) why can’t the NFL? The real answer there, in my opinion is that the NFL is loaded of garbage people.

  8. Hey thanks fir the post; PS this guy takes out all the posts against his point wherther they are rational or not.

  9. erikball123 Says:

    Seedo –

    I absolutely deleted you comment. You used profanity and resorted to juvenile name-calling, reducing yourself to the intelligence level of the “stupid animals” you referred to in your reply.

    I understand there are fans of Vick…and defenders of the NFL….but I also assume that these people are human beings with hearts, souls, and minds.

    Your response to my post, while welcome, was inappropriate and I wouldn’t want any of my students or their parents to be subject to it. If you ever want to comment on ANY of my posts, I WELCOME YOU. But, only if you’re willing to keep things appropriate for all audiences.

    Everybody has a right to their opinion…but the first rule of theatre is “know your audience” and I hope everybody can enjoy my blog without being subject to thoughtless ramblings meant specifically to hurt, instead shed insight on the commentary.

    Vick remains a disgrace. The NFL should be ashamed…and I stand by my every word, position and action….including the deletion of your thoughtless attack.

    Sincerely, ERIK

  10. I have tried to reply to the earlier post but I’m simply unable to degrade my English to a level that matches theirs. I’m sure Martin Luther King would be disappointed to see such hatred and ignorance given the great work he did.

  11. I don’t get it, Mary Pio

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 88 other followers

%d bloggers like this: