The name Michael Vick tends to incite inflammatory conversations about the man’s widely publicized exploits in dog fighting rings. Pet owners nationwide were largely aghast that the Philadelphia Eagles would extend a contract to a man who was convicted of brutalizing pit bulls in 2009. Now, I don’t believe Michael Vick is any different from Baltimore Ravens infamous bad boy Ray Lewis, who’s rap sheet could circle the equator, just because his crime is against animals. They are both criminals who don’t deserve NFL contracts. I don’t believe either one of these men should be given the privilege of million dollar contracts, public notoriety, and a position as a role model for children. But that’s another conversation.
What I find more disturbing is that the Philadelphia Eagles awarded Vick the Ed Block Courage Award. Are you serious, Philadelphia!? The Ed Block Courage Award is “given annually to a player who exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.” Vick is anything but courageous. Courage implies choice to persevere despite adversity. The only choice Vick made in this situation was to abuse and mutilate dogs. The law caught up with him and placed him behind bars for 18 months. There is nothing respectable nor courageous about serving your prison term.
“I’ve had to overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can bear,” Vick said. “Take a look at what I’ve been through. You ask certain people to walk in my shoes, they probably couldn’t do it — probably 95 percent of the people in this world. Because nobody had to endure what I’ve been through — situations I’ve been put in, situations I’ve placed myself in, decisions that I’ve made — whether they were good or bad. There are always consequences behind certain things and there are repercussions behind them, too. Then you have to wake up every day and face the world, whether they perceive you in the right perspective or it’s a totally different outlook on you.”
Michael, you’re missing the point here entirely. People would not walk in your shoes let alone try them on! They would not beat, electrocute, and mutilate dogs for entertainment. I couldn’t walk in your shoes, not because I couldn’t endure prison, but because I could never have exhibited such blatant disrespect for life! And Michael, you don’t deserve to have a “right” public perception. I perceive you as a heartless, money hungry athlete who was willing to brutally sacrifice animals for cash and amusement.
And where does personal accountability come into play? He shows a glint of personal accountability but loses any credibility when he bookends his speech with his sob story about the challenge of living the life of a convicted felon. He wouldn’t have had nearly as much to overcome had he not continually recommitted himself to his dog fighting ring. Vick should never have gotten another opportunity to play professional sports, let alone an award for pulling himself out of the hole he dug with his own hands.
Philadelphia Eagles, you look like a bunch of Dodos.