Michael Vick is multi-millionaire superstar NFL quarterback who has been indicted for being a member of a dog fighting ring. What's wrong with this picture?
Now, of course, he hasn't been convicted of anything yet, but you have to wonder. If the allegations are true, what would compel him to get involved in such a barbaric enterprise? He couldn't be in it for the money. So if it's not for the money, it must be because he enjoys it. He enjoys it. This is a sport where dogs who lose or don't perform well are routinely executed. From the indictment:
In or about April 2007, PEACE, PHILLIPS, and VICK executed approximately 8 dogs that did not perform well in "testing" sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by various methods, including hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground.
Among the evidence which was discovered in Vick's possession was something called a "rape stand." Again from the indictment: "A 'rape stand', a device in which a female dog who is too aggressive to submit to males for breeding is strapped down with her head held in place by a restraint."
What kind of person enjoys training animals to become killing machines and then executing them if they don't perform well? It's hard to fathom what kind of person fills his days with this "sporting" activity.
Senator Robert Byrd, known for his love of dogs, blasted those who take part in dog fighting. "It is a brutal, sadistic event motivated by barbarism of the worst sort and cruelty of the worst… sadistic kind. One is left wondering: Who are the real animals?… the creatures inside the ring or the creatures outside the ring?… I am confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt."
Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, is under pressure from animal rights groups and others to suspend Vick from playing this season. According to a story in the LA Times, Goodell is reluctant to suspend Vick because he fears it would taint Vick's trial, but he "would like Michael Vick to take a paid leave of absence." However, Vick is resisting that idea and has indicated that he "wants to play football this season."
Senator John Kerry weighed in, calling for Vick's immediate suspension. In a letter to Goodell, he wrote, "I am deeply disturbed by the indictment of Michael Vick for dogfighting charges. I urge you to treat this issue with the utmost seriousness as the case progresses. In light of the seriousness of the charges, I believe that Mr. Vick should be suspended from the League, effective immediately."
If I were Vick, I think I'd take Goodell up on his offer of a paid leave of absence. I don't know how he'll be able to concentrate on playing football, what with all the demonstrations and booing (and barking, I'm guessing) that he's sure to encounter all season long.
Dog fighting has been around for a very long time, and is not likely to be completely eliminated. But perhaps this sorry episode will put a spotlight on this horrendous "sport" and force it out into the light of day. If people are better educated about the immense cruelty of dog fighting, we may be able to begin to rid ourselves of it.