I'm really sorry to continue with the Mike Vick Saga...but I've really been struggling with how I feel about him. Maybe you can help me make up my mind.
When Vick was at V-Tech, I instantly anointed him a football god. And still to this day, after seeing what I've seen him do on the big stage, I still believe he is one of the game's greatest talents of all-time. Being a dog lover and compassionate human aside, killing animals for "fun" just does not sit well with me. I can appreciate the fact that some behaviors are learned and I and understand that certain cultures and communities have their "traditions" and "ways of doing things" but there is something very wrong with killing for no good reason.
If you're a hunter, then you better be hunting for food, clothing, or to protect your home and crops, but if your hunting just to collect a new set of horns for your mantle, than you're no better than the animals you hunt. In fact, I'm not sure if any animals kill for fun (or sport) except our F'd up species. Why must we yearn for that rush of the kill, the power of control, dictating death with the squeeze of trigger, or imposing our will to a weaker species? Sounds like a mental illness to me, more than "just something people do". If there's no defense or especially no direct competition, it's not a sport. (yeah I know I probably touched a nerve with some of you,, I fight with my gun-happy uncle and his bullshit excuse for killing deer for a measly 5 links of venison sausage.... I think he just has a small dick and killing big animals makes himself feel all better inside)
When the Mike Vick story had broke, I just went through one of the most traumatic nights of my life. I have an America Bulldog named Rosie. She normally looks a bit meaner, especially when she pants and her face reveals her pitbull genes. As such, people are usually scared of her and it makes me so mad that they prejudge her. She's an 80lb ball of muscle and love.
Rosie is one of the most amazing animals I have ever seen or known. It is almost disrespectful to call her an animal. Sure, she can do any trick, and yes she loves unconditionally like any dumb dog, but Rosie is a little different. For those of you who have let dogs into your lives, you know what I mean. I know exactly what she wants by looking into her eyes and more importantly she knows exactly what I'm thinking and feeling by looking into mine.
It is a crazy bond that occurs; it's a bond with nature, God, life, your inner being, .... it's really hard to explain, but she completes me...(and no I never put peanut butter on my nuts :) ) Anyway, Rosie also served as a therapy dog at an adult facility for mentally ill patients. When I arrived with her, there were droolers, head shakers, head bangers, mumblers and so on.. by the time we would leave... the brightest faces were filled with their missing senses and youthful personalities.. The bonds Rosie made and the reactions we received were nothing short of miraculous.
And so..... I was having some work done in my house and I mistakenly gave these contractors the freedom to come and go. Now Rosie loves every animal and every person she has met, except for 2 guys. One I know personally and she had every right to growl and back away from him. The other was one of the contractors who was a raging alcoholic. Not sure if he ever tried anything funny with Rosie or hit her, or whatever, but one day Rosie darted form the house and he pursued after her. She ran further and further until she was lost. I was called from work and for 5 hours I scoured the woods and drove aimlessly screaming for my baby girl.
I knew she would eventually go to someone, but was very afraid of who that person might be. Dog fighting does have an underground in NJ and dog napping is not uncommon. She was nowhere to be found and I couldn't imagine her wandering off so far. I thought about the worst thing that could have happened. I feared that some asswipe would lure her into their ride and bring her into the dark world of dog fighting. She would be the perfect sparing partner of a champion pit, because she would offer no resistance. She would also be a perfect ringer, because people might actually bet on her based on the looks, no knowing she wouldn't last a second.
It was all bad, and I nearly threw up crying into my steering wheel. I heard the local ambulance dispatched twice and I followed, hoping that they may lead to Roise, alive or dead. Even if she were dead, I could live with the fact that she would be subjected to the cruelty of man. I couldn't imagine such a wonderful girl, captured, tortured, attacked, and left for dead. I thought about her expecting me to save her. I cried to think that she would loose all trust in me, because I abandoned her. I know some "people" and instantly made up a mental game plan on how to infiltrate the dog fighting world to find my Rosie, or the people responsible. What I would do to them would be unthinkable and un-writable (yeah even for me...) Ya see, dog-fighting is not just for the dogs bred into that world, it extends much further and I feared that it had just reached me.
Just before nightfall. I received a callback from the police. Rosie was found off a busy highway a few miles away. She was in the care of some good people. She wore off all the pads from her paws and was in great pain... I found her, and was never more thankful in my life.
Now,,,,, all my projected hate had been on someone, or something, just like Vick. Sure dog fighting had become a very sensitive issue for me, where I had never really thought about it much prior to Rosie getting lost. Vick was brought down and I discarded the two jerseys I owned; including a really nice V-Tech throwback, which I use to wipe down Rosie's muddy paws with today. All the admiration was lost. All the 1st round fantasy picks meant nothing. All the wondering about where Vick's legacy would end up, were fleeting thoughts. I hated him and all that he stood for.
Fast forward two years, and now I question whether he really participated or just funded the dog fighting operations. Whether he was really misled by the horrible people that surrounded him. Whether or not he learned to appreciate how special dogs and other intelligent animals really are...whether or not he even cares. And why do I even care, he's just a football player and just another ex-con.. But I do...I still respect him as a football player and my fraternal bond with all players is preventing me from dismissing him entirely. I am really torn.
When I'm watching him roll out of the pocket once more while making two of the most skilled athletes in the world look second rate, do I cheer for him to blow out his knee in horrific fashion or do I offer a kind smirk of appreciation for his ability.