Michael Vick Did the Crime; He's Done The Time

Cristina CarriganCorrespondent IMay 20, 2009

RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 27:  Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick (R) leaves federal court August 27, 2007 in Richmond, Viriginia. Vick pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting charge.  (Photo by Steve Helber-Pool/Getty Images)

The Mulligan. The Lucky Dog. The Instant Replay. These are sports’ ways of telling us “It’s ok, we’ll give you one more.” The game of life gives us forgiveness. 

Humans have the ability to tell each other we are sorry and apologetic for our behaviors. And the receiving person has the ability to grant the apologetic forgiveness.  Forgiveness just might be the most powerful ability a human possess’. 

With granting forgiveness, a person (or persons) is set free.  They are able to unchain themselves from their past, and move forward into their future.

As the story goes, professional football player was indicted for felony dog fighting charges and the related. Professional football player accepts plea agreement, in which he is required to spend time in prison for his offenses, pay almost $1 million in restitution, and he will assist the Humane Society in their ongoing battle against dog fighting. 

Lest we forget, professional football player has also lost his career, as of now, his money, his friends, his teammates, his freedom. 

As of today, former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will serve the remainder of his time under confinement to his suburban Virginia home. 

Ironically enough, Vick must spend the last two months of his sentence, locked in his house, much the way his pit bulls spent their time in his backyard.

After Michael Vick pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time in Leavenworth Prison, officials surrounding the case were still left with the question of what to do with the dogs. 

Over 50 dogs were rescued from Vick’s property, and most were waiting in shelters, deemed dangerous and unwanted, to hear their verdicts.

The dogs in these shelters were segregated, fed, watered, and left alone. They were neglected and shown no love, no affection. Then they were given reprieve from the life that might lie ahead of them.  

Stephen Zawistowski, a certified applied animal behaviorist and an executive vice president of the ASPCA, rounded up his team and they went into action, doing what they do best. 

They saved animals in need. After evaluating all the dogs, Zawistowski and his group made their recommendations for the futures of these pups. 

Now, almost 2 years later, 47 of the 51 dogs of Michael Vick’s were saved. Twenty two of the dogs are living the life on the Best Friends Sanctuary where they run and play all day, every day; reveling in more than a lifetime’s worth of love and affection. The majority of these dogs will one day be adopted out into homes. 

The rest are all scattered around the country in foster homes, adopted homes, and organizations devoted to helping animals. 

One of Vicks “Bad Newz” dogs even helps children.  He sits and listens as children who get nervous reading aloud in class, practice reading to their attentive, pit bull audience. 

With 92% of Michael Vick’s dogs being rehabilitated and placed into loving, nurturing environments, shouldn’t we forgive Michael Vick? Isn’t the point of going to prison to rehabilitate the offender? 

With Michael Vick in control of his dog fighting ring, his dogs were at his mercy. They were forced to do unimaginable things, which make even the strongest of us tear up. 

 If the dogs can move through their pasts, and move onto forgiveness, into loving relationships with their new owners, can’t the public forgive Michael Vick for his actions?  He has paid his debt, he has (almost) fulfilled the terms of his plea agreement. 

He did the crime, he’s done the time.  We should give him the second chance he has earned.


Cite: Jim Gorant, Sports Illustrated and the ASPCA for information in this article.