Michael Vick: Harkening Back to Gladiatorial Rome
With great interest and disgust, I read the comments from a wide variety of neanderthals, apologists, wayward fans, and those who enjoy a little extra blood with their red meat.
Of course, I speak of those who view the Michael Vick case as nothing more than a band of pansy animal-lovers gathering for a fine whine about protecting these throwaway pets who are often used as meal time for a discerning gourmet in some parts of the world.
The very same misguided mentals who can't understand why Vick is being held to such astonishingly high standards on the level of killing a human being instead of a dog. And those who point out how child molesters are allowed to move back into high volume neighborhoods and have a second chance at life, so why shouldn't poor Mike Vick?
Where this debate has gone is often beyond comprehension and the scope of human reasoning. It speaks much too clearly to our being an oft-times bloodthirsty race which puts wins, losses, fantasy leagues, and the God-given right to wear foam No. 1 fingers well above that of simple humanity.
Here are the facts, which are indisputable.
Michael Vick funded, took part in, and profited from an illegal dog-fighting ring. He took great glee and amusement in watching as his and other "in-house" pit bulls maimed, tortured, and ripped flesh from bone belonging to former house pets.
He was, without any coercion, part of a group which wrapped nylon cord around the throats of dogs deemed no longer "fight viable" and hung them from trees. He showed no mercy, never flinched, and never once had a second thought about grabbing the heads of other unfortunate pets, slamming them into a five-gallon bucket of water and watching as they gasped for breath and died. Horribly. Painfully. Wretchedly.
Judging by these actions, many of which he has admitted and others which were recently unsealed in a report from the USDA, Michael Vick is a brutal and sadistic killer. One who revels in his ability to take a life.
It was only a bunch of dogs, I can hear some already shrieking. These weren't human beings, these were dogs!
That's right, dogs. Unable to care for themselves, depending on the kindness and attention of their human masters, beings who begin life much like children in only knowing kindness and affection until taught otherwise by the wretched refuse of life.
They can't unlock a chain, uproot a stake in the ground, nor scream for their lives when being beaten and butchered. They, like so many other domesticated pets, look at man as friend and family. In times such as these, to their demise.
Michael Vick never plays another down in the National Football League. Period. End of discussion. If he wants to work for an NFL club again, I'm sure we can find him a bucket, a mop, and a bottle of cleanser to scrub down the lockers of athletes who understands the difference between violence on the field and violence in a field.
Playing in the NFL is not a right, but a privilege. Michael Vick has no right to ask and expect to be reinstated under any circumstances. He forfeited that right when he took delight in the butchering of a living creature. And anyone who would demand he be given that second chance to play pro football perhaps should be pitied.
Michael Vick has every right to emerge from prison and return to earning an honest living. There are scores of career paths he could follow with his knowledge. Certainly a few hours here and there around an animal shelter wouldn't hurt.
But the NFL? Never.
There are those who would counter Leonard Little was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and served only an eight-game suspension. Pacman Jones has run afoul of the law in double figures and is being allowed to return.
Pro and amateur sports history is littered with scores of tales about those whose crimes were often worse and still, they were allowed to play again. And on those points they are correct.
But that is no excuse for continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again. No excuse for failing to learn how to be a better society and better people in turn. No excuse for any NFL team nor the League itself to allow this dark soul return to a life of fleeting glory and misplaced adulation.
George Satayana is the man who said "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it".
George Bernard Shaw once said "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history".
Let's make a fresh start, learn from history and not repeat it. Make a statement. Send a message to those kids who worship these players as the faulted Gods they are. Take a hard stand and don't buckle for any reason.
No second chances here. No convenient memory. No back sliding. No excuses.
And no return to the NFL for Michael Vick. Period. End of story.
Veteran national sportscaster Ed Berliner is heard on "790 The Ticket" in Miami and can be read daily along with unedited sports interviews from columnists, analysts, reporters and guests at www.coldhardsports.com.
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