Michael Vick for NFL MVP?

Did you know that Michael Vick is in the running to become the Most Valuable Player of the National Football League?

Did you also know that Vick, at this time, is the leading vote getter for the Pro Bowl, eclipsing superstars Tom Brady and Peyton Manning?


It seems that a great number of fans and members of the media are okay with separating his professional life from his personal exploits.  Vick does have value for his team and the league but where does his true value lie?  Vick will forever be linked to dogs and dog fighting and that is the price for his actions.  As he continues to shine on the football field,people may start to think of him more as a football player  and less as a dog fighter.

America is a country of second chances and we seem drawn to stories of redemption.  I'm not saying that you should forgive Vick for what he did to dogs, forgiveness is a personal thing and that's up to you.  I would say that we should never forget or excuse his transgressions or let them be overshadowed by his play.  

This story has brought some much needed attention to the criminal activities associated with dog fighting and it will continue to do so  I do not condone his actions, but his status as a superstar convicted of dog fighting has helped raise awareness for the problem.  When I hear his name, I will always think of dogs and am reminded of what I can do to help make some positive changes in the community.  I hope that many people feel the same way.  If so, then Vick truly does have value, not as a player but as a person.

Comments are welcomed.

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  • We live in the land of second chances. The reasons for that are ripe for exploration but also somewhat boring, as in most so-called celebrities are just mediocre people wrapped in huge egos. In this case I'm going to go with a spiritual explanation. Vick had a purpose: to raise awareness on illegal dog fighting. He fulfilled it. Whatever else he does with his life has little impact on that main event.

  • In reply to vishnel:

    I do think he is in the process of fulfilling his purpose. He will remain in the public eye for many years to come and I hope something good can come out of his past actions. He doesn't seem to be doing too much now...12 appearances on behalf of animals and the promise to "someday" raise a dog in his family as part of his rehab seems to fall a bit short. I do agree that his future actions may not do much to redeem his as a person but he will continue to be controversial and is a catalyst for debate. I hope we continue to talk about the problems that dogs in our country face and strive to raise awareness and find solutions.

  • In reply to vishnel:

    Sorry, Chris, but I do not believe that Michael Vick has yet done anything to warrant redemption. First of all, he has never really accepted responsibility for DOG FIGHTING. His actual conviction was for racketeering, not brutally fighting and murdering hundreds of dogs. Secondly, on the few appearances that Vick did that I could stomach to watch, he repeatedly insisted that he was 'led' to do wrong things. He couldn't bring himself to say the words dog fighting or take personal responsibility for personally killing the dogs. He preferred the 'Devil made me do it' defense. Second chances and redemption should be earned, not freely given. By earned, I mean that a person should show true remorse and acknowledgement for what they did and then demonstrate by their actions that they have a true desire to change or make amends for the wrong that they did. A few choice sound bites just doesn't cut it for me. You might be interested in the 'open letter to the men and woman of the sports reporting community' by Nils Lofgren: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commentary/news/story?id=5876114. I think he was dead on in his comments about Vick and the sports world in general. It is unfortunate that the world of sports is so shallow that it tends to overlook dog fighters, steroid and drug users, rapists and the like to make money off morons with the IQ of a nat simply because they have the ability to throw pigskin. You are correct that Vick will forever be synonomous with dog fighting and his celebrity has brought much needed attention to the problem of dog fighting. However, the thought of Vick being an MVP is as ridiculous as electing Jeffrey Dohmer president. As you know, rewarding bad behavior only increases the liklihood that it will continue.

  • In reply to angelalove1:

    Hey Angela,

    I agree that he has not done enough as a human being to atone for his actions. I was just trying to point out that many people are willing to overlook his transgressions and focus on his skill as a player. Thanks for also pointing out that he was convicted of racketeering and not dogfighting. I was trying to highlight the social aspect of it and it was supposed to read "socially convicted". I'll make the change and add in your point to prevent confusion.

    To be clear, I was not defending the man but simply trying to point out that he does have value to dogs because of his past actions and celebrity. The mere mention of him keeps this story front and center. The horrors of dog fighting and other problems dogs face were made aware to a much larger audience and mainstream media has kept his story alive(albeit twisted). The real question is what have we done with the "window of awareness" provided by this saga? His actions are done and he has indeed forfeited time and money and earned the contempt of a huge chunk of the population. What can we do continue to do with this unfortunate opportunity we have been and continue to be given (by the media and fans of the sport) to educate people?

    Vick's real value is that he remains relevant by playing well, so people continue to talk about him. His link with dog fighting is one that will never be severed by his accomplishments on the field. Some members of society can overlook it now but when his playing days are done I believe that his karma will catch up with him. No, he hasn't done enough for redemption and he will have to answer for that to whatever deity he chooses to honor. The way I see it, we have about five years to take full advantage of the misplaced attention placed on Vick to make some significant changes for dogs.
    I don't think he'll win the MVP either. In the end,character will be considered with performance and that award will probably go to Brady in a runaway.

    I am a football fan and a Patriots fan as well.
    Patriots: 21 Bears:13 Sorry Chicago

    Thanks for the comments Angela!

  • In reply to CDignan:

    I do agree that Vick's celebrity has given much needed media attention to dog fighting and I believe groups like Bad Rap and Best Friends have totally capitalized on this. Remember that prior to the whole Vick saga, dog's that were confiscated from dog fighters were just euthanized. They were never temperment tested or even considered for adoption to new homes. Bad Rap and Best Friends changed that by taking the Vick dogs and SUCCESSFULLY rehoming the vast majority of the dogs. I am sure that you've seen the VICKtory stories about these dogs. They are proof that these dogs can be successfully rehabilitated. Also, Safe Humane Chicago and Best Friends also have a very active Court Case dog program where they are able to train and socialize dogs that historically sat for months or years in the pound as evidence while their court case ensured. These dogs are now being given socialization and training and are finding new adoptive homes at the end of their ordeal. Again these dogs would have simply been euthanized. Then there is the huge success of the HSUS Pitbull Training Team that is in the dog fighting communities in Chicago, Atlanta and others pulling dog fighters out of the fighting pits and into training classes with their dogs. Many of these dogs now have their CGC and the owners, once dog fighters, are advocates for the dogs. I am sure there are other organizations that are doing more now than before the Vick era because his case gave them momementum. I know that I certainy do more personally since Vick for shelter dogs and pitbulls in partucular than I did before. I also think that Dog Saving Network could certainly capitalize on this with the second run of Life's Ruff. Think of the publicity of casting bully breeds in the show and letting everyone see these incredible dogs doing what they just do naturally - please people. Vick is infamous for the horror he caused to these dogs and you are correct that there will be more than the NFL to answer to in the long run. But I definitely see improvement in the way organizations are responding to dog fighting by petitioning for laws that did not exist before. There have also been many victories in the fight against BSL because the Vick dogs have been such an inspiration. Change often does not happen as quickly as we would like but believe me it is happening.

  • In reply to angelalove1:

    Hey Angela,

    Those groups you mentioned(Safe Humane Chicago, HSUS Training Team, BAD RAP and BFAS) are all doing good work. I do agree that they have been given some momentum by the whole Vick story.

    Great points about rehab. Some dogs may not to ever be rehabilitated depending on the extent of their experience and trauma but we do have to try. With success, as you pointed out, more people and organizations may try to choose rehab instead of euthansia.

    We will be starting up our show again and there will be a pitbull presence. I hope that, when people see them in action, they allow themselves to reconsider some of their views and beliefs regarding bully breeds

  • In reply to angelalove1:

    I just read the letter to ESPN from Nils Lofgren and you're right, he nailed it. It's funny, I watch the same show and the comments on First Take by Jemmelle Hill are what prompted me to write this post. I didn't leave a comment but over 8400 people did. I'm sure that there was a mixture of anger and outrage, forgiveness and well...football. Nils writes a lot better than I do and his writing 8400 people to post an opinion. Hopefully some of those people will turn those opinions into action. Thanks for sending the link

  • In reply to CDignan:

    his writing "caused" 8400 people to post an opinion. Sorry for not proofing before hitting send.

  • In reply to CDignan:

    Unfortunately the emotion of this case makes thinking difficult.
    I find when this comes up in conversation many dog lovers want retribution and make him thoroughly pay before he gets any accolades and recognition from the NFL. While I understand, I question whether or not it is best for the dogs. Just from what I have read from interviews with him Vick puts much of his worth and self esteem into his professional football career, awards and cash included, and at least that part of his life seems to be positive( I do not recall him getting into fights on the field or horrible behavior while playing). Having that is an essential part of someone who is wanting to change past behaviors, a big motivation, but take it away and well, why would he change? If he has nothing positive in his life and cannot work towards having positive things in life what do you think he will turn to?
    There are pros and cons to Vick being an NFL player. It has brought national attention to the issue, but it also means the job he goes back to is bigger and gets more attention. If you are o.k. with rescues capitalizing on the attention, you have to be aware it is because he was famous first and know how to effectively take to good with the sometimes bad.
    I know the horrific things he put dogs through, my main thoughts are what is going to make him not do it again, not how much can or should we put him through. Let me make this perfectly clear, I do not think we should just forget what he has done, I am not convinced he is a great role model, I am worried we are setting up for another failure and there might be a better way to handle this. Currently all I find is a huge stalemate. "he is a felon" Vs. "he served his time" It is not likely that if you say he is a felon louder or more often the other side is going to change their mind, or vice-versa, and the longer we stay focus on that the less likely anything will get done in changing anyone's view on dog fighting.

  • In reply to imagine663:

    Hey graham 4043,

    You bring up some good points. What would he do if he was unable to compete in his chosen profession? There would be nothing preventing him from falling back into the a similar lifestyle(without the money)and causing more harm.
    For me,Vick's major role in this thing is mostly done. Sure he will remain in the public eye and make some speeches and advocate for dogs but I mostly see him as "conversation starter".
    When the conversations ensue about what Vick should or should not do or be allowed to do because of his crimes, one thing for sure is that there will be strong opinions and anger. IMO, nothing can come of anger..it's destructive. The stalemate you refer to will continue and, as you say, the focus will be on what was already done as opposed to what we can do. Thanks for the comment

  • In reply to imagine663:

    Hi Graham,

    Your points are well taken about the emotion of this matter. And as for what Vick would do if he couldn't throw a football, who knows. Trillions of people in the world have regular jobs and do just fine. But to me the issue has never been denying him the right to make a living but rather rewarding him for bad behavior. Unfortunately, that is the true nature of the beast in the sports world. I have actually investigated other felony dog fighting cases and the fact is that non-celebrity people with no 'million dollar' status whose crimes in conparison to Vick's are actually less have served more time to pay for their crime than Vick did. It's just wrong that the NFL would put Vick up as some sort of role model because this truly sends the wrong message to impressionable kids that will look at how Vick fought dogs and went back to the NFL to make millions. The NFL is really setting a scary precedent. However, whether or not he is remorseful for what he did, the light that he placed on dog fighting did more to help dogs than the weak laws that preceeded him. However, I don't agree that not anything will get done in changing anyone's view on dog fighting. I have met people who were hard core dog-fighters pre-Vick saga and are STRONG dog advocates today. To me, there is no greater change of view than this.

  • In reply to imagine663:

    Angela,
    While I really do get your anger about the subject, I think you might be misinterpreting my point. It is not about Vick having a job, it is about Vick having a part of his life he values and is positive, and no one gets to pick that out but him. Think of all those trillion non celebrity people, if they no longer got raises, bonuses, or even a good job from their boss, how motivated would they be to work? or be better and anything?
    I get you are upset that the scale is bigger and believe that he can look like a role model to many kids. But who is putting those role model labels on him, the NFL, the impressionable kids(I work with kids and know that most will not remember that he won any award by the start of next season) or you? At the end of the day is this supposed to be about you being satisfied or is it about creating an environment where dog fighting is no longer an issue?
    Also, just to clarify, I meant this particular Michael Vick conversation will not go anywhere. When this comes up it turns the conversation to "make him pay" and some disturbing comments on how they would instead of " how do we stop dog fighting" Ask the people you know who were dog fighters, while they may share your views on Michael Vick, I would guess they stopped dog fighting because of various personal and educational reasons , not because 4000 people on a blog said what they were disgusted with Michael Vick.

  • In reply to imagine663:

    Public opinion can be aversive. You're right about the blog comments and their influence on people not in the spotlight. I do think people who have the power to generate attention will also pay attention to some of the opinions being shared about them. The Vick conversation still has value for me because I still hear new viewpoints which does affect my thinking on the subject. I do agree that there are certain types of conversations that would do no good for either side of the debate

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