When a fellow friend in animal rescue announced Friday night she was disavowing herself from her beloved New York Jets, I knew what was coming next. Michael Vick had a new team. Within a few minutes the social media channels were hot as animal lovers from around the country spewed their anger. In a couple of conversations this weekend, a few people have actually said – let it go – in reference to Michael Vick and his past in the dogfighting world.
He’s done his time. He’s reformed. He’s a new man.
While he has done his prison time, only Michael Vick knows if the rest of those statements are true. What I do know is that not only won’t we let it go…we should not let it go. We should not forget how dogs were tortured and murdered by Michael Vick and how the NFL has shown repeatedly that it’s OK as far as they’re concerned.
Let’s write him another big paycheck…he can throw the ball and win games.
Dog fighting in itself is bad enough. It’s a fight to the death in many cases. Weaker bait dogs are used for training to get dogs ready for the big fight. Yes, pit bulls are the face of dogfights and many other types dogs are used during training. Often these dogs are stolen or offered free to good home on Craigslist.
For Vick, the story is much, much worse.
How dogs were tortured and murdered at Bad Newz Kennels leading to his arrest in April 2007 is enough to make seasoned rescuers have nightmares. It goes to the core as to why the NFL should not have let him back in. Why exactly we should not ever let it go while he can rake in a paycheck from the NFL and endorsement deals from sponsors.
Here’s a rundown–
- According to some testimony, Vick threw family dogs into the pit with the fighters and laughed while they were mauled.
- Dogs that couldn’t cut it were beaten and hung.
- Jumper cables were attached to ears of underperforming dogs, the other end was attached to the terminals of car batteries before the dogs were tossed into the water. Those dogs scratched and clawed to try to escape. What a horrible way to die.
- Around 50 live dogs were found on his Virginia property…many more were already dead and buried after time served in his hell hole.
Vick was convicted of bankrolling a dogfighting conspiracy. When he pled guilty, animal cruelty charges were dropped (not for lack of copious amounts of evidence). Many of the dogs were taken in and rehabilitated by non-profits such as Best Friends Animal Society in Utah and Reynolds is the co-founder of Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls (BAD RAP).
Many people in my circle of friends spend vacations volunteering at Best Friends and have spent time walking and getting to know some of the Vick dogs. This issue is very near and dear to our hearts. While many dogs were rehabbed and adopted – some even becoming therapy dogs – no living, breathing being should ever be subject to the torture like that committed by Vick and his three accomplices.
After the news hit about Vick’s latest job, Jets fans from around the globe lit up social media with their disgust over the hiring of Vick. They should keep it up and not let it die down. They should not let it go and keep Vick’s transgressions in the public eye.
As upsetting as the ongoing Michael Vick story is, what is going on in the NFL these days is systemic of a much worse problem. Throughout the league, owners have shown a winning at all cost attitude and they don’t seem to care if it’s Michael Vick and his dog torture or the many other players in the league with criminal records. There are wife beaters, those accused of rape and those that have faced time on gun, assault, murder and attempted murder cases.
In professional sports, it’s the love of a team that is handed down for generations. I’m a third generation Bears fan. However, as the league continues to keep players like Vick and other criminals in the league, it stopped being a family-friendly sport any longer.
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