Despite being high-profile, the Eagles’ newest addition will not be the end all to dogfighting crimes.
Three weeks ago, the Philadelphia Eagles lost their first preseason game against the New England Patriots by two points off the foot of David Akers.
Akers didn’t have to worry, though, because the next day, and ever since then, the only story local and national media have been covering regarding the Eagles is the signing of convicted dogfighter Michael Vick.
Philadelphians are reacting in a variety of ways, the most vocal reactions coming from those who oppose the Eagles’ decision to bring Vick to the team.
“I was shocked,” said Emilee Madrak, junior theater major.
Madrak said she believes Vick’s crimes are too heinous for him to be allowed back into the NFL. As someone who spends her spare time rescuing dogs in Philadelphia, Madrak, like many others, has witnessed first hand the ramifications of torturing dogs and the heartlessness that allows animal abuse to continue. She said she has serious doubts about Vick’s sincerity in apologizing for his crimes and in his pledges to help take on the institution of dogfighting.
While the crime is horrible, it is useless to attack Vick. Aside from the fact that no one can truly determine whether he has apologized sincerely, he has served 18 months in federal prison and lost tens of millions of dollars in endorsements. Additionally, Vick has been forced to file for bankruptcy, declaring $16 million in assets and $20 million in debt. The man has paid a dear price.
Also, Vick alone is not the commissioner of dogfighting. He was merely a high-profile participant. Dogfighting existed long before Vick’s “Bad Newz Kennels” and will, unfortunately, continue. Dogfighting is common and in some places, is not even viewed as immoral.
When asked whether he thought dogfighting was prevalent among professional sports athletes, Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins responded, “It’s prevalent in life.”
Portis went on to suggest that many people, including public officials and police officers, participate in the activity of dogfighting.
All in all, it’s natural to feel outraged at Vick’s crime, but keeping him out of the NFL will not do anything to curb dog fighting. If you truly want to help animals, you must realize that by advocating against dogfighting as an NFL player, Vick can help to extinguish it.
The man who took the field this past Thursday against Jacksonville is a different Michael Vick than the one who played for the Atlanta Falcons. He has committed a crime and served his time, and he has the rest of his life to spend righting his wrongs.
Michael Polinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.