Michael Vick Is No Hero


Some of my Facebook fans suggested I post (in full) my most recent Tribune Media Services story of January 5 about Michael Vick and my views on President Obama speaking out for Vick, and his yearning to have a family dog. So, here it is.

Michael Vick is no hero

I understand President Obama’s choice to speak out on convicted
dogfighter Michael Vick. After all, since our country was founded, the
President has been a moral compass. It’s what the President said that
bothers me.

Michael Vick

President Obama telephoned Philadelphia Eagles Jeffrey Lurie in late
December to congratulate him for giving Vick a second chance. The
President reportedly told Lurie that a level field playing rarely exists
for prisoners who’ve completed their sentences. Vick’s success gives
them all hope. And the President reportedly expressed his excitement at
Vick potentially leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl (before his time was eliminated) ; after all, the
President is a football fan.

Football fans can certainly tout Vick’s on-field accomplishments this
season. He may achieve the NFL Comeback of the Year, and his stats have
already earned him a starting place in the Pro-Bowl, a game reserved for
the game’s all stars.

However, the President’s apparent redemption – even celebratory words
for Vick – is in absolute contradiction to his very public views about
family values, and the responsibilities of fathers to provide an
appropriate role model for their children. (click continue reading)

Speaking in Chicago in 2008, the President said, “They (fathers) have
abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men.” Less
than a year later, in Arlington, VA, the President said, “If we want
our children to succeed in life, we need fathers to step up. What’s
truly makes a man is a father’s ability to raise a child and invest in
that child.”

Michelle Obama has similarly weighed in on the topic. “Violence is a
role model too often replicated,” she said to a group in Washington,
D.C., last year.

The first lady is correct, of course. We know there’s a link between the
violence that is animal abuse (including dogfighting) and child and/or
spousal abuse. (The “Link” is actually recognized terminology).

The President and First Lady refer to Bo as a member of the family

At some level, the Obamas know about this Link. In June 2009, the
President named Lynn Rosenthal the Domestic Violence Czar. A few months
later, President Obama signed a proclamation denoting October as
Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And this past October, the Obama
administration launched an all-out multi-governmental agency campaign
against domestic violence.

What’s more, the Obamas have repeatedly referred to Bo, their Portuguese Water Dog, as a member of the family.

What Vick and his cohorts reportedly did to dogs is unspeakable.

Perhaps the best use of Vick’s jersey. Even though he’s out of the picture now, the jersey still sells well For me, a sad statement

only one thing worse, and that’s exposing children such graphic
violence. Gangs do this on purpose, somehow knowing that by
desensitizing children, the kids are on board to more likely commit
other crimes.

Vick denies his children were ever present for dogfights, but then he
denied everything he could about his dogfighting activities until law
enforcement proved otherwise and he had no choice but to plead guilty.
It seems possible others on his property, Good Newz Kennels, may have
exposed their children to dogfighting. We may never know the full story.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS with Vick

I understand that Vick did time for his crime. And I even credit him for
managing a comeback under public scrutiny. I credit Vick for his
community service, attempting to steer young people in targeted
communities away from dogfighting. Then again, these community
appearances (made in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United
States) are mandated by the court and are all carefully orchestrated
events. Hopefully, they do some good.

Certainly, Vick scarcely lost any ‘street cred’ in many communities;
though he went to jail, he was still revered. Even fans who were once
suspect about Vick now seem to be on board his Eagle wings. And they’re
wearing his jersey. Vick’s Eagle No. 7 uniform is among the top sellers
in the NFL. Vick only placed behind Tom Brady of the New England
Patriots in Pro Bowl fan voting, tallying over 1.5 million votes.

Listen to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gush over how proud he is of
Vick. Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Wayne
Pacelle is talking about how hard Vick has worked, and says that he
should soon have the dog he wants for his two little girls.

Call me cynical, but my view is that Vick and the people around him
understand that having a warm, fuzzy puppy will instantly remove
whatever tarnish remains on his name. And if the Eagles do make it to
the Super Bowl, we’re talking millions of dollars in potential
endorsements. Does this explain why the HSUS and the NFL are so on

U.S. Marines with a bomb-sniffing dog, all real heroes!

President Obama should be calling the moms of all our men and women
fighting overseas, for they are real heroes, as are children who live
with cancer, muscular dystrophy and other illnesses; cancer researchers
(who make far less money than Michael Vick); and the many quiet heroes
among us who go unnoticed in their efforts to make our world a better
place. Doctors who save lives and veterinarians who do the same are
heroes. Michael Vick is no hero.