Posts Tagged ‘Michael Vick’

Michael Vick: Redemption Story?

A question posed on the Washington Post’s website recently asks if Michael Vick “has succeeding in redeeming himself” after having done time in prison for running a dog fighting operation.

Denzel, one of Vick's dogs while he was at the League

Most of the responses lean favorably towards Vick with a benefit-of-the-doubt argument, though at least one commentator considers Vick merely a lucky recipient of America’s amnesia when it comes to bad celebrity behavior.

Those of us in the animal welfare field tend to be a good deal less impressed.  Vick’s admittedly impressive performance on the football field does not do the dogs he fought—and those he brutally killed—much good.  He will have to wait a very long time indeed before most animal protection workers forgive him.

On the other hand, Vick now speaks out against animal fighting, and it could be argued that his case has had a very positive effect over all.  America is now taking the crime of animal fighting more seriously than ever as a result of Vick’s high profile arrest.

And that, I think, is the more interesting question: Has America redeemed itself for the blight of animal fighting?  After all, Vick was never the nation’s only or biggest dog fighter.  He joined a culture that was there before him and existed far beyond the fences of his Bad Newz Kennel.

I think the answer to that is a guarded “yes.”  America is now redeeming itself.  As evidence, I would point to the pit bulls in our own shelter, some of whom are certainly the unwilling veterans of the fighting pit. And I know from my colleagues that fighting dogs are being confiscated and rehabilitated in animal shelters and rescue groups across the county.

That’s redemption.

As for Michael Vick, his real redemption will happen in the solitude of his heart, far from the cameras and the stadium with its cheering crowd.  I can only wish him the best of luck with that and hope that his inner transformation will be real and sincere.