Another week, another flight, another Operation Beautiful presentation!  This time it’s at Villanova University (open to students only). 


But first – I wanted to list a few of the freezer-friendly recipes you all recommended that I try to make my work weeks less hectic:



And I also wanted to announce that the Lululemon Raffle for Girls on the Run raised $1,088!  Marie S. won the grand prize.  Congrats!


Let’s see… the rush to the airport was horrible this morning.  I was totally late and only had time to grab this for a snack.


I read this on the airplane, which made me happy considering I did a 20 minute run this morning.  🙂


By the time I arrived at my lovely hotel room, I was starving.  The restaurant was closed, so I ordered in takeout.


Yes, more Chinese.


I ordered steamed broccoli and tofu.  The tofu was a little overkill – probably a whole block!  I ate about 1/5 of the tofu, all of the broccoli, and over half the container of white rice.  The brown sauce helped make it more flavorful.



Debate Time:  The Unsettling Case of Michael Vick


I figured now would be an awesome time to talk about Michael Vick, as I’m currently in Philadelphia!  The Husband and I have been discussing this a lot lately because he’s a HUGE Eagles fan.  If you didn’t know, Michael Vick is the Eagles (awesome) quarterback but recently served nearly two years in prison for federal convictions relating to running a dog-fighting ring.


Facts (from Wikipedia and The Lost Dogs):


  • In April 2007, Vick was implicated in an illegal interstate dog fighting ring that had operated over five years. In August 2007, he pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and served 21 months in prison, followed by two months in home confinement. With the loss of his NFL salary and product endorsement deals, combined with previous financial mismanagement, Vick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2008. Falcons owner Arthur Blank did not want Vick on the Falcons, and after attempts to trade him failed, Vick was released. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and was reinstated in Week 3 of the 2009 season.
  • Vick actually murdered some of the dogs with his own two hands, including slamming one of the dogs into the ground until it died.
  • He served 23 months of prison time and only got 9 days off for good behavior.
  • Michael Vick had to pay nearly $1 MILLION into an escrow to fund the dogs rehab and medical bills.
  • Out of the 49 dogs seized by the police, 48 were deemed eligible to be put into long-term shelters or adopted.


I recently read this AWESOME book called The Lost Dogs.  The book tells the story of what happened to Vick’s dogs in the kennel and what became of them when they were released.   You would be happy to hear, I’m sure, that most went to live with loving families who understand that pit bulls are not inherently bad creatures (I personally LOVE pits).


So, this debate is more serious than the ones we usually have on Healthy Tipping Point, but I am really interested to hear your thoughts because the Husband and I are really struggling with the Michael Vick issue. 


Here are my thoughts:


  • I honestly consider animal abuse akin to child abuse and think that people who torture and kill animals are serious, dangerous criminals.


  • After reading The Lost Dogs and knowing how bad it was, every time I see Michael Vick on TV, I want to vomit.  The things he did was horrible, and I think he should’ve been jailed for way more than two years.


  • However, another part of me believes in our criminal justice system, which says once you pay the time, you have done your dues to society.  Michael Vick certainly paid his time, as decided by a court of law, and paid $1 million for the dogs’ care.  With the exception of sexual predators (who I believed should be monitored for life), I think everyone should get a second chance in our community.  I actually think this is VERY important because this is the way our legal system must work.  Convicts are people, too, and they deserve to work.


  • HOWEVER (and this is the question that I wrestle with), does a second chance mean that Michael Vick should be hired by an NFL team and made into a superstar?  What kind of example does this show for our children? If my Husband committed a felony,  he would not be able to practice medicine, even after he got out a jail.  A teacher would lose her job if she committed a felony.


At the end of the day, I guess my thoughts are:  Michael Vick paid his time, and now he deserves a second chance in society – BUT that doesn’t mean that I would hire him as a quarterback if I owned an NFL team, even if it meant winning the Superbowl (for the Eagles, it might).  It would leave a bad taste in my mouth.


So – what do you think? Are you an Eagles fan?  How do you feel about Michael Vick?  Do you want your sports stars to be “victorious AND virtuous” or do you just want to win?  What crimes would be totally unpermissible for an NFL player to commit?



  • Katie @ Keepingupwithkatie November 17, 2010, 3:31 pm

    I don’t believe he did his time and definitely don’t believe that he should be allowed to come back to the NFL. Pro-athletes have such a bad rep. I think the industry needs to have stricter reinforcements to have respectable athletes.

  • Nikki M. November 17, 2010, 3:32 pm

    I say nooooo way! I am not a huge football fan, but did follow this story on the news as my husband and I love animals. It’s heartbreaking and sad to believe that animal abuse is treated so differently than any other type. I understand that these are “animals”, but if anything else they should be protected more because they can not speak up for themselves. They are like children in that they are left at the owner’s/parent’s will.

  • J November 17, 2010, 3:33 pm

    I have been struggling with this myself lately. My husband and I are from Philly, and are huge Eagles fans AND huge animal lovers. I think that what he did is horrifying, of course, but at the same time I do also believe is second chances. From what I have read about his life, it almost seems as if part of his issue was ignorance (not that that is an excuse). It seemed that he grew up in that dog fighting culture, and honestly did not realize how heinous these crimes were. Although, who knows if that is true. Not all cultures love and cherish dogs as pets like my husband and I do, which I recognize. Either way, I still root for the Eagles, but really can’t wait til Vick is gone, even though he is playing well, I just really can’t stomach him.

    • Rebeca Lynda November 17, 2010, 9:36 pm

      “Not all cultures love and cherish dogs as pets like my husband and I do, which I recognize.”

      Good point, there are some cultures whose members would be deeply affected by the way we treat some of the animals that many of us eat.

  • Erika November 17, 2010, 3:33 pm

    I feel very strongly that Michael Vick should be locked away in prison for a long time. At least he should not be allowed to return to the NFL. Animal abuse in this country is not nearly as enforced as it should be. Make an example out of him and show society that abusing and MURDERING defenseless animals is in no way tolerated. Typically, I believe in second chances, but a sinking feeling in my gut says not to in this case. I’m with you – every time I hear the name Michael Vick I want to heave.

  • StoneCaster November 17, 2010, 3:34 pm

    Hey it’s America, even if you serve your time, you still cant be redeemed in this country. NO SECOND CHANCES!! Even if he took a bullet for the President he still wouldnt have done enough. Not in our America! GO STEELERS!

  • Ann November 17, 2010, 3:34 pm

    Michael Vick should not be serving as a role model to our children. If he is truly rehabilitated then he should be on the lecture circuit telling everyone why. My husband used to be an Eagles fan but can’t even watch them any more. Sadly, it all seems to be about money.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 3:35 pm

      He does go to schools voluntarily and talk to kids. Does that change your mind?

      • Ann November 17, 2010, 3:36 pm

        Well, it certainly helps . . . that’s for sure. I still don’t think he should be playing ball though.

      • Sarah for Real November 17, 2010, 4:15 pm

        That definitely ruffles my feathers. Though I have to say that if I were a parent I would simply ask that my child not attend the assembly. I don’t think it’s the responsibility of the legal system to parent our children. I think he can play ball but I would be cautious of what my kids learned about him.

      • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness November 17, 2010, 4:30 pm

        I don’t agree that him going to schools and talking about it makes it better… I wouldn’t want a person like that around my kid!!!!!!!

        • Katie November 18, 2010, 9:13 am

          What about when schools bring in recovering addicts to speak to children? They too have issues and have been less than stellar role models, and many have served time in jail. Are you opposed to them interacting with your children as well?

      • Leanne {The Energetic Mommy} November 17, 2010, 4:47 pm

        As a teacher/parent, I would NOT want him speaking to my students/children. People who are cruel to animals are very sick people, in my mind, and more than likely have other deep rooted issues.

        I would also never allow my children to have jerseys or other NFL memorabilia of his.

        • Megan November 17, 2010, 6:21 pm

          while he might have other issues, wouldnt it be best for youth to see that it is possible to turn a troubled life around? people should not be turned away because they might have some underlying issues that need to be dealt with. as someone who works with youth in crisis, i am constantly searching for examples of adults who have recovered from a life that, at one point, was heading down the wrong path or who have worked on continually improving themselves. we all have issues/demons and can point fingers all we want, but at the end of the day, it is not up to us to judge each other.

        • Ellie November 17, 2010, 9:58 pm

          I agree with Megan.

      • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness November 18, 2010, 12:01 pm

        I think that adults who have recovered from going down the wrong path, such as alcoholism, stealing, etc would be a good speaker for children to listen to. I think children of all ages can benefit from seeing someone turn their life around, and it also helps them learn WHY they should not do those things. Hearing someone talk about how poor choices led them to drugs, which then led them to being homeless (as an example) might make kids think twice about their actions.
        But I still stand by my original statement- I would not want my child in a room with someone who was so violent, like Michael Vick. It would be the same with a murderer- just because a murderer had served his time does not mean I would drop my child off with him. If I received a flyer from a school that said “Good news, we will have a speaker next week. He killed 8 people over five years, but don’t worry, he spent two years in jail and your kids will learn from his mistake.” I would be appalled. The point is that he KILLED. VIOLENTLY. MALICIOUSLY. He knew what he was doing. It wasn’t an accident. It was intentional. He subjected other living beings to TORTURE and PAIN and ABUSE.
        To me, there is a difference between alcohol abuse/drug addiction/theft/ wrong path in life, and someone who kills a person or an animal. It wouldn’t be up to me to judge, but it would be up to me to protect my child.

    • Melissa November 18, 2010, 9:14 am

      I completely agree with Megan.

      I am not a football fan at all. I have a dog and cant begin to subscribe the love that I have for her. When I first heard the news about what Vick did, I was upset. I couldnt believe it. I wont even begin to type what I thought his punishment should be. Looking back now, I can laugh at it. While I still think what he did was horrible, I do believe in second chances. He’s served “his time”, according to what our justice system deemed appropriate. I feel that he should be able to live a normal life. I dont excuse what he did, but none of us are perfect. Who am I to judge him? Would we want to have to pay for our indescritions for the rest of our lives? Absolutely not!

  • Erika November 17, 2010, 3:34 pm

    Animal abuse in this country is not nearly as enforced as it should be.

    – I meant: are not convicted as much or as harshly as they should be.

  • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers November 17, 2010, 3:34 pm

    i agree w/ your thoughts and would NEVER hire him on a team i owned because i would want a team of reputable people who i felt were honorable off the field, not just on the field. i am a huge animal (and dog) lover, so it really, really hurts my heart to think of anyone ever harming an animal. also, there have been studies conducted that show that those who abuse animals are 5x more likely to commit violent crimes. (here’s one source:

  • meghan November 17, 2010, 3:35 pm

    is cheering loudly and proudly for a recreational event more important then making a point about abuse and murder? he should not get treated like a superstar.

  • Chrissy (The New Me) November 17, 2010, 3:36 pm

    I agree with you, Caitlin. He did horrible things and did his time. He does not deserve to be jailed for life (though that would be nice!) but he also doesn’t deserve to go back to being a superstar in the NFL. Sorry, but athletes are more than just football players – they’re role models and people look up to them and emulate them whether they like it or not.

    Let him return to society. Let him earn an honest living. But don’t let him back into the NFL.

    • Amber K November 18, 2010, 11:00 am

      I agree completely!

  • Alyse November 17, 2010, 3:37 pm

    I think there are certain professions that are an ABSOLUTE privilege to be in, such as a doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.. And I would tend to lump pro athlete into that, not only because of the money but because of the impact on people’s lives. I don’t think he should be able to play pro sports again. It was a privilege for him, and I think that he lost that privilege.

    P.S. I’ve never watched a football game in my life. haha.

  • Jess November 17, 2010, 3:38 pm

    I believe that he has paid his debt to society by jail time, probation, fines, etc. What he did to those dogs really is unforgiveable and truly disgusting though. However, I do believe he deserves a second chance at his NFL career. He seems truly repentant in all the interviews I’ve watched and articles I’ve read. He really seems to have turned his life around, which most people forget, is the point of our prison system today–to be able to rehabilitate people who have committed crimes to be re-released into society and lead “normal”, productive lives. I guess time will tell if he truly has made a change for the better. Until he proves all the haters right (which I hope he doesn’t), I’m sure going to enjoy watching him play football. The man is an outstanding athlete.

    • Jess November 17, 2010, 3:43 pm

      You aren’t kidding. He is an incredibly talented football player. Did you see what he did against the Redskins on Monday night?

      • Jess November 17, 2010, 3:44 pm

        Yes! What an incredible game on his part!!

      • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 3:45 pm

        Yes – dude. He is an insanely good football player. Totally epic.

    • Lisa November 17, 2010, 3:56 pm

      Im a Redskins fan. Not fun to watch 🙁

      • Erin @ Bishella November 17, 2010, 4:27 pm

        Same here. It was brutel. Even more so because it was Vick. 🙁

    • lindsay November 17, 2010, 4:22 pm

      Jess – I agree with you. Either he has an incredible PR person and I am totally naive OR he really has turned his life around because he seems so very humble, remorseful and real in his interviews.

      • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:26 pm

        I agree that he does seem remorseful!

      • Rebeca Lynda November 17, 2010, 9:41 pm

        He does seem to be remorseful and maybe it’s because I’m a Clinton fan but your job and who you are a person don’t necessarily have to go hand in hand. He’s a talented athlete so he’s using those skills. He’s learned a lot (it seems) so he’s using his voice in a positive way.

    • Melissa November 18, 2010, 9:16 am

      I agree with Jess. Heck, he makes me want to start watching football. 🙂

  • Jess November 17, 2010, 3:38 pm

    I am an Eagles fan. A huge one, from Philly and I’m fiercely defensive of my QB.

    I think what he did to those dogs was absolutely horrible. In no way am I defending that, but the man served his time. He apologized, he tries to teach kids that what he did was wrong. He’s clearly trying to make amends.

    Now he’s back to work doing what he does best. Playing football and kicking butt at it. He spent time as a back up, getting in games only once or twice to run special plays. He was second fiddle for an entire season and humble about the whole thing.

    He wasn’t named the starter this season, and he was happy to play the role as back up to Kevin Kolb. He was just happy to be playing his sport again.

    Now he’s the starter, a job he won outright by being better.

    And now allll the haters are out complaining. Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. It’s time we all get over it. He served his time. He went to jail. And now he’s working again.

    He’s a human, made a mistake, paid the price and deserves his second chance.

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. If the Eagles re-sign Michael Vick, I’d buy his jersey.

    • Stephanie November 18, 2010, 8:26 am

      I totally agree with you Jess. As an Eagles season ticket holder, I too am a huge Eagles fan. A lot of people out there just hear of the horrible crime he committed. They don’t see that he’s out in the community, talking to kids in schools and trying to make himself a better person. I’m not saying what he did wasn’t wrong but learning from where he came and the environment he grew up in, to where he is now, has to say something.

    • Katie November 18, 2010, 9:15 am

      Would your opinion change if he weren’t playing for the Eagles?

      • Jess November 18, 2010, 4:17 pm

        Katie, I don’t think my opinion would really change if he was on a different team, but it’s hard to speculate how I would react if it were a different reality.

        At the end of the day though I think I would feel the same. What he did was terrible, but he served his time and he’s a great athlete and deserves the chance to play football again.

        • Jess November 18, 2010, 4:18 pm

          Stephanie, I totally agree that no one hears about the good stuff he is doing at the in community. Or if they hear about it they ignore it or say it’s not enough. What do people want?

    • Ashley November 22, 2010, 1:47 pm

      While M.Vick may be a great fb player he still is a criminal in my eyes and many others..I certainly wouldn’t want any of the children that I know listening to the crap that he has to say…He shouldn’t be praised every week because he throws a ball…and rehab. my ass he trained to play fb the whole time he was in jail..he is a disgusting pig.

  • Sara November 17, 2010, 3:39 pm

    Like you, I generally believe that people deserve a second chance if they’ve done their time and have proven that they want to become productive members of society (besides people who have committed sexual crimes, as it’s been shown that many, if not most, cannot be rehabilitated). However, Michael Vick’s a murderer. Sure, not of humans, but a lot of criminals start with animals. He shouldn’t be allowed such a high-profile job with ridiculously high pay and access to everything imaginable. People, especially children, idolize athletes, and this is a horrible example; why should he get to have exactly what he had before?

    • Penny November 17, 2010, 5:00 pm

      Soooo, anyone who intentionally steps on an ant on the sidewalk, or flushes a bug down the toilet, or kills a mouse in a mousetrap is a “murderer” then, right? If Julia Roberts mentions in an interview that she killed a spider in her bathroom one day, and the interview is heard by millions of children, should we then prohibit her from acting because she is such a bad influence on our youth?

      Yes, it is deplorable what Michael Vick did, and now it’s over. He absolutely should be able to return to his normal life.

      • Liz November 17, 2010, 5:23 pm

        I wouldn’t say that stepping on an ant accidentally on the sidewalk is the same as intentionally killing a dog with your bare hands.

        • Penny November 17, 2010, 7:08 pm

          I didn’t say accidentally, I said intentionally. A killer is a killer is a killer, right? (I say that sarcastically, because that seems to be the original argument of Sara) And no – my examples are not the same. Nevertheless, it makes no sense to keep him out of a profession that has nothing to do with his crime, especially after he completely paid his debt to society. He did everything that was asked of him, and more.

      • Sara November 17, 2010, 6:29 pm

        Well, I don’t think that your examples are quite the same as what Michael Vick did. If Julia Roberts killed an animal with her bare hands, then yes, I’d agree with you, she shouldn’t get to live a priveleged life, be showered with money, and looked at as someone to strive to be like either.

        • Rebeca Lynda November 17, 2010, 9:46 pm

          Maybe I’m naive but doesn’t sending the message to the little boys out there that he paid some real consequences (jail time, money, etc) sending out a good message. I teach in a DC public school, in the ‘hood… I’ve talked to the 5th grade boys about what he did, boys who I know have seen dog fights, whose uncles and fathers have them regularly, and the vast majority of the conversations were about how they would never do that. They talked about never doing that to an innocent animal or taking a huge risk like that which could lead to jail and losing their careers. It’s not like he walked away after handing over a check. Kids *get it* I certainly want my 5th graders to see that there are real consequences no matter who you AND that there are real second chances no matter what you did.

        • Sara November 17, 2010, 10:11 pm

          Rebeca: Not sure why there’s not a “reply” option. I agree that people deserve second chances. But I think that when most people serve their time and get out of jail, they have to start over from the bottom for the most part, not just go back to their super high-paying NFL position. And I do think it’s important for kids to see that people make mistakes and can turn their lives around. I’m just not sure that this is the best way to do that. But also, to be fair, I haven’t spent much time thinking about this particular case; I’m not a football fan at all. Still, I appreciate the discussion! So interesting.

        • Sara November 17, 2010, 10:15 pm

          (There was no “reply” option on your reply, that is. But it worked anyway!)

  • krista November 17, 2010, 3:39 pm

    I agree with quite a few others that he shouldn’t be allowed back in the NFL, what a horrible role model and an embarrassment to how America works. Money really does buy you everything here!

    I’m not a big animal person AT ALL but I truly believe that animal abusers are just as messed up in the head as child abusers. EVIL!!!

  • ida November 17, 2010, 3:41 pm

    animal abuse is disgusting, but NFL players do disgusting things all the time. How many guys have DUIs and still play? Drunk driving endangers human life, which dog fighting does not. I can’t stand MV, but according to the law he has paid for his crimes. He has the right to work again,

    • Mandy November 17, 2010, 3:51 pm

      Thanks for making that point. The NFL is no moral compass.

      • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 3:52 pm

        True that.

        • Amy November 17, 2010, 4:05 pm

          Well said.

  • laura November 17, 2010, 3:42 pm

    OH man, as a Philly resident and Eagles fan, I have given this a LOT of thought and had my fair share of heated discussions. And I’ve changed my mind about 30 times. I think it comes down to the justice system, though; we as a society have decided that we find what he did 2 years worth of repulsive, and so that’s what he did to repay his debt. I can’t go down a road where people who commit crimes can’t be re-employed after doing the time. There’s a conversation to be had about the influence of professional athletes in this country, but until we have it and hold them all to the same standard, I don’t think it’s right to single Vick out (although I’d be glad if he was what got things moving).

    I think there’s also some weirdness when it comes to animal rights in this country- we’ll eat them, and look the other way when it comes to abusive practices towards some, but not others, and it’s all on a different scale to each of us individually. If someone offered the average person a million dollars to kick a dog in the face, I’d be disappointed and disgusted if they did it, but I couldn’t blame them for considering it. I can’t even guarantee I wouldn’t consider it (although I really hope I wouldn’t). And yes, what he did was horrific, but if someone thinks of dogs no differently than fish or chickens, is that criminal? Who decides? It’s just kind of dicey.

    I will support my team (E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!) and be stoked when he plays well, but I won’t ever be able to consider him a good person. I wish I could ask that of him, but really? I can’t.

    • Jess November 17, 2010, 3:49 pm

      Laura you made a really good point. What about all the other horrible people in the NFL. I mean was Big Ben’s incident really only worth a six-game suspension? There are tons of other athletes you could point to and I’m kind of over Vick being singled out.

      There are tons of good and bad people in the NFL and I think you’re right that until there’s some standard across the board, singling one out doesn’t do anything.

      • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 3:50 pm

        I think that all felons should not be allowed to play for the NFL, but that’s just my vote. Just like in any privileged field of work!

    • laura November 17, 2010, 3:52 pm

      (PS – this came out sounding much more sympathetic than I intended; I meant to include that I think people should take animal abuse much more seriously and that it should be a more severely punished crime – but we need to do that as a country and can’t blame Michael Vick for not spending more time in jail.)

  • Michelle November 17, 2010, 3:43 pm

    I 100% agree with you about people deserving a second chance. BUT I have zero respect for any team that hires him. What he did was disgusting and I don’t think can be chalked up under the “people make mistakes” excuse. He willfully abused and killed helpless dogs. The fact that millions cheer him on makes me sick.

    I’m glad he *seems* to realize the errors of his ways. However I think his redemption came all to easily and for me I don’t know if I could cheer for the Eagles with him on the team.

    • LJ November 17, 2010, 4:12 pm

      i completely agree with you. calling it a mistake is incredibly insulting. i also seriously doubt that he regrets his actions. he simply regrets getting caught and publicly humiliated.

      • Michelle November 17, 2010, 6:21 pm

        Yes! Exactly! I think he has surrounded himself with a good team of people who knew the image he needed to present to get his career back.

  • Leanne November 17, 2010, 3:46 pm

    This whole thing sickens me. Especially reading “•Vick actually murdered some of the dogs with his own two hands, including slamming one of the dogs into the ground until it died.”

    I honestly cannot even beging to understand anyone who lays a aggresive hand on animals or children.

    I don’t believe he’s a changed man. I believe he got caught and is sorry that he lost endorsment deals and money.

    I think he needs to do some serious soul searching and seek counselling. This whole thing makes me furious.

    I completely agree with you Caitlin when you say that if a teacher/doctor commited a crime this heinous, they wouldn’t get their job back, so why should he?!

    I think there needs to be more of a “moral code” in sports, and teams should consider what kind of character these athletes show on and off the field. I’m sick of us tolerating bad behavior because these people are “celebrities”

    …on another note (& then ill get off my soap-box!):
    I used to work at a vet clinic and initially thought/believed what everyone said, that Pitbulls were horrible nasty dogs. What I slowly came to realize is that they are actually a very nice breed. Most (id say 99% of them) that I was in contact with were nicer then the other breeds we took care of.

    I remember having a long talk with a pitbull owner and he said to me people need to start “blaming the owner, not the breed” which I thought was very powerful. I don’t agree that we need to “blame” but I think educating the owner to treat their animal would work better.

    ….this is my two cents!

    • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers November 17, 2010, 3:55 pm

      “hate the deed, not the breed!” 🙂

      • Cyndi Eggers November 17, 2010, 10:08 pm

        True. I’m a happy mom to my second set of a Rottweiler and Doberman and have recently added another “difficult” breed mix of a Blue Heeler/Pitbull. The problem lies in satisfying these breeds’ need for exercise, intelligent play and love. My pups are what brought me to running. The dogs that are tied to trees and left alone are the ones who are neglected and frightened.

  • Rachel November 17, 2010, 3:46 pm

    This reminds me alot of how I feel about celebrities in general being able to continue being famous and rich (or make lots of money again after filing bankruptcy) after comitting any type of serious crime (drugs, dog fighting, etc.). There are few others lifestyles and careers where people can act completely immoral and inhumane and still engage in that same life or career afterwards. It is a sick, sick double standard.

    Why is Michael Vick allowed to beat a dog’s head into the ground until it dies and then still be able to be a huge football superstar again?

    It disgusts me. And I don’t agree with him it. 2 years in prison and 1 million dollars isn’t enough justice for what he did, if you ask me. He shouldn’t be allowed back in the NFL, or any type of position where he’d be a role model for young people.

  • Regina November 17, 2010, 3:46 pm

    I thoroughly agree that animal abuse is on the same level as child abuse. I know our son, and most little boys (and some girls) look up to sports players as role models. NFL quarterbacks included. After involving himself in such horrific behavior, yes he may have served the time and should be allowed a second chance, but no that chance shouldn’t come with limelight and fame. He doesn’t deserve to be a role model to any child and rehiring him would do just that.

    I’m a Criminal Justice major and while I think he payed his time LEGALLY, he just does not deserve the right to be a role model anymore.

    • Ellie November 17, 2010, 4:10 pm

      I definitely agree that someone who has committed a felony, and that of animal cruelty in particular, does not have the right to serve as a role model afterward. However, I’m a little unclear about the extent to which athletes are actually role models. There’s the Wheaties box trope but I am not so sure that athletes have as much capability to influence the moral development of children or adults as people seem to think they do. I think there are a lot of professions that are more respected AND “cooler” than being athletes these days. However, I’m not a football fan so I may be underestimating its importance in the culture due to ignorance of it!

  • karen November 17, 2010, 3:47 pm

    I am not sure what the law is surrounding animal rights so will assume that if he did the prison time he was given then he served his time in that regard. I live in the Atlanta area and this was a HUGE debate when it was going on. I applaud Arthur Blanks for not bringing back Vick. He is an excellent player; however, as someone who is regarded as a superstar I would expect them to have an image that could be respected. While Vick served his jail sentence, I do not think he should be back on the field in such a high profile position.

  • Brie @ Brie Fit November 17, 2010, 3:48 pm

    I think it is ridiculous that he is allowed to become a multi-millionaire superstar again.

    Yes, he has paid his debt to society, but that doesn’t mean we need to return him to his status as a role model for children.

    He disgusts me. Personally, I think the NFL shouldn’t allow players with any felony convictions on their record to play. Maybe then they’d start thinking about their actions before innocent lives get hurt.

  • ashmastandrea November 17, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Thanks for bringing this up. I think it’s very interesting how celebrities come back from scandals like this. It never seems fair when a famous person gets punished by the legal system, but after doing their time, they’re able to settle back into their lives as they were before. This rarely happens for the “average person,” who most likely would lose their job or accreditation after getting into legal troubles. I’m thinking along the lines of Paris Hilton, Chris Brown, etc.

    I’m glad to hear that he is speaking out against this culture. I think that it’s good that such a high profile person was charged in a case like this because it does bring the issue to light.

    I’m not a football fan, and I don’t have a stance on this particular cause, but I think there is some concern about people in the public eye getting a slap on the wrist from society when it comes to breaking the law.

    Thanks for starting this conversation! 🙂

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 3:49 pm

      UGH chris brown is my #2 most hated celebrity.

      • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers November 17, 2010, 3:56 pm

        who is number one? (if it’s michael vick, i’m going to feel like a total blonde.)

        • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 3:58 pm

          Haha it is, in fact, MV.

      • FoodCents November 17, 2010, 4:46 pm

        So where does Mel Gibson fall, then?

        • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:50 pm

          Haha he sucks a big one, too.

  • Ashley November 17, 2010, 3:48 pm

    I despite Michael Vick with every bit of my being. I liken animal abuse to one of the worst acts someone could ever do. Like you mentioned, it’s similar to child abuse and someone knowingly took advantage of a naive creature who was defenseless. It makes me sick and though of ANYONE idolizing him and regarding him as any sort of hero makes me want to vomit. Sure, he did what he had to, to try to negate the bad press, but in my mind, he needs to disappear. He isn’t deserving of one bit of attention, no matter what his athletic abilities are.

    • valerie November 18, 2010, 4:56 pm

      he sickens me and i really do hope he has horrible nightmares of what he did to the helpless dogs.

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story November 17, 2010, 3:48 pm

    I am also a HUGE Eagles fan. When they signed Vick I honestly thought I was going to have to give up my team. My dog IS my child. I also think animal abuse should be treated the same as child abuse. I would like to start by saying, I do not agree with what Vick did, nor do I think his punishment was severe enough. However…Vick was given a sentence by the criminal justice system. He served his sentence as it was given to him. He did what was asked of him. So, I’m going to support my team and he’s a damn good quarterback. That doesn’t mean I think he’s a great person or that I would wear his jersey…but like I said, he did his time as it was given to him. What more is he supposed to do? Self-punish? Self-jail?

    Ok, sorry, I’m just sensitive about this topic as my friends (non-Eagles fans) love to pick on me about the fact that I am still an Eagles fan after they signed Vick knowing the way I feel about animals.

  • Rachel November 17, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Have you read Gary Francione’s opinion on the subject? He wrote a great piece for the Philadelphia Daily News:

    • Melissa November 18, 2010, 9:37 am

      Thank you for posting that article!! What an excellent article. It sums up some of the feelings I have about the issue.

  • Rachel November 17, 2010, 3:49 pm

    While I am in no way defending dog-fighting, Michael Vick has done more time and paid more dues to society than most people in the NFL for what I think are equally as bad or worse crimes. See: Ben Rothlisberger. MV went to jail, went bankrupt, fought his way up from a second string quarterback position to be where he is now. He also does community outreach now to discourage dogfighting. If you can’t get a second chance after that, I don’t know when you can.

    • FoodCents November 17, 2010, 4:48 pm

      Rachel, are you refering to Rothlisberger & the female in Georgia, over the off-season?

      • Rachel November 17, 2010, 4:57 pm

        Yes, but I’m also thinking of situations that other commenters have brought up like Ray Lewis (alleged murder) and another player who killed someone in a DUI (although the name escapes me).

        • Heather November 18, 2010, 1:45 pm

          Donte Stallworth

        • Rachel November 18, 2010, 1:47 pm

          Yep, that’s it.

  • D November 17, 2010, 3:49 pm

    I think he should have been in jail longer, but I don’t think you can compare him to a doctor or teacher. Yes, what he did was horrific, but his job doesn’t put him in charge of anyone, or responsible for anyone’s health or education. People might argue he is a “role model” for a child because he is an athlete, but I think that would be poor parenting rather than the fault of the NFL for hiring him again. A doctor or teacher should lose their job because they actually have real social responsibility. If the NFL were to NOT let him play, then you’d have to argue that models, actors and actresses shouldn’t be allowed to ever star in a movie again if they do drugs, get a DUI, etc. They have no real social responsibility, and if a parent thinks they DO, then they should probably reevaluate things.

    • Rachel November 17, 2010, 3:56 pm

      “then you’d have to argue that models, actors and actresses shouldn’t be allowed to ever star in a movie again if they do drugs, get a DUI, etc.”

      I would argue that, actually.

      But I do agree with you, the ultimate person responsible for setting a good example for their kids is the parents.

      • D November 17, 2010, 4:18 pm

        Out of curiosity, why do you think this? I’m not being argumentative (I promise!), just curious…

        I would argue that actors are paid to do a job, which is to entertain us through a fictitious medium. What an actor or actress does in their personal life really has no bearing on their work (to an extent). Furthermore, I think it’s safe to say that the majority of celebrities have major skeletons in their closets, and just because we don’t know about all of them doesn’t mean drug use and all that isn’t happening. How many celebrity scandals are found out years after? And while I obviously don’t support drug use or DUIs, you can’t really say that anyone who has had that kind of trouble shouldn’t be allowed to work again. There’s a hell of a lot of people out there who have had issues, and then fixed them, and there’s a hell of a lot of people who do drugs and we have NO idea. Just because someone does something in public doesn’t mean it’s not happening in private either. I think in the case of Hollywood actors, we should separate reality from fiction. There are sooo many role models out there…we don’t need to look at the obvious people (who are role models for what…acting in a movie?? )and then crucify them when they don’t live up to some standard we set for them based on what we think is appropriate for children.

        Love this discussion!

        • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:19 pm

          I love this discussion, too!

          Someone else mentioned this below, and I just want to say that I do think convicts should hired for certain positions because our society and legal system works that way. I don’t know if Michael Vick should be banned from the NFL, but I think that if I was an owner, I would have trouble hiring ANYONE who had committed a felony against animals, children, women, etc.

        • Rachel November 17, 2010, 4:26 pm

          I guess the part that bothers me is that they so easily drop back into their work life with no problems and get to enjoy all of the perks of being a celebrity while other people who get felonies slapped on their records are banned from other professions no questions asked, whether they considered themselves “rehabilitated” or not.

        • Anna @ History Running Girl November 17, 2010, 4:41 pm

          I think there are celebrities who have had problems with the law and drugs who have done major turn around like Robert Downey Jr. I think he has clearly turned his life around and deserves to be in the spot light.

          I do think there should be something more for celebrities for felonies. Like I feel like chris brown just got a slap on the wrist in a way. I have no suggestion for what more punishment they could have. Perhaps a ban from working in the industry for x number of years. Like Rachel said, a felony can ban you from a lot of jobs.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:04 pm

      I agree with this. As a teacher, having a murderous streak would have put every child at my school in direct and immediate danger. The same is not true of a celebrity.

    • Ellie November 17, 2010, 4:12 pm

      I didn’t see this comment and made a similar reply earlier – I agree. I think that there is a certain category of public figure (celebrities) who, despite being public figures, don’t necessarily represent a moral standard due to the nature of their work. Other public figures (politicians, teachers, religious leaders) do seem to have representation of a moral or ethical standard implicit in their work.

      • Bronwyn November 17, 2010, 7:28 pm

        I agree with this comment too – as a teacher we directly influence children every day and have a responsibility to behave according to a Code of Ethics (which we agree to upon becoming registered as a Teacher in NZ) – I am bound by my profession to behave in a certain way and if I transgressed then my registration would be revoked.

        I’d be surprised if there was a similar code of ethics which bound all sports stars!

  • Courtney November 17, 2010, 3:50 pm

    as an eagles fan, i have struggled with the michael vick topic for almost 2 seasons. i lived in atlanta when the dog fighting allegations arose, and was sickened by the thought. that being said, i do believe that he paid his time, physically, mentally, emotionally, and monetarily. contrary to what many people thing, he receives only a small amount of what he is paid by the birds. i also feel that his remorse for his past actions and public commentary about dog fighting may actually help others understand just how ‘wrong’ his actions were…when he plays as he did monday night, many people notice…and his past actions are highlighted – and perhaps a few people change their behaviors because of people like him. (hey, i like to hope people learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others!)

  • Amanda D November 17, 2010, 3:50 pm

    I loathe Michael Vick. Loathe. I can’t even watch a game that he plays in because thinking out about he was accused of, found guilty of, and admitting to doing makes me physically ill.
    It also makes me ill to think that two years and one million dollars made everything right and people accept him back into the NFL like nothing happened.

    Now here’s the deal. I live in Pittsburgh, and am a die-hard Steelers fan. Yes, our QB was recently accused of two separate sexual assaults. Obviously this isn’t what we’re discussing, but he was only accused and never charged with a crime and never served any jail time (doesn’t mean that he isn’t guilty but that isn’t the argument) but has been practically vilified in the NFL. Anytime they mention his name, they mention his suspension, the accusations, etc.
    Any time I hear Vick’s name I never hear anything about the dog fighting, the jail time, the fine, etc.
    The two scenarios are so different, yet so similar and everyone seems to pretend that what Vick did never even happened. And that is the worst part.

    • Stephanie November 17, 2010, 4:01 pm

      Actually, on the MNF game this week, they made mention of the jail term, crimes and suspension. And I’ve heard it during every single game I’ve watched for the Eagles (albeit not all, because I’m in New England).

      And, yeah, they definitely do bring up the Big Ben issues too…probably part of the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality – meaning if it’s bad, put it out there because people want to know!

      • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:02 pm

        Oh man.. If it bleeds, it leads. I love journalism.

        • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:03 pm

          Well, not all of journalism is like that, but you know what I mean.

        • Stephanie November 17, 2010, 4:14 pm

          So so so true. Speaking of, I just read “Getting It Wrong” about the 10 “most misreported” stories in journalism. That was REALLY interesting.

        • Carrie H November 17, 2010, 4:15 pm

          I really hate this overarching stereotype about journalism. As a small-town reporter myself, I get this accusation all the time. But here’s the deal: don’t you want know the dangerous details about your community leaders and/or situations in your locale? Or if there is a sexaul predator on the loose? Those may seem to be “if it bleeds it leads” stories, but they are also, in fact, public service. If local media didn’t report things like that, people would complain the other way … and be less informed.

      • Amanda D November 17, 2010, 4:11 pm

        I guess that was probably a bad example since I don’t ever watch Eagles games but I’m glad that they do bring it up.
        It just seems that anytime I hear announcers and the teams on CBS and FOX talking they never seem to mention Vick’s “troubles”. I’m obviously not listening to the right games.

        • Stephanie November 17, 2010, 4:13 pm

          Oh yeah, when they’re doing the breakdowns, it’s more like “wow he can still run, look at his arm, whhhhoooooppp!” But they seem to bring it up at least once a game during the actual games.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday November 17, 2010, 3:51 pm

    Not sure what it’s like in the US, but hiring practices here in Canada indicate that not hiring a convict for a job unrelated to their conviction solely because they have been convicted is a crime.

    The NFL couldn’t stop Vick from playing football (unrelated to animal abuse), but he could be barred from a career as a veterinarian, for example.

  • Katie November 17, 2010, 3:51 pm

    I am absolutely appalled by him. This is hard for me as dedicated Virginia Tech fan (go HOKIES!) and I absolutely loved watching him play. However, I think it takes a very sick person to treat animals in the matter that he did. I will never forgive this behavior and do not support him as a person or as a football player anymore.

  • Megan November 17, 2010, 3:54 pm

    This is something that my husband and I have also had quite a few discussions about. As a dog lover, it totally sickens me about what he did to those poor animals.

    As a sports fan, I still don’t like what he did – but, I can appreciate that he has a ton of talent. Sure our society puts athletes on a pedestal, but, is that Vick’s fault? He is just using his talent to make a living. I would never go buy his jersey or anything, but, I can appreciate that he paid his debt and is trying to move on with his life in (what seems to be) a positive way.

  • Kelly November 17, 2010, 3:54 pm

    I agree with all of your points. There were rumors that the Panthers were going to get him in the draft and I know that if I had gone to a game, I would have not have been able to cheer him on. I only have to look at my Rascal to remember that animals are so precious and no living things deserves to be treated as he treated his dogs. I believe there is a connection between how you treat animals and your value of life in general. Is he capable of more? That’s not for me to judge, but it makes me wonder.

  • Lisa November 17, 2010, 3:54 pm

    I am a huge dog and animal lover. I personally think that what Michael Vick did was horrible and also agree that there should be harsher penalties for animal cruelty. That being said our criminal justice system is not “fair”. Drunk drivers sometimes serve less time in prison for killing a person then Michael Vick did. I don’t believe (from what I’ve read) that he was considered any more favorably then if a regular person had committed the same crime. I think he has served his time and should be allowed back in the NFL as long as it complies with their guidelines. Most employers won’t employ felons but if the NFL does then he should be allowed to play given the opportunity by a team. That being said, if I was an owner I would not want him on my team but I think that is an individual franchises decision not the NFLs.

    I think a big thing that people don’t understand is that the majority of these players grew up like Michael Vick not knowing any better (not that that is an excuse) and with little to no education. If you give a person like that millions of dollars it does not make the person any better or any more educated or have better values.

    I also have heard that he continues to do community service speaking to kids and working with the Humane Society. I personally dont like him but think you cant keep him from playing football if you allow other felons second chances as well.

  • Ellen November 17, 2010, 3:55 pm

    to me, this is another kind of misogynistic, male-power-trip type behavior that is all too commonly seen in professional athletes. sure, this is an extreme, but i still feel like glorifying athletes with fame and exorbitant salaries is akin to society encouraging the behavior. i mean, hello, tiger woods?

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 3:59 pm

      That’s pretty much what the book says. That is was one big male power trip.

    • Sara @ OurDogBuffy November 18, 2010, 9:39 am

      Amen. And then you have teachers and other honorable jobs that do something productive, outside of entertainment, who get paid squat. Not fair. Not right!

  • Dee November 17, 2010, 3:55 pm

    I can’t answer most of these questions- I don’t care about football, the eagles, or Michael Vick, and I do believe that when you commit a crime you deserve to pay the punishment, and I think I’m comfortable with the punishment allotted, and glad that he didn’t get a slap on the wrist.

    The part of your question that I do have strong feelings about, is the virtue requirement for celebrities. I don’t believe celebs are there to teach us morals at all. I think it’s wrong that people tend to “look up” to celebrities, it’s kind of sick to me when people do that even under the best of circumstances. There seems to be a character void, to me, in celebrity worship in the first place. Admire, yes. Follow as a model, no.

    Also, I don’t think your analogy to docs/teachers and losing licenses is equivalent in this case. NFL work is not important or significant. It’s a money maker, whatever. But docs and teachers are being trusted to do very important, significant things FOR VULNERABLE PEOPLE, as part of the JOB. (caps only for highlighting, not attitude)

    An NFL player is not providing services to vulnerable people, so I think the owner is in the clear in that respect.

  • Carly November 17, 2010, 3:56 pm

    I was actually just having this discussion with my boyfriend, who is a huge football fan.
    As an animal owner and lover, I’m horrified by what Michael Vick did. I don’t believe he had a heavy enough punishment but I believe that’s a failing of the justice system. I don’t think we should necessarily judge him for getting what looks like a light sentence as it means he was adequately represented in court. It also seems like crimes against animals don’t seem to draw extended sentences, regardless of who commits the crime – which is very sad, but would make a very heavy sentence for Michael Vick disproportionate. So boyfriend asked a similar question to Caitlin, where do you draw the line? And I really couldn’t answer.

    So I guess right now I look at him and try to see what he could become. There are a lot of athletes, actors, and public figures who have committed crimes and have made their way back to hero status. It’s very probably that I’m in the minority here, but if there is a team that is willing to look past his wrongdoings and treat him like any other football player then that is good for him. I don’t think taking away his career/self identification would necessarily help anything. It would make people who are sickened by his crimes sleep a little easier, but it won’t bring any dogs back to life and it would lessen his chances of continuing to donate to animal welfare causes.

    Carly’s verdict: Play on, Michael Vick. But be grateful for the second chance and continue to learn from your mistakes.

  • Tiffany November 17, 2010, 3:58 pm

    I don’t believe he deserves a second chance because I don’t believe he’s really sorry for what he’s done. And you know what really bothers me? The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) actually supports Vick now and has been working with him ( A lot of people look up to the HSUS as a champion for animals, and look what they do…

  • Stephanie November 17, 2010, 3:59 pm

    I believe Vick did his time (per the judgement and sentences provided), and I don’t think he shouldn’t be playing football (because, let’s face it, if a team wants him and the commissioner isn’t going to ban him, then he’s available). Donte Stallworth killed a man while driving drunk and got 30 days, and he’s playing too. And Lane Garrison from Prison Break only did 18 months of his 40 month sentence for killing a 17-year-old while driving drunk (he’d met the kid and gone to a drinking party with him).

    Dog fighting is heinous and cruel, and, yeah, akin to child abuse. Vick, as far as I understand, is doing work for the SPCA and is never allowed to own a dog again. He’s acknowledged that he was wrong and apologized. But he also got hosed by his “friends” who were running the ring. His case is a little of “be careful who your friends are” too, nevermind “don’t do illegal things that can get you put behind bars!”

    Every game I’ve seen him play, there has been some mention of his jail time and crimes (they DEFINITELY did this past Monday). He has to live with this forever, too.

    • LJ November 17, 2010, 4:17 pm

      he did a lot more than simply fight the dogs though. he took it to levels that require a certain level of mental instability. it’s also pretty easy to live with the stigma when you make more money than god 😉 i don’t think he’s hurting too much regardless and i think he deserves to suffer for the rest of his life.

      • Stephanie November 17, 2010, 4:26 pm

        I get what you’re saying, totally. There were 3 other guys there too, and they definitely did not end up with the same sentences because of their “cooperation” for lack of a better term. I went through denial, shock, horror, sadness…etc when the case unfolded. His 60 minutes interview, though, was what made me think he got it and wasn’t just living with what he did. But I do get what you’re saying. =)

  • Callie November 17, 2010, 3:59 pm

    My husband is a HUGE Eagles fan too! Here’s my take on the situation.

    Michael Vick has paid his “debt to society” as our justice system requires. Whether or not the NFL wants to have a policy on not hiring convicted felons is up to the NFL to decide. It’s important to note that he is not the only convicted felon playing in the National Football League. As heinous as Michael Vick’s crime is, there are actually players out there who have committed even more serious crimes – including MURDER! (Murder charges against Ray Lewis were dropped after he agreed to testify against two co-defendants, and he later reached a settlement with the daughter of the man who was killed to keep it out of civil court.) And MANSLAUGHTER (Dante Stallworth hit and killed a man in Miami after he had been drinking). Others have committed battery, assault, sexual assault, etc etc etc. I’m not saying this to make Vick somehow sound better, but he isn’t doing anything the NFL hasn’t allowed before. His “limelight and fame” may be more than other players with sordid pasts because of how good he is. If he was a no-name defensive tackle, I wonder if it would even be an issue. Or if the crime weren’t so incredibly unique, maybe it would have flown under the radar more. Bottom line is, until the NFL decides that convicted felons can’t be part of the NFL, Michael Vick is free to go back to his job and make a living doing what he does best. Anyone else who committed his crime could go back to their job after serving time as long as there was not some requirement against it. Since there is no requirement like that, I say, he should play. Just my two cents!

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:01 pm

      I think you make excellent points and I’m tempted to change my ruling and agree with you.

    • LJ November 17, 2010, 4:20 pm

      i think it’s a little ignorant to say that manslaughter is a more heinous crime than soberly torturing and murdering innocent animals. that just illustrates the superiority complex that humans have.

      • Callie November 17, 2010, 4:21 pm

        I would disagree with ignorant, but I do understand that people have different feelings on the matter. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

        • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:23 pm

          I agree with the general sentiment here. I think its hard to categorize heinous crimes as “worse” than one another because they are all pretty shitty. I think the biggest issue for me is that taking a animal life shows a lack of compassion for living things. That’s pretty crap.

    • Theresa @ActiveEggplant November 17, 2010, 4:25 pm

      Spot on! As horrendous as I think MV’s actions were, he paid his debt to society as spelled out by the court. Until the NFL (or any other employer really) implements a rule or regulation prohibiting felons from working for them, I believe he has every right to play.

    • molly November 17, 2010, 8:33 pm

      I agree that to punish MV further by banning him from the NFL would be to single him out perhaps because of his level of skill or perhaps because of his particular felony. I think it is the job of the NFL to re-evaluate their overall policy on hiring felons and I am still unsure how I feel about that. Personally, I think they should allow them in if they have done their time though I totally understand the opposite sentiment. However, I think the key here is to be fair to all players. If other felons are allowed to play, is MV being singled out? I think so…

      I think there are other interesting issues to be brought up such as culture, time allotted to different crimes, and redemption, but overall I think having a written policy on such situations is the best way for the NFL to handle them so as not to allow emotions create potentially allow us to discriminate against animal abusers vs other felons.

      Finally, I think that being a pro athlete is so different than a doctor or teacher. Those are two professions where individuals are entrusted with the well-being of others. Being a role model is important factor to consider, but no way in my mind do these people have close to the same level of responsibility as doctors and lawyers.

      Anyway, to reiterate my main point: POLICY is the best way to handle this. If there is no standard set, then kicking MV out of the league would be discrimination despite his attempts at reform whereas other felons are free to play.

      • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 9:58 pm

        I think this is a very intelligent comment indeed! The NFL needs new policies, I think.

    • Melissa November 18, 2010, 10:01 am

      I completely agree with Callie.

  • Jenny November 17, 2010, 4:00 pm

    I also read the Lost Dogs, and agree with you on nearly all points. While I don’t think he should be playing football, I fully realize that if we didn’t allow criminals to play professional sports, most of our organized sports leagues would not exist. People who mistreat those in helpless states (children, animals, elderly, mentally ill) deserve much harder sentences. I certainly hope there is a special place in hell for them.

    • FoodCents November 17, 2010, 5:06 pm

      “If we didn’t allow criminals to play professional sports, most of our organized sports leagues would not exist.”

      I would like to see the evidence that backs up this statement, because it doesn’t seem to be correct. Sure there are some criminals playing any sport, but we also live in a society where those who do the crimes also get the attention, much more than when athletes do good things – which happens quite a bit.

      There are some crooks in major sports, but not ALL athletes are “criminals”. Stereotyping is dangerous.

      • Jenny November 18, 2010, 9:13 am

        You’re right; I apologize for the overexaggeration. Not all athletes are criminals and that was wrong of me. There are many who are fantastic role models. It just gets frustrating to watch people idolize the professional athletes that have very loose moral ethics. They’re shocked when these things happen, but then continue to idolize them afterward.

        • Jenny November 18, 2010, 9:14 am

          I will also add that I was among those who were crushed when Marion Jones was stripped of her medals. I really wanted to believe that she was better than those using performance enhancing drugs.

  • Christina November 17, 2010, 4:00 pm

    This is a question that my husband and I have debated at length as well. We are both huge football fans, and love to watch the game every Sunday afternoon. It may not seem fair that he gets a second chance to play in the NFL, but think about how many other criminals and poor role models play professional sports. Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of sexually harassing/molesting multiple women, and yet he is a starting QB in the NFL. Bret Farve is currently under investigation for sexually harassing a woman. Plaxico Burress shot himself in the foot in the middle of a crowed nightclub, and he will be back next year. How many other NFL players have gotten away with crimes by paying off those they injured or wronged? How many sports stars have taken illegal steroids and have only had to pay fines or sit out a few games? It’s not really fair to say that Vick shouldn’t have been allowed back in the league when so many other players have been allowed back in after committing a crime. I do not, however, condone the actions of the NFL. I do think that playing any professional sport is a privilege and that if you commit a crime, you shouldn’t be allowed to play anymore. However, it would have to been an all or nothing type of deal. It’s not fair to say Vick can’t ever play football again, and allow Plaxico Burress (who was also convicted of a felony) to play again. The NFL can’t judge what is right and wrong or which crimes are worse than others, that is what our justice system is for. They should have a policy in place that doesn’t allow convicted felons to play ball. I certainly couldn’t work my job if I’d ever been convicted of a felony.

  • Eliza November 17, 2010, 4:03 pm

    At the time, he thought it was okay to hurt animals, and was able to do this (most people wouldn’t be). I think it takes a terrible person to harm animals. So I think, yes he has been punished, but he is still the same person

  • Julianne November 17, 2010, 4:04 pm

    What Vick did was horrible, but he did his time and he worked his way back. There are lots of NFL players who have committed crimes and been charged formally, but have not been suspended from the NFL. I don’t think NFL is very consistent with the personal conduct policy.

  • ashley November 17, 2010, 4:04 pm

    what a great topic, you reminded me that i would really like to read that book. my thoughts are:

    objectively: yes, michael vick does seem to have paid his debt to society, both financially and via incarceration. ex-con’s need jobs to, in order to re-assimilate into society, and football is the job that he knows. vick is not responsible for children or the health/well being the others, as a teacher or HTP husband are in their professions, so legally, it does not seem just to prohibit him from what is likely the only real profession he has ever had.

    subjectively: and morally, as someone whose dog is the apple of her eye and totally agrees about animal abuse being akin to child abuse, i think his return to fame and success is reprehensible. it would have been so commendable for him to be prohibited from playing football by the league itself, on the basis of morality. unfortunately, this is less profitable for those with a vested interest.

  • Melissa November 17, 2010, 4:05 pm

    Hey Caitlin,
    I’ve been a huge fan of your blog. Im a student at the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve loved living Philly, though I am originally from Chicago. I’ve dappled with the vegetarian thing and there is one restaurant that I think you should try since you are out in Philly. Its called Mi Lah. Its AMAZING. ( Its at 218 S. 16th Street which is right in Center City) Everything is vegan or vegetarian. I had this amazing brussel sprouts entree! You should definitely try it out if you have the time!
    Good luck on your presentation!!

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:06 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation!!

      • Shelby November 17, 2010, 4:18 pm

        Or Su Xing House, at 1508 Sansom St.

  • Kristin November 17, 2010, 4:06 pm

    My pit bull is a rescue, so maybe I’m biased. In fact, I started crying six paragraphs into that book. (I ended up putting it back.)

    I absolutely in no way believe Michael Vick served his debt to society. He got a light sentence because of his job. That is disgusting. He abused animals. People who abuse animals are disgusting.

    I have a real hard time with people who dismiss his crime because he’s a good football player. So what? I’m a good writer. I don’t get to commit crimes. Those dogs are LIVING THINGS.

    He has a lot more penance to do before I’m willing to give him a second chance. If the NFL wants to do that, that’s their business, but I don’t have to support it, or him.

  • Erin November 17, 2010, 4:06 pm

    I volunteer at one of the shelters that took in some of the dogs after his dog fighting ring was exposed and after seeing what I saw, I think that he should have served WAY more time in jail. An animal should not flinch away when a hand holds a bowl of food out to it, an animal should not be covered in bite marks and have half their face smashed in because a bait dog was needed, and an animal should never have to wonder if a person walking by wants to hurt or help them. I’m disgusted by what he did and I wish the NFL would grow a back bone and realize that just because he’s good at playing football doesn’t mean he should be given the opportunity.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:10 pm

      Thank you for volunteering with animals!

    • valerie November 18, 2010, 5:11 pm

      yes, thank you for volunteering.

  • Jay November 17, 2010, 4:07 pm

    I used to feel the same as many others here (that he shouldn’t play ever again) however think of all the other professional athletes who have been involved in criminal activities, allegedly or other (Ray Lewis comes to mind).

  • Anna @ History Running Girl November 17, 2010, 4:10 pm

    I agree with you completely. I am disgusted when I see him because I think about what he did to those poor animals. I don’t buy the argument he grew up with it so he didn’t know it was wrong. He killed dogs. That is sick.

    I also don’t like hearing Chris Brown on the radio station. My local pop station doesn’t play Chris Brown because of what he did. His punishment was too soft. But I also don’t think celebrities should be allowed to get away with things as easily. Not felonies at least.

    • Anna @ History Running Girl November 17, 2010, 4:13 pm

      And by easily I mean I think it should be brought up more. And time away from their profession.

  • Sarah November 17, 2010, 4:12 pm

    I realize he “paid his debt to society” in prison and through the $1 million (although for him that’s pennies), but I honestly feel that giving him his job back and having thousands of people cheering him on and idolizing him every week doesn’t show him that actions have consequences. It just shows him (and boys who look up to him) that his life will be temporarily disrupted.

    • Bobbie November 17, 2010, 4:19 pm

      I think idolizing is the wrong choice of words. Rooting for your football team and quarterback is not idolizing either…

      • Sarah November 17, 2010, 4:25 pm

        That’s a good point – but I feel like he is being put on a pretty high pedestal right now by fans and the sports commentators.

      • Anna @ History Running Girl November 17, 2010, 4:27 pm

        I’m sure there are people or idolize him. I don’t think it is completely wrong.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:28 pm

      Well, all I can say is that after Tiger Woods, you can bet I’ll never “look up” to a celebrity AGAIN! I really respected TW. Just goes to show you should look up to people you know. 🙂

      • Sarah November 17, 2010, 4:48 pm

        Ugh, he was one of my favorites. Apparently he signed up for Twitter today! I can’t decide if that was a good PR move or not …

  • Joanne November 17, 2010, 4:15 pm

    I can’t stand hearing his name. It breaks my heart that he funded such torturous acts against animals. Yes, he paid the price according to our legal system but he walked away smiling, as he is now. His life continues but what about the poor dogs that were damaged and could not be rehabilited to go to loving homes? It’s sad and heart breaking. It also goes on all the time in our world.

    I used to like the Eagles but now, can’t stand to watch it because I feel guilty wishing nasty injuries on the quarterback. Sorry – that’s evil but so is he.

    • Natalie November 17, 2010, 4:22 pm

      Might be evil but seriously, I do it too–and I swear I’m not usually a malicious person.

  • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:15 pm

    He committed a crime, he paid his legal dues, and now he has a job. His job is not connected in any way to his crime and does not put anyone in immediate danger–i.e. he is not a dog groomer, or a teacher who has been convicted of assault. The NFL, apparently, does not have any rules against his hire, so it is unfair to say that he is not anymore allowed to earn money doing something at which he excels.

    In addition, if a child turns into a criminal because Michael Vick is playing football then perhaps that points more to unfortunate genetics or bad parenting than to Michael Vick.

    • Heather November 17, 2010, 6:08 pm

      Very well said!

    • megan @ whatmegansmaking November 18, 2010, 9:50 am

      I’m way late, but I just had to reply and say that I loved this comment! This is why we are a free society. I can think all the negative thoughts I want about this guy, but if it is a good business move, he will be hired to play. And he should. If I disagree with it, I don’t have to watch his team. I certainly don’t trust society to be the moral compass for my children. (I don’t have any yet, but you know what I mean).

    • Melissa November 18, 2010, 10:09 am

      @ Caitlin – One word: Amen! :LOL!

  • Shelby November 17, 2010, 4:16 pm

    I don’t normally chime in, but a lot of these comments have really gotten under my skin. It is horrible that people who go to jail and do their time come out to find people who believe that they should not be re-hired. It matters about Michael Vick, but it matters far, far more for all of the non-famous people who come out and can’t earn a living and are left with very few options besides resorting back to crime. Michael Vick is very, very good at playing football, and I think that we should encourage people who have been incarcerated to put themselves into their careers and be productive members of society. Prior to incarceration, Vick was known for blowing off practices, showing up late to games, and otherwise being disrespectful. All the reports now speak about how dedicated he is to the team, how hard he works both at football and volunteering – it shows a real turn around and that he did learn his lesson in jail. And that is a wonderful example. People should get to see that when they get out of jail, they too can turn it around and excel at something. He does far more good for society in this role than if he was career-less or working a minimum-wage dead-end job (which is all that most incarcerated people can look forward to when they emerge from prison).

    Also, as a side note, animal abuse is horrible, but it is not the same as child abuse or molestation. To draw parallels between the two is to lesten the grave, grave crime that harming an innocent person is.

    • Leanne November 17, 2010, 4:24 pm

      Like many others have said in this discussion, there are direct links and studies that have shown that in many cases, people start off by murdering/torturing animals and move on to people. Knowing there is this link, punishment should be WAY harder on convicted fellons.

      • Shelby November 17, 2010, 4:37 pm

        But we punish people based on what they DID and not what they MIGHT DO in the future. And we hope that they learn their lesson when they get caught the first time.

        Also, in this country, penalties for crimes have gotten steadily more and more harsh over the last 100 years… and crime has gone up and up. Perhaps longer jail sentences aren’t the answer to stopping people from doing horrible things.

        • Martha November 17, 2010, 7:46 pm

          Guys, I TOTALLY agree with Shelby.
          Firstly, animal abuse, including dog fighting, is absolutely disgusting. Period. However, animal abuse is not child abuse- it should not be equated in any way and is not equal. If it were, the sentences would be the same, the social sanctions would be the same, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
          Secondly, the argument that “punishment should be WAY harder on convicted fellons (sic)” is invalid. That argument depends on the link between punishment and recidivism, which is foggy at best.
          Third, Michael Vick (while he is an effed up person) is not a typical criminal. He does not live in poverty- with the money he makes, he likely has access to expensive therapist, treatment centres, and (obviously) great PR people. He chances of recommitting are likely less than the average offender.

          On the note of athletes/celebs being forgiven more easily because of being in the public eye, what about the opposite? Vick will never, ever live this down- not because what he did was so disgusting, but because people will always associate him with what he did, regardless of what kind of retribution he makes. Think about OJ- he wasn’t even convicted, and he never lived that one down.

      • Eliza November 17, 2010, 9:04 pm

        the studies I think you are referencing regarding animal abuse leading to other criminal behavior do not specifically equate a cultural tradition with leading to offending against people. I work with men convicted of violent crimes, and have studied psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder, which is what I assume you are talking about. What Vick did was awful, but it significantly different than an individual person experimenting with torture/violence against an animal. He was engaging in a cultural tradition with other people. What he was doing was culturally acceptable to him at the time. Doesn’t mean it was right, but your statement is inaccurate.

    • allison @ thesundayflog November 17, 2010, 4:39 pm

      i agree. even though they have “done the time,” many people will pay for their crimes for the rest of their life, which ultimately turns them back to crime rather than ebing productive members of society

      • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:40 pm

        I agree with you Allison!

        • Leanne November 17, 2010, 4:46 pm

          I think they need to do more programs in jail to educate the prisoners. I don’t think them sitting in their jail cell always is enough either.

          I don’t know what your specific laws are in the states, but in Canada it sickens me that the laws are so relaxed when it comes to animal abuse/neglect.

    • Melissa November 18, 2010, 10:11 am

      Excellent post, Shelby. I agree.

  • Bobbie November 17, 2010, 4:16 pm

    I am from Philadelphia and a HUGE Eagles fan, of course. Obviously Michael Vick is doing wonderful things for our team this year. My opinion on the matter is similar to yours…everyone deserves a second chance. Like you I believe in our justice system and I do feel that he served his time. Whether or not he should have the chance to play on a professional team is really up to the NFL and not left up to the fans. I am not going to stop rooting for the Eagles since I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember, and because he is the starting quarterback of our team I am rooting for him. I am hoping that he plays a part in bringing our team to the superbowl and I am hoping that he has changed his ways. I guess I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt but what he did was WRONG!

  • meg c November 17, 2010, 4:16 pm

    It angers me when people get upset when football players commit crimes against dogs, but not whn they commit crimes against women. What vick did was horrible but he got way more heat than many athletes who abuse women.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:17 pm

      TRUE DAT.

    • Leanne November 17, 2010, 4:26 pm

      Lots of people get upset when any man (regardless of celebrity or not) commits crimes against women.

      I seriously couldn’t own a sports team and hire anyone who convicted battery against women, murder, or animal abuse onto my team…

      why don’t we care more about people’s characters?!?! Because they are good at something, we let everything else slide?

      This world is messed up on issues like this.

  • Denita November 17, 2010, 4:16 pm

    I think he may have done his time, but I don’t believe he deserves to be in the spotlight playing NFL football. However, when it comes to sports, anymore owners don’t seem to care about the reputation off the field, just the performance on the field. I think it is wrong though.

  • Katy November 17, 2010, 4:19 pm

    I live in Philly, and my husband and are HUGE football fans, HOWEVER, unlike most of this hypocritical town that initially objected, we continue to not watch the Eagles. And will not as long as that killer is on the team. Also, he was never jailed for animal abuse. His guilty plea bargain was for “Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture”. His total admission was for financing the operation. He has also been implicated in charges for marijuana distribution, theft, and intentional STD transmission…all dismissed or settled out of court. This is not a man that takes the law seriously, nor do I think his time in jail has done anything to rehabilitate him.

    • Jen November 17, 2010, 4:55 pm

      Thank you. When he was released from jail I said if he went to my team, there is no way I could have continued supporting them as long as he was there(this coming from a girl who has a tattoo of her favorite team’s logo). I know we only route for our players for their on-field performance, but when they do something so disgusting off the field, I personally cannot applaud them on game day.

  • Natalie November 17, 2010, 4:20 pm

    My boy friend is a huge football fan, and we watch Sunday football together virtually every week. We’ve had many discussions about Michael Vick, and we absolutely agree 100%–what he did was beyond heinous and he SHOULD NOT be playing for the NFL. I don’t care if athletes aren’t “responsible” for other people the way a doctor or teacher might be. They are paid enormous salaries for doing something that they love–I shouldn’t have to point out that both of those things, the giant salary and pursuing your passion as a career are both major privileges that most people simply do not ever get. So yes, fine, whatever, he repaid his debt to society, etc etc (the punishment should have been harsher, but that’s neither here nor there at this point), but he should not be allowed to re-enter an elite world and become even wealthier and more famous for it.

    Also, I don’t buy that he’s “reformed.” I agree with some of the other comments that stated that he’s still the same person who tortured and killed his own dogs. The sorrow and repentant attitude he now displays is, imo, more about being “sorry” he got caught and subsequently had to deal with jail time, bankruptcy, a career setback, negative press, etc rather than being truly sorry for what he did to those dogs.

    Alright, off my soapbox now!

    • valerie November 18, 2010, 5:18 pm


      I completely agree. He’s sorry he got caught and I’m certain he would still be doing it if he had not. All he cares about is the money.

  • Kristina @ spabettie November 17, 2010, 4:21 pm

    you wrote / quoted it correctly – “murdered”… I know there are people that do not think animals are “as important” but I do, and I’m even more moved by animal suffering because many times they have no voice, if you know what I mean.

    A person that could actually commit that kind of act to ANY living thing? Seriously damaged.

    I do not believe he has served adequate time. His consequences are minimal in many standards, and send a message that this is a mild offense.

    • Leanne November 17, 2010, 4:28 pm

      Plus its not like this was a one time thing (which would still be horrendous!) but he did this for 2+ years…

      I think people can change, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

      • Shelby November 17, 2010, 4:40 pm

        No, it doesn’t happen overnight… It may have happened in the nearly 2 years he spent in prison. You can never know his or anyone else’s heart, and you can only judge whether someone has reformed by his actions when he’s free – and you have to give him a chance to act in order to show you.

        Cutting off people’s opportunities to be productive in the best way that they can only tells other incarcerate people that their life is over in society’s eyes, that they’ve already been condemned permanently, and that they shouldn’t even bother to try to better themselves.

  • Hanna November 17, 2010, 4:21 pm

    Working in the Criminal Justice field (and being engaged to a football lover) I have had this debate many many times. The Probation Officer in me tells me that he deserves a second chance and what he did shouldn’t define him once he served his time. The animal lover in me says he should have spent A LOT more time in jail and should NOT get his job back. If I did something akin to that I would loose my job and would have an awful time trying to get another one. I would have to settle for what I could get, as most rehabilitated felons do. I would have to explain myself to almost everyone I come into contact with explain my crimes and the time that I did. I would be embarrassed and ashamed of what I did. I WOULD NOT be able to make a very public apology explaining that I know what I did was wrong and I have paid my debt to society and therefore get my job back.

    I do not think that anything he did takes any of the amount of talent he has away from him. But I do think he should not have gotten it his job back so easily. Yes, football players play a much different role in society than most convicted felons, but it should not make his fight any different. He is a role model. Kids look up to him. Adults look up to him. He makes millions.

    I’m not saying that once you commit a crime and get convicted that should it should stop you from putting your life back together and doing something positive. But it was way to easy for him.

    I’m a probation officer and I see people who have committed crimed everyday. I see the battles that they face. They think that their crimes define them and the live a life of crime, as this is all that they know. while the NFL doesn’t regularly suspend it’s players to getting charged or even convicted with serious crimes, it doesn’t make it OK. Doing your time in Prison is relative and often is decided based on what jurisdiction you are in and who the judge was. I have seen people do a lot more time for a lesser crime than he did and vice versa.

    Bottom line he committed a crime,a felony and while he is an AMAZING football player, it should not have been so easy for him.

  • K November 17, 2010, 4:21 pm

    I too am biased because I own a rescued pit bull. Before I adopted her, she was abused and neglected, force-bred and then was left to die on the roof of an abandoned building in Winter in Pittsburgh, still lactating. She weighed 35 pounds when she came into my life, was scared of everything, had scars all over her head, and would hardly eat. She was, however, the sweetest dog I’ve ever met from the very beginning. Even with the mistreatment and neglect that she received, she loved us immediately and continues to adore every single person that she meets, even children and babies. She now weighs over 50 pounds and enjoys a very charmed life with my husband and me.

    I know that Michael Vick is a good football player, but he is not a good person. I don’t believe he served his debt to society, nor do I believe that 2 years in jail sufficiently rehabilitated him (which, ideally, is the purpose of incarceration). The only reason he is not still running the dog fighting ring is because he got caught. I’ve never been an Eagles fan, but I lost a lot of respect for the organization when they signed him.

    I’ve often wondered how Michael Vick explained the whole thing to his children. You know how much little kids love dogs.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:25 pm

      Thanks for rescuing a doggie!! 🙂

    • Sara Palacios November 17, 2010, 4:29 pm

      I love your story about your pit bull. Such a heart warming story, and I totally agree with you.

      I am curious how he sleeps at night.

    • Kelli November 17, 2010, 7:47 pm

      awww what a great story about your dog!:)

  • Erin @ Bishella November 17, 2010, 4:21 pm

    I’m late and I haven’t even read the post yet but I want to get my opinion here NOW.

    As someone who lives in VA and had to watch him destroy my team on Monday, he did our state dirty! I don’t care how much money he’s donated or how much community service he’s done, or how long he spent in jail. To do what he did, encourage animal abuse, takes a special kind of evil. I really don’t like that he’s back in the NFL. I dislike it even more because he’s playing so well. It’s just like, ugh. Gross. Go away!

  • Amy Ramos November 17, 2010, 4:21 pm

    i will keep my comments short and sweet.
    Anyone who hurts an animal or another human being, regardless of doing their “time”, should never be able to go back to their “normal lives” before they did the crime. Even if it is an NFL QB.

  • Sara Palacios November 17, 2010, 4:27 pm

    I think Michael Vick is a vile person….I wouldn’t even go far enough to consider him a man. Like most of you, I consider animal abuse to be the same as child abuse. Those dogs did nothing wrong and were innocent, yet they were taught to fight (and kill) and their lives were taken from them in cruel and inhumane ways when they didn’t perform. He is absolutely disgusting….and like you Caitlin, I too want to vomit when I see him.

    I think that two years and one million dollars is a good start, but I think he should have been required to DO SO MUCH MORE! He should have to volunteer at shelters or as a foster owner to see what these animals go through on a daily basis and how kind they….even when they are mistreated.

    As far as the NFL goes, and professional athletes in general, they think that they are up on a pedestal. I don’t think that he should get any endorsement deals….or television shows. He should get minimal pay. I just don’t see how anyone could be a fan of such a PIG!

    • Leanne November 17, 2010, 4:30 pm

      I completely agree.

      I’m so passionate about this topic, I cannot understand people who don’t value pets. Even thinking about someone hurting my cat makes me physically sick…

      How anyone can look a poor defenseless animal and decide to abuse it is beyond me.

      UGH im so angry about all of this!

      The justice system needs to increase jail terms/fines for animal abuse. Plus anyone who hurts any animal should be banned completely from every owning/being around another animal again.

  • Cindy November 17, 2010, 4:28 pm

    I think he did his time and he paid his restitution. Our judicial system did not say that he isn’t fit to go back into society and live a normal life, therefore I think if he has the skills to go play ball and be a law abiding productive citizen then who are we to say what he can do for a living. He did not commit a crime against a child and he is remorseful for what he did so I think people are over reacting to say they wouldn’t let their child attend an assembly if he speaks at it. Children can learn a lot from others mistakes.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:29 pm

      I would totally let my kid go to his assembly and learn what NOT to do.

  • YMC November 17, 2010, 4:31 pm

    Plain and simple I will keep this! Anyone that harms children, animals, elderly, and the mentally disabled is and will always be a piece of shit. They should have get a gun shot to their head. Everyone reaps what they has sow! He has been hurt a couple of times playing ball it is karma coming for him for what he did! Girl, you have got me amped up!!!!

    • Devon November 18, 2010, 11:03 pm

      Well then you would agree that the government, who neglects are mentally ill and our veterans, should get the gun? Get real! Have some empathy.

      • YMC November 19, 2010, 10:49 am

        Her post debate was about Michael Vick!!! Not about anything else! My comment was based on people that abuse other beings. What the hell this debate have to o do with the government, mentally disabled, and vets. Has anybody close to you ever been abused? Thought not, until that happens I suggest you keep you comment of how people should feel (empathy) to your damn self.

        • Devon November 19, 2010, 11:18 am

          I feel I should clarify. My aggravation isn’t from your comment and I do apologize. I feel that in general there is a lack of empathy for products of society (Michael Vick, people from bad backgrounds, veterans who commit crimes due to PTSD). I work with many people who have done awful things and people who have had awful things happen to them. Putting a gun to the governments head was meaning that the government does little to help if not make it worse. I hope that you understand I know all to well about abuse. Let’s call a truce. I wont judge you and you wont judge me.

  • allison @ thesundayflog November 17, 2010, 4:35 pm

    i struggle with this same issue a lot. on one hand, i disagree with his superstardom because it does send out a wrong message that he gets to make millions of dollars playing a sport and blah blah blah. on the other hand, which is what my wise-beyond-his-years brother in law pointed out, the nfl is his JOB, and he deserves the chance to go back to work. unfortunately there are some positions that you would not be able to return to once youve comitted a felony, and the NFL is just not one of them. i think money outweighs morals on this one…

  • Tara November 17, 2010, 4:37 pm

    I know this sounds harsh, but I have ZERO respect or sympathy for anyone who hurts an animal, and I think Vick should be strung up by his heels and put through exactly the same torture to which he subjected those dogs. I do pro bono animal welfare law, and while it was a legal precedent for Vick to have to pay restitution for the dogs’ care, it in no way goes far enough. You cannot teach empathy to grown adults who have already committed such atrocities. You just can’t.

    Shame on the NFL.

  • Heather @ spoon and cherry November 17, 2010, 4:38 pm

    I personally think it takes a special kind of sick to be cruel to innocent animals. Don’t get me wrong, abusing a woman is a horrible, horrible crime…but at least I can understand anger issues that would lead to that. Why would you ever want to hurt an animal…especially dogs who are so eager to love and be loved.

    I think the Eagles have a right to hire who they want, but I also have a right to be anti-Eagles.

  • manda November 17, 2010, 4:39 pm

    interesting debate. if i found out a celebrity (lets say a musician) did the same as him, i would never support that person again (financially, morally, etc). its not the ‘eagles’ (as a team) fault he’s on their team, but again, if i liked the eagles before, i’d be especially pissed that they hired him. thats a serious crime, and i think he should not be allowed to be a ‘celebrity’, but to be honest, the public and the media create celebrities, and if he’s talented, then its even easier to be one. i think there’s no good side to this debate. i can’t imagine how he can look at himself in the mirror.

  • Becky J. November 17, 2010, 4:40 pm

    I hate Micheal Vick for what he did to those poor animals. Yes, hate is a strong word. Yes, he served his time and “paid the (very lenient) price” for what he did. Yes, he is a very talented quarterback. But none of things erase what he did. You make a very good point about other professions no being allowed to return to that line of work after getting out of jail for a felony, and I honestly never thought about that. It is a shame that professional athletes aren’t held to the same standards as other people, especially since they are in the public eye and looked up to by young people.

  • Bronwyn Coyne November 17, 2010, 4:41 pm

    I pretty much agree whole heartedly with you. It sometimes amazes me what we let celebrities (musicians, athletes, and actors) get away with.

    Second chances are good, but I wish the people running football had the morality to not hire him or make him a superstar.

  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness November 17, 2010, 4:45 pm

    Oh boy. I don’t hate many people in this world, but I think I hate MV. My biggest problem is with our judicial system- I do not think 23 months is enough to punish him for his crimes, nor is it long enough to help rehabilitate him. I think if you get down to the nitty gritty of what he did- slamming dogs into the ground, making them fight until they tore off each others’ body parts, electrocuting them– he is ONE SICK MAN. Very sick. If he had done that to a person- to a child- to many children– he would be locked up for life. The fact that he did it to an animal and not a child does not make him less “sick.” It just gives him less punishment in the eyes of the law.

    I do not think that the side of him that committed those crimes can just disappear in 23 months. I do not think that that type of monster should be allowed to play in a physical game against other men. That hatred and violence is part of who he is. I sure wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the ball looking into his eyes.

    My other problem is with the NFL. I do not think that the NFL should employ a convicted felon. Period. Perhaps if there were greater consequences for these athletes, they would think twice before doing what they do. And if they didn’t think twice, they should be out of a job, and out of those millions of dollars.

    And this isn’t just for MV. I think any convicted felon (murder, rape, whatever it is) should not have the privilege of being on a professional sports team, acting as a role model to hundreds of thousands of children. The fact is pretty clear that a lot of these men are repeat offenders (hellooooo Roethlisberger) and I think the NFL enables that.

    • Devon November 18, 2010, 11:07 pm

      Convicted felon: a person who forgets to pay a simple traffic ticket can suspend someones license and potentially make them a convicted felon. So can a simple overdraft on their bank account. FYI.

  • Callie November 17, 2010, 4:49 pm

    I just had another thought. I remember reading “Eating Animals” and the author talking about how we would never let people get away with doing things to dogs like they do to pigs, cows, or chickens. After reading what practices are involved in the slaughter (and sometimes torture) of those animals, I find it interesting that our society (in general) has found Vick’s actions against dogs more reprehensible than the food industry’s actions against other animals – other living creatures. I’m not advocating that it is or is not more reprehensible, or that people should or should not be more outraged – I’m just pointing it out. Thoughts?

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 4:50 pm

      I was also just thinking that in the shower!!!

    • the veg meg November 17, 2010, 5:00 pm

      This is a really really good point! I still don’t think he should be allowed back in the NFL, though. Also my skin is kind of crawly thinking about it :[

    • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness November 17, 2010, 5:28 pm

      I thought about that too. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people aren’t educated about what goes on with the slaughterhouses. I was pretty outraged when I found out & therefore changed how I eat.
      I think the Vick situation is more commercialized and publicized, which is what people grab onto. But great point!

  • Diana November 17, 2010, 4:55 pm

    I went to Villanova and am 99% sure you ordered from the chinese food restaurant I lived across from Senior year. We would order from the “Healthy Lite” section all the time! Check out Chris’s Grill nearby for awesome salads/ wraps. How long are you in the area? Wish I didn’t lose my old student ID so I could have snuck into your presentation 😉

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 10:02 pm

      Wahh! It wouldve been cool if we could meet 🙂 I go back tomorrow!

  • Ashley November 17, 2010, 4:56 pm

    Wow! You’ve hit my hot-button with this topic, for sure! I’m a huge animal lover (especially dogs) and was living in Florida when the whole Michael Vick thing went down. I was so moved by everything, that I’ve given serious thought to starting a philanthropy specifically aimed at rehabilitating these type of “lost dogs” (there are lots of animal philanthropies, but none that specialize specifically in the rehabilitation of pit bulls and rottweilers, etc., after being removed from an abusive home). Oh yeah, I also own both a rottie and a pit bull and they are the SWEETEST dogs ever.
    So I’m kinda passionate about this whole debate.
    I, also, believe in the justice system. Since Vick did the time I think it’s okay that he is now playing for the Eagles (as in, legally okay – not morally…if I owned the team i’d never sign him). That being said, I think this is kind of a personal issue. I’m disgusted by him. I think he’s a horrible person (what kind of person could do that, anyway?), and if I personally knew him I could never trust him. But, each of us can make decisions about what we consume & do in life. MY life will be Vick-free. I will not support his career in any way (watching games, buying sports stuff, etc.) and I’ll continue to educate others about what’s transpired. But in respect to the law – he’s a free man. I wish he wasn’t making millions of dollars, but sometimes jail has the power to change people. I’ll just hope that’s the case for him….as I go on with my life (and continue hating him all the while)

    • Anna @ History Running Girl November 17, 2010, 5:01 pm

      We had a pit when I was a toddler. It would let me pull myself up on it and would follow me around when I toddled around at 2. Pits are such sweet dogs! They get such an unfair bad rap!

    • megan @ whatmegansmaking November 18, 2010, 9:58 am

      Great comment! I totally agree – Legally it’s ok, but in regards to how you feel about him playing is up to determine where they stand.

  • Laura November 17, 2010, 4:58 pm

    I will never forgive Michael Vick for what he did, and I think he’s been rewarded far too much for his crimes. He’s welcomed back to the NFL and then got a TV show? Yeah, sorry… I don’t think someone who abused and murdered defenseless animals will change over jail. I don’t buy his apologies. I think he was just sorry to have been caught and to lose money. It absolutely sickens me that he played for a team in my city, to see people cheering for him and wearing jerseys with his name, and to hear people say he did his time.

    However, I don’t want to single him out. The NFL is way too lenient with their players. Very few other companies welcome back employees who commit some of the felonies that the players have. These players are being paid a huge amount of money for their talents and to represent the company. I don’t respect or understand the NFL for allowing their employees to represent them by committing crimes. For what they’re paid and for the image they hold as celebrities and role models, they should be held to higher standards.

  • Lauren November 17, 2010, 5:00 pm

    Michael Vick like many professional athletes, grew up in a poor background. In ghettos and inner cities, sadly dog fighting is a part of that culture. In fact, many kids are taught that dogs, more specifically pit bulls, are dangerous and they should be afraid of them. On top of that many times, when athletes become famous, they are surronded by people from their past, which can lead to dangerious situations. Most of the people he got in trouble with are friends from his childhood.

    Does this make Michael Vick’s actions right? Absolutly not. Did he pay his time? Yes Did he admit to his mistakes and still pays for them? Absolutly. The NFL did not “make” him a superstar. He dedicated endless hours in the gym to get back to where he is today.

    Everyone makes mistakes and he paid for his. Instead of focusing on his past, I believe we should focus on what he is doing now, which is educating young kids on making smart decisions.

    I fully believe he deserves his spot in the NFL.

  • Jess McGins November 17, 2010, 5:01 pm

    Am at work so haven’t read any other comments, but this is where I’m at: very torn.
    Born and raised in and around Philadelphia, I bleed green through the good and the bad. I was outraged at the atrocities Vick committed against those poor dogs made to suffer for both his and his friends’ amusement. As a dog lover and owner for most of my life, it was almost like a knife in my heart when I’d heard that the Eagles signed this monster.
    After this season’s performance, especially the whooping served to the Redskins on Monday, I’m glad to have such a talented quarterback playing for my team. All this man can do is play football – not only was he born to do it, he dropped out of college his sophomore year to join the NFL. He’s not qualified to do anything else, aside from coach or announce when he’s too old to play.
    I still abhor his participation and actions of his past events, but he did take responsibility by pleading guilty and he did go to jail missing two football seasons. He’s paid for the care of the dogs involved and now he speaks to school children about his wrong doings and why those doings were wrong. Whether or not he’s 100% sincere in his apologies and new stance on being anti dog fighting, he’s still actively trying to make amends. In no way would I ever condone the crimes he’s committed or make excuses for them, but he’s been active in trying to right the wrongs. No, it won’t heal those dogs’ scars (physical or emotional) and it won’t bring any of them back to life, but if he can now advocate against dog fighting as a celebrity athlete, that can potentially reach thousands of normal guys involved in dog fighting. It’s like a reformed gang member reaching out to those still involved with gangs and getting them to see the error of their ways. If his role now can stop those currently involved in dog fighting or prevent young kids from ever getting involved in it, then there’s some good that can come out of this.

  • Megan November 17, 2010, 5:01 pm

    I rarely feel obligated to comment on any blog post, but I just couldn’t let this one pass. First of all, big disclaimer because I am a HUGE Philly fan, so the Eagles are my team. But before Vick was picked up by the Eagles, I was excited for him to be re-entering the NFL. I don’t think it’s fair to judge him on his past, as he has done his time in prison and paid, literally, for his poor judgment in the past. There are PLENTY of criminals in the NFL – to focus on one because he seems to be doing extremely well or because his particular case was well publicized is unfair. I am a vegetarian and an animal lover, so the case cannot be made that I feel this way because I don’t care. What Vick did was terrible, disgusting and he deserved every bit of the jail sentence he received. As a Christian woman, I don’t believe it is my place to judge someone. Everyone deserves a second chance and he is simply making the most out of his. Let’s not forget that last season, he saw limited action for the Eagles. He goes around to Philadelphia area schools to talk about his experience, the dangers of dog fighting and what he has learned from his time in prison. While I’m sure this a PR ploy to some degree, it also is him educating children on how to avoid making similar mistakes to his. He had to work extremely hard in the offseason and was not the Eagles starting quarterback at the beginning of this year. An injury to the starting quarterback provided him with the opportunity to step up and let his hard work pay off, which it certainly did. I think it is ironic that people are willing to point fingers when there are so many terrible cases of animal abuse or neglect in society. I wonder if people would still be this upset if he was playing in the NFL, but not performing so well? I’m not sure if I can follow the logic of someone who is so horrified about the specific case of dogfighting, but then continue to be meat eaters. If people were really this horrified, then what is their justification for eating animals? Those are also living creatures who are killed, but rather than being killed for entertainment/recreation they are killed to be eaten. In my opinion, Vick has paid his dues for his poor choices and is now making the most of his second chance.

    • Melissa November 18, 2010, 10:23 am

      Excellent post!! I had similar thoughts about eating animals and how we as a society justify that. I am sure there are alot of folks who consider sitting down to a big, juicy steak to be a form of “animal cruelty”. If this is really about “animal cruelty”, I think more of us need to pause and look at our own participation instead of solely focusing on Michael Vick.

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks November 17, 2010, 5:02 pm

    While what Vick did to those dogs is disgusting and I don’t believe two years is enough to pay for it, a judge decided his sentence and he served his time. Whether we as individuals agree with what sentence he was handed is irrelevant.

    I do believe if people serve their time, then they should be permitted to re-enter society and be free to live without prejudice. It’s often very difficult for people to get a job and live lawfully when they get out of prison. Many people don’t look at them as people who have paid for their crimes, and continue to strike out against them for something that lawfully should be behind them.

    I’m no football fan, but since Vick served his time, then yes, he should be allowed to return to the NFL if someone is willing to give him the chance to play.

    Am I thrilled that he is in the position to be a role model for children? No. But it’s the parent’s job to educate their children. To discuss their children’s role models with them and explain why certain things are right and wrong.

    Michael Vick shouldn’t be punished further for parents not fulfilling their responsibilities.

  • Kelly November 17, 2010, 5:02 pm

    I think as a person that Micheal Vick is a jerk. I mean how could you do that to those innocent dogs? But I do believe in our justice system and he did pay his time. I think he is a LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY man. He did his time and if someone is willing to hire him then how can we refuse him the right to make a living when he has done his time for his crime?

  • B November 17, 2010, 5:09 pm

    What a great discussion….

    As a Pittsburgher, and a die-hard Steelers fan, I dislike anything that has to do with the Eagles!

    But, going onto the debate, I hate that he’s been given a second chance with the NFL (I also feel this way about certain Steelers QBs that screw up big time as well.) They way I see it, if you are getting paid (a lot) to do something you love, and there is a decent chance that kids might look up to you, it’s also your job to NOT BE STUPID. Whether it’s been proven that you did something wrong (MV) or if no one knows the truth of whether or not you did something, but are dumb enough to put yourself into potentially bad situations in the first place (Ben Roethlisberger) you shouldn’t be given the opportunity to be exposed to children as a hero again.

    As far as MV speaking against it now, has he really learned his lesson or has he learned that this is what he needs to do to get people to like him again? (this applies to Chris Brown as well). Unfortunately, we will never know if he has truly changed or if he’s just laughing his way to the bank as he makes more money than all of us…

  • Meg November 17, 2010, 5:10 pm

    Ah, I have so many feelings on this issue. My dog is a rescued pit bull who was fought. I do volunteer work with pit rescues. My dad is a lifelong, diehard, typical Eagles fan, and my family has talked about Vick a LOT. And I’m a lawyer who has worked with reentry programs to help felons build a life after prison. So, my thoughts:

    I think it’s sort of crazy that the NFL is one of the only organizations that regularly hires/retains felons on their pay roll. Vick, and many other players who have been arrested for domestic violence, handgun violations, DUIs, drugs, have also been allowed back on the field. I do believe people deserve second chances, but I think it sucks that we give NFL players, who have often committed heinous, violent crimes and received a slap on the wrist, another chance, but do not give a second to chance to people who have been arrested for nonviolent felony drug crimes and have served long sentences and have proven that they’ve changed through their prison track records/activities.

    Vick served the time the court gave him. If the Eagles want to hire him, I don’t believe he should be prohibited from playing. People do change. Has he? I don’t know.

    I do not worry about Vick being a bad influence on kids. I think it’s parents’ and teachers’ jobs to educate kids on what a real hero should be. I do think it’s sad how much influence and power professional sports’ guys have, but that’s our society right now, and I don’t see it changing.

    Eek, I have more to say, but this is already long. The Lost Dogs is on my reading list. I’ve read a lot about the dogs, and a few ended up here in Baltimore, but I want to learn more about the process of placing the dogs.

    • Melissa November 18, 2010, 10:24 am

      “I do not worry about Vick being a bad influence on kids. I think it’s parents’ and teachers’ jobs to educate kids on what a real hero should be.”

      I completely agree!

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? November 17, 2010, 5:10 pm

    I saw an argument about this on facebook yesterday, and I think its a really touchy subject.

    I agree with your points, if it were a doctor, or teacher, they would not be able to get another job after coming out of jail. Neither would most people to be fair. I mean, I wouldnt be comfortable hiring a felon. Yes, maybe he paid for his crimes, and he very well may be sorry and disgusted with himself. He also may not care.
    I dont know.
    While I dont think its fair that he got to go back to the NFL, that kind of thing happens with celebrities all the time. It is 100% not ok in my opinion, but it happens. I try and focus on the fact that there are so many people who will never forget what he did, and on some level, he will pay for it for the rest of his life.

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances November 17, 2010, 5:12 pm

    I completely agree with you when you say that you “consider animal abuse akin to child abuse and think that people who torture and kill animals are serious, dangerous criminals” — so true. It makes me absolutely sick to think about an animal being tortured, and those that do such things should ALWAYS go to jail. I hear so many stories on the news about people mistreating pets and suffering no real consequences. So, I am glad that Vick spent time in jail, and I agree that people deserve second chances… but I’m not sure I would be able to have him on my team (if I had one, obviously).

  • Maggie November 17, 2010, 5:19 pm

    Honestly, I wrestle with how I feel about this a lot, mainly for the main points that you made so I won’t rehash them. But I did want to address your last point which is about Vick being hired and turned into a football star. He already was a football star before he want to prison, and now he’s coming back and working in the only capacity that he knows how. I may not like it, but as you said, he has the right to work and this is how he works. Also, the fact that he’s working means that he will be able to pay all his creditors (including that $1 million payment to cover the care of the dogs). He went bankrupt and has a lot of creditors out there, and if no one had hired him to play football, he’d have no ability to pay back those debts.

    So, yeah. As I say, I go back and forth. Makes me happy that I’m not an Eagles fan and have to decide how I feel each Sunday and whether or not I want to root for him.

  • Runeatrepeat November 17, 2010, 5:20 pm

    I think it sends a horrible message to kids and adults every where that you can do terrible things with your own hands and still bounce back to a place where you make millions and people cheer you on. It’s not right.

  • abbi November 17, 2010, 5:21 pm

    While he served his time, I personally don’t think it was enough or that he should have been allowed back into the NFL so quickly. All of the press around the case brought the issue of dog-fighting into the limelight. I don’t know if the numbers are true, but it seems like you now hear more about underground dog-fighting rings and I once read that the numbers are up. Is that because of an increased popularity in it? Is it being prosecuted more? Or, is it just in the press more? As a supporter of Best Friends Animal Society (they received 22 or 23 of the dogs), I like that it brought the issue of breed-discrimation into the press to show that pits can be rehabilited. I just returned from a trip to Best Friends and love the work they do, so obviously I side towards the dogs and everything that can be done to ensure this does not happen again is what’s on my mind! I read the really good article in Sports Illustrated a few years back about the dogs but am going to have to put The Lost Dogs on my reading list!

  • Karen November 17, 2010, 5:21 pm

    Oh man. This is an issue I feel REALLY strongly about. I own two rescued pits, including one who came from a severely abusive situation (her previous owners broke her femur by kicking her, and her spirit was broken as well; she was/is like the “pancake dogs” described in the book). I don’t care how great of a player Vick is. I won’t watch him, and I won’t support his team in any way. He’s a monster. I don’t think he should even be trusted around kids (and it makes me sick that he is even talking to groups of children).

    What he did to those dogs displayed a total (and frightening) lack of empathy. No half-hearted “apology” on his part can possibly make up for what he did. No amount of jail time was ever going to possibly help Vick gain a conscience. He doesn’t have one.

    When I think about the deep scratches that rescuers found on the sides of the swimming pool–scratches left by drowning and electrocuted dogs during their last moments–I feel sick to my stomach. What that man did to those dogs was disgusting and unforgivable. He should be shunned like the loser he really is.

    I’m passing on a blog post I read earlier, as it’s relevant to the conversation.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 10:05 pm

      I am so sorry she is a pancake doggie. That makes me sad. Can you hug her for me?

      • Karen November 18, 2010, 9:25 am

        I just gave her a huge hug! She wagged her tail. 🙂

        • Caitlin November 18, 2010, 9:31 am

          YAY 🙂

  • Meghan@travelwinedine November 17, 2010, 5:21 pm

    Michael Vick is a scumbag who is only sorry he got caught. Not only did he take part in the torture of animals which makes him a highly disturbed individual, but he lied to his employer (NFL), used his money and power to intimidate family members into silence, and since his release has at the very least been around shady things, like someone being shot. Animal abusers go on to be Jeffrey Dahmer and the like. It is a crime that should be taken more seriously, and the NFL should be ashamed to have taken him back. They will feel like fools when he commits another act of violence, which I think he undoubtedly will.
    Fine for second chances. Let him get a regular old job, but if any of us without major $$$ making athletic skills lied publicly to an employer, we would never be hired again.
    As an animal shelter volunteer and someone who works with pit bulls (and loves them!) weekly, it makes me sick to see criminals like Vick perpetuate the reputation that gets tens of thousands of these dogs abused, neglected and euthanized each year. There are no bad dogs or bad breeds, just abuse and neglect from stupid human beings who make them that way.
    You might want to check out the Vicktory for Cherry Facebook page for a smile. Lots of photos of one of Vick’s tortured dogs in his new, loving home. 🙂
    Clearly, a topic I am passionate about. . .

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) November 17, 2010, 5:24 pm

    First, thanks for posting a link to my recipe. I hope you try the dressing out, it takes a little time to prepare, but it is great to have something in the freezer that defrosts and heats up within 10 minutes!

    Now, for your discussion…I think animal abuse is gross and disgusting! I don’t believe they should be aloud to go into a field like the NFL. You are right, he is turned into a super star and those that don’t know about his past will glorify him. Unfortunately, celebrity standards are not the same as society standards. I completely agree with you.

  • Camille November 17, 2010, 5:30 pm

    I definitely think that animal abuse is comparable to human abuse. I don’t care if it is my next door neighbor or a pro athlete, it is absolutely unacceptable. Even though athletes shouldn’t be known simply for the things they do off the field or court, what Michael Vick did is so gross and unjust that I hope this is what he known for for the rest of his life.
    For me, it just takes one player to make me hate an entire team. The Eagles are, to me, similar to the Lakers (aka Kobe). Though I dislike the Lakers in general, it was Kobe’s actions that made me really despise the team. People in the public eye need to think about their actions before they ruin the reputation of their affiliation!

  • Laura November 17, 2010, 5:37 pm

    I have to agree that I don’t think animal cruelty is properly punished in this country. As for Vick, for me, I forgive him.

    Doesn’t mean I have to like him…

  • Me-Linh November 17, 2010, 5:37 pm

    On the show Best Friends, which is about a no kill animal shelter in Utah, one episode chronicled a few of the pitbulls deemed “the most dangerous” to go to Best Friends. It was really really sad how sweet pitbulls can be turned into vicious animals. One pitbull was scared of humans and it’s really unfortunate because:
    1. These dogs could’ve had better lives
    2. Pitbulls have already had negative media on them because of their attacks but all dogs attack. It takes the right responsible owner to train them.
    I really really really hate animal abuse and I also see it the same as any other kind of physical abuse. I treat my dogs like family and its sad to see Michael Vick who used them as money/entertainment.
    (But you should definitely see the Best Friends episode about the dogs. It’s so heartwarming! I think I watched it on hulu)
    Let’s just say I’m glad he got caught!!!

  • Erin @ Small things November 17, 2010, 5:39 pm

    I am having lots of different reactions to this debate. On the one hand I understand the anger people feel and the desire to punish abusers for life.

    On the other hand I’m a therapist and I know first hand that people, and yes abusers too, can make drastic changes to their lives and end their relationship to abuse. I’m disturbed by the blanket statements being made about what a person “deserves” as punishment – including the ending of their life as one person mentions above.

    I think people are upset because the “job” he returns to pays so highly and comes with noteriety. If he had been a plumber no one would care if he went back to his old line of work.

    My hope is that he uses his noteriety to educate folks

    • Amanda November 17, 2010, 5:49 pm

      Wonderully put Erin!!!

  • Amanda November 17, 2010, 5:48 pm

    Funny cause I was just having this same conversation Monday night with my boyfriend. I can’t help but call him “the dog killer” every time I see him on TV. My boyfriend then said to me “honey – he did his time, he has said he realizes he made mistakes and is working hard to turn his life around. What if this was a family member of yours or mine and they were working so hard to fix their life – wouldn’t you support them?!” ugh hated his argument – mostly cause he is right. People are all subjected to moments of weakness and we can all turn our lives around. I can’t say that I will ever completely change my mind about him but I do suppose he should have the chance to prove he is changing his ways.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 10:07 pm

      I hate it when boys are right 🙂

    • Karen November 17, 2010, 11:58 pm

      This was not a “moment” of weakness. It was prolonged, premeditated heinously violent criminal action.

      Yes, if I had a family member who had done duch an awful thing, I’d be all for them being rehabbed and trying to make amends and do better. But I have no family member who is a FAMOUS multi-millionaire. And I would certainly recommend serious long-term counseling for a family member of mine who did something like this. How much counseling did Vick receive? What emotional, spritual, moral work has he done to make amends and improve his life? I know he’s paid practical, financial debts, but that’s not enough.

      • Juani November 18, 2010, 1:37 am

        I totally agree Karen.I think part of his rehabilitation should be to volunteer a certain amount of time every month at animal shelters,taking care of sick or wounded animals,some of which are there because of people like him.Maybe that would help him understand better why what he did was wrong.

        Call me a pessimist,but I always find it really hard to believe that people can change so drastically.To go from a person who enjoys hurting and killing innocent animals (which would sicken any normal human being),to being someone who cares for animals,or at least does nothing to hurt them,is a huge leap.

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write November 17, 2010, 5:55 pm

    My husband and I have had the same discussions.

    It makes me physically ill to think about what he did. My husband, who has the biggest heart ever, agrees that it’s awful, but he too reminds me that this is an individual that did his time. And, when I think about it like that, he’s right. As awful as I think it is, I also don’t like the idea of me as a citizen continuing to persecute someone after they’ve paid what a COURT decided was their debt/punishment (however you look at it).

    It’s sticky when it come to football. I’m a huge football fan (not of the Eagles), and I was a little saddened at how easily he came back into the league.

    Though, I feel really encouraged to see that he’s been speaking to schools and other speaking events about animal cruelty (saw this somewhere on the news).

    Bottom line: I have to believe that people can change. I don’t know this person on a personal level, and who am I to say the he should pay forever for his mistakes? I have made mistakes (not so serious, clearly), and how sad would it be if my mistakes dictated the rest of my life? How sad would it be for someone NOT to be able to rise from the ashes if they themselves were willing to do the time and the work?

    • Melissa November 18, 2010, 10:28 am

      “Bottom line: I have to believe that people can change. I don’t know this person on a personal level, and who am I to say the he should pay forever for his mistakes? I have made mistakes (not so serious, clearly), and how sad would it be if my mistakes dictated the rest of my life? How sad would it be for someone NOT to be able to rise from the ashes if they themselves were willing to do the time and the work?”

      Couldnt agree more!

  • oh pretty day November 17, 2010, 5:58 pm

    I just think someone who could treat animals this way, including killing them with his own hands, something is wrong with that person in the head. Maybe he has been rehabilitated, but my big issue with Vick is that I don’t know if he is truly sorry for what he did or just sorry that he got caught doing something illegal. I guess I feel the same as you — he served his time, he has his right to a second chance. But like you said, if I was the owner of the Eagles or any team, I don’t know that I’d want him on my team (just the same with any other athlete who has committed violent acts against human beings).

  • BenDoesLife November 17, 2010, 5:59 pm

    Admittedly, I didn’t read all 185 comments. But what’s the cutoff? If you say he shouldn’t be allowed in the NFL, do you also think he shouldn’t be able to work anywhere? He can’t be a car salesman? He can’t work at a grocery store?

    NFL players say all the time, “I’m doing this for a living, not to be a role model.” Obviously not all of them say that, and that’s their right. But, if you say he can’t be in the NFL wouldn’t that mean he can’t have a job at all?

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 10:07 pm

      I guess I think that being in the NFL is a privilege and it should come with some sort of moral responsibility (i.e don’t be a felon).

      • BenDoesLife November 17, 2010, 10:10 pm

        I understand that millions and millions of dollars make it seem like a privilege, but when it all comes down to it, it’s a job, right? You can’t tell people that their job is worth less than someone else’s.

        Now, should we rethink the amount of prison-time a dog-killer gets? Probably. It’s a sick and heinous crime. But the way the system is in place, there’s not really anything that can be done. Particularly without a precedent in place (that I know of).

  • Annie November 17, 2010, 6:01 pm

    I’m from Atlanta and was very proud my city wanted nothing to do with him after he got out of jail. I am an attorney and I believe in our justice system. However, I do not think a violent felon should be elevated to superstar status and make millions of dollars. The fact that people can overlook his crimes for fame and fortune is sickening.

  • oh pretty day November 17, 2010, 6:02 pm

    And just to add to my above comment, I do think that abuse against people is much more serious than abuse against animals, but I also think that people who are apt to commit violence against animals could eventually be violent with other people as well.

    And with Vick, I think the big thing is what others have said – he is returning to his “line of work” which brings him a lot of money and fame. I hope he uses that for good things.

  • Heather November 17, 2010, 6:02 pm

    I believe in second chances (with the exception of murderers and sexual offenders). It was very disturbing what he did, but he paid his dues, did his time, and he is now back doing what he possesses a talent for. Who is anyone to say that because of what he did he should have to go work in an office job or something like that? I have read a bit on his life, and it seems that he recognizes his wrongs and is working to change himself.

    I’ll end with this – I once went and saw comedian Eddie Griffin who said “Y’all will put Michael Vick away for 2 years for dog fighting, but you’ll let OJ Simpson off free after murdering his wife.” Not trying to get into politics, race or anything like that, but bottom line is I think he did the time for the crime.

  • Kristie November 17, 2010, 6:06 pm

    Athletes aren’t held to the same standards as people in other professions in our society – especially in the positions you gave as examples like teachers and doctors. If you follow sports closely enough you probably know where I’m headed… there are current players in professional leagues who have killed people while drunk driving, have been convicted for domestic abuse (yep, there’s you’re human abuse), sexual abuse and murder, as well as more “minor” things like drunk driving, drug possession, and sexual harassment.

    All that said, it doesn’t mean you have to tell your (hypothetical) kids to idol worship him. It can be a good opportunity to talk about mistakes and forgiveness, and the ability to turn your life around no matter what you have done. My husband is from Philly and a huge Eagles fan (who also loves Vick as their QB), and we are both at a point where we can watch him and be happy for what he has accomplished, but sincerely hope that he really is sorry for what he did (and not just sorry he got caught and had to serve jail time, pay $1 million, etc.). But really, in the end he is responsible to himself and what we think doesn’t matter. You can never know how someone in the public eye is at heart – you just see what’s presented.

  • Marisa @Loser for Life November 17, 2010, 6:12 pm

    Aaaaah!!! You’re at Villanova tonight?! Darn, I wish I knew that; I’m not far and would have taken you to dinner! Boo 🙁

    Since we are from Philly area, we are Eagles fans but for the record, we think Vick is a giant DOUCHE.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 10:08 pm

      Wah! Wish we could’ve gotten together. It’s such an in and out trip.

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair November 17, 2010, 6:14 pm

    First, I think what he did is DISGUSTING. Slamming a dog into the ground until it dies? That’s seriously messed up. He deserved WAY MORE than two years.

    Secondly, I have major internal debate with the “second chance” thing. I have a hard time thinking that murders really do deserve a second chance. The people they killed don’t have that option….

    Back to Michael Vick though, I think it’s disgusting and it disgusts me even more that any NFL team WOULD sign him. Goes to show they have no morals and only care about money and winning. Being integrated back into society is one thing. Becoming an NFL superstar making millions of dollars a year is retarded.

    I too, have NO TOLERANCE for animal abuse and I think the penalties for it in North America should be much, much harsher.

  • Cristina November 17, 2010, 6:15 pm

    My understanding is that the time that he served was for racketeering, not for animal cruelty. So while I generally believe in our criminal justice system, and he did serve *some* time, I don’t think that he deserves a pass at this point. It’s fine if the NFL allows him to play, but I guess my point is that I don’t feel guilty for hating him. But I’m a dog lover and not a football fan.

  • Anna November 17, 2010, 6:15 pm

    I do believe people can change, but I also believe pro sports are driven by money and talent. Since talent brings money, let’s just narrow that down to one driving factor. So if the most talented players are dog murderers, rapists, etc. that will never ultimately affect their positions as long as our country shows a demand for the sport. Just make sure your kids know who real role models are!!

  • Jannifer November 17, 2010, 6:29 pm

    I think what he did was wrong but it doesn’t even touch child abuse or anything like that. Talk to someone who has been abused.. He killed dogs, which yes is terrible, but he didn’t kill people, which in my mind is a lot more terrible. It seems to me that he is making somewhat of an effort as he goes to schools and talks to kids, he served his time, and paid his fines. I think he deserves a second chance, in life, and on the football field. I love football, and even though I don’t agree with his personal life, he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league and so fun to watch.

    • Callie November 17, 2010, 8:05 pm

      Killing animals is one hundred percent just as bad as killing a person.He’s fun to watch?????????That’s horrible.Who are we to say that an animals life isn’t worth as much as persons.I know I like my animals soooooo much more than most people I encounter.

      • Jannifer November 22, 2010, 1:38 pm

        And comments like this is why our world is so messed up.

        • Callie November 24, 2010, 11:06 am

          And comments like this are why I still like animals more than most people.Our world is so messed up because we treat an animal abuser like he’s a hero.Some people need to realize that they are not the center of the universe and they don’t get to say if an animals life is worth less than a humans life.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 17, 2010, 6:32 pm

    The difference in penalties between killing a person and an animal is horrifying. I’m not saying the consequences should be equal, but nine days, really? Anyone with an inclination towards being violent, especially towards defenseless people or creatures, has serious issues. I’m from Philly and while I’d love to see the Eagles do well, it disgusts me that this man is being idolized despite what he’s done. Yes, he should be given a second chance at some point, but he needs far more than monetary consequences and a little over a week in jail to realize the gravity of what he’s done. $1 million is Monopoly money in terms of what he’s being paid now, and his “time” served is laughable. Not to mention the fact that he’s now a role model for aspiring football players everywhere. I’m not sure what the ideal way to handle the situation would have been, but it definitely would have made his actions out to be more grave.

  • Kristyn November 17, 2010, 6:53 pm

    I really want to read the book to hear more of the story. Of course, we only hear everything in the media, so sometimes things don’t come across straight. I was horrified by what Michael Vick did and, making him into a superstar for the Eagles, I’m not so sure I agree with. I think everyone deserves a second chance, but a superstar getting paid HUGE bucks after what he did…not so sure. What I really wanted to comment on was the fact that you said a teacher would lose her job….you are ABSOLUTELY correct! If i had or got one tiny mark on my record I’d be out of a job for life. No other state would ever even want to hire me. I’m a huge football fan (GO JETS) so I really don’t care how the Eagles do, but it’s the fact of the matter. I love that you touched on this topic! Harming an animal the way he did, in my eyes, is the same as child abuse. I 100% agree with you on that!

  • andrea November 17, 2010, 6:54 pm

    I am a huge NY Giants fan and therefore really had the Eagles and especially now since Vick is on the team. Its normal for you to feel that way, what he did was atrocious!!

  • Heidi November 17, 2010, 6:55 pm

    I do not have full faith in the justice system and can not agree with you pay the time, you’ve done your dues to society. This is not a normal case. First, $1 million to someone like this is almost pocket change. Second, if he were to return to the NFL he’d have a pretty good income again and I personally do not want my sports “hero” to be someone with such a disgusting criminal background. I have un-fanned (yeah probably not a word) certain celebrities before because of their actions, and would do so in a case like this. His actions were dispicable! Yes, he has paid the sentence handed to him for his crime, but I don’t think he should be easily handed a position where he can rise to celebrity status again. If he were an everyday person I’d agree that he could return to his previous job, but celebraties & sports heroes (especially) are held to a higher standard. Maybe that’s unfair, but it is what it is.

  • Angela November 17, 2010, 6:55 pm

    As a football fan and someone who really follows football, this has been an issue on my mind lately. Vick is on my fantasy team and he is probably the most talented athlete of his generation. If you have ever watched him play, you know what I mean. I always thought he was a horrible person. Remember when he gave women herpes early in his career?? I also thought he never played up to his potential prior to being in prison. He was too distracted by the fame, and he didnt handle it well.

    What he did was awful. I didnt realize that he actually killed the dogs himself, and that makes it even worse. I do think that is more common for his culture. Kind of like there are people in the world who think we are sinners in the U.S. for killing cows. Anyway, I have listened to several interviews with Vick this year and he seems to have truly changed. I believe, at least right now, that prison made him a better person. The system seems to have actually worked on him, and he does deserve a 2nd chance.

    Should he have been given a 2nd chance in the NFL? I don’t know. Its true that he was a teacher or doctor he would probably work at McDonalds right now. BUT, his talent was way too great for the NFL to pass up. And he’s not the first person in the league to come back from a crime. Like it or not, there is a different standard for very talented athletes. I am not going to be a hypocrite about it because I do love watching him play.

  • Robin November 17, 2010, 6:58 pm

    I completely agree. When I heard he was coming back to the NFL, I told my husband that I will not root for any team that takes him. It’s just not right.

  • Casey November 17, 2010, 6:59 pm

    In one of my education classes, we had a discussion about character, morals, and values. One of the main points of discussion was regarding athletes, and their negative behavior. The professor shared the thoughts from one of her previous students. The student basically said that professional athletes do not sign up to be role models, they sign up to play the game.

    I’m not saying I agree with this statement, but I thought it was pretty profound thinking for an elementary school student AND it made me think!

  • Julie November 17, 2010, 7:05 pm

    Vick is beyond repulsive. In no way should he be made into a superstar. He is a disgusting, violent person, who quite frankly seems to have no conscience. NFL players are role models, and the Eagles should be embarrassed to run in the same circle.

  • Jessica M November 17, 2010, 7:06 pm

    I don’t really follow football and I’m only vaguely familiar with this issue. But I think the discussion is interesting.

    Has he had to issue any kind of public apology? Somehow the NFL/whoever could use him to educate people about animal rights. He could be featured on a PSA or an ad for an animal rights organization. Maybe that should be considered.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 9:54 pm

      He has done all these things, a lot on his own free will. Shows promise!

  • Larissa November 17, 2010, 7:10 pm

    he served his time, he has apologized, and done everything asked of him. I think if he still wants to play foot ball that is fine. If people think he is awful maybe dont let your kids watch him, but there are a lot more rude things football players have done on TV…. thought i defiantly dont think it was right to hurt the animals, i think he seems to be making a conscious effort of staying out of the spotlight and getting back on track. Also the society we live in is litigious- as your husband probably know, he could give someone the best care with the best intentions unfortunately, one mean person can decided to sue him, and depending on lots of circumstances, he could lose the case, whether he was right or wrong, not all meaning he is a good or bad person! I think it is crazy.

  • Lindsay Perrone (goodiesgalore) November 17, 2010, 7:12 pm

    He should be tortured in every way that he tortured those dogs. Then we’ll see how good of a football player is. Prick.

  • elizabeth November 17, 2010, 7:21 pm

    I have a teething baby so I haven’t read through the comments; my apologies if this has been said:

    What Michael Vick did was immoral, disgusting, and heartbreaking. HOWEVER, I am SO TIRED of people that eat factory farmed meat getting all up in arms about him. If you eat factory farmed meat you have no room to talk about this. When you buy meat (and 99%+ of meat is factory farmed meat), you are paying money for workers (who get treated terribly themselves) to torture and kill millions of animals a year. Not dogs, it is true, but living beings that suffer tremendously.

    Please, please, please consider this before you get on your high horse about how disgusting Michael Vick is. If you don’t know how factory farmed animals are treated, learn. Eating Animals by Jonathon Saffron Foer and the movie Earthlings (available for free at are great places to start.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 9:55 pm

      Congrats on your little one!

      I was thinking about this in the shower. Who says dogs are more important than cows?

      • elizabeth November 17, 2010, 10:09 pm

        Lots of people, unfortunately, right? I used to, at least by my actions (eating cows but not dogs). Now I eat neither. It was actually having this sweet little babe that pushed me over the edge (my own personal HTP!) I realized how precious and sacred and wondrous ALL life is.

  • Molly @fuelherup November 17, 2010, 7:28 pm

    Yes, he did his time. But I read the first few chapters of the book, and I was literally upset for weeks.

    The reason child abusers are locked is because, obviously, someone who once abused children has that potential in their personality. So even though he did his time, I just feel llike there’s something evil in his personality- that cruelty was there, that violence, and 2 years in prison doesn’t erase that. It makes me sick to know what he did, and then to hear people in passing talking about what a good football player he is. (This has happened to me, and I had to bite my tongue.)

    I agree with what Lindsay of goodiesgalore said…he should be tortured in the same way he tortured the dogs. Then we’ll see what a good football player he is.

    I don’t think he should still be playing football. With that on his record, he wouldn’t be able to get a job as a lawyer or doctor or even at McDonald’s. So why does he get his job back like nothing happened (a multimillion dollar job, at that)? Let’s face it, professional athletes get paid so much because they serve in entertainment- I don’t see what’s entertaining about watching him.

  • Eliza November 17, 2010, 7:37 pm

    1. Vick has served his time. End of story. Excessive punishment does not deter people from committing crimes. If you believe that people should suffer to excess because they have done something wrong, then you are wishing pain upon another person plain and simple.
    2. Dog fighting is atrocious and should be a crime. However, it is culturally acceptable in certain communities, and Vick is a part of that. I am not saying that his behavior is therefor excusable, because he clearly knew it was wrong, but it is important to keep in mind because it separates him from people whose torture of animals is a symptom of their psychopathy.
    3. I get that there are people who think that hurting an animal is as bad as hurting a person, but I’m not of that sentiment, and the NFL allows plenty of people who have committed acts of violence against other people to continue playing.
    4. The public outrage over Vick’s behavior far exceeds any outrage I”ve ever seen over instances of violence against women. Animals make easy victims: we don’t question whether they are telling the truth, or going after money, or were drunk so they deserved it. We can impose our beliefs about victim-hood onto animals.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 9:56 pm

      I agree with you that it’s sad our society DOESN’T get so worked up about other crimes, because we should!

    • Dani February 6, 2011, 4:03 pm

      Amazing response. I also think ppl bring their own prejudice over a team into the arguments. People really need to step back and look if their team picked up Vick and was successful with them would be singing a different tune?

      A lot of so called dog lovers hate Vick yet when I see what kind of dog they have it is a dog from a pet store or a breeder not a rescue or a mutt. When ppl choose to purchase a designer dog they are almost letting a healthy happy dog get euthanized from overpopulation at a dog shelter.

      For me rape and murder is worse. Yet we don’t see a ton of outcry for this as we did with Vick. Can’t just throw money at the victim to make them silent or hire lawyers to help lesson the sentence as well as the media coverage.

      Just my fyi

  • Juli D. November 17, 2010, 7:38 pm

    This is actually somewhat simple for me, because it all comes down to two things I believe in: forgiveness and peoples ability to change for the better. Basically, life is a lot better for me if I believe that’s the way the world can operate – that may seem naive to some but I’d rather give goodness the benefit of the doubt. I, like you, feel that animal abuse is akin to child abuse due to the innocence of the victim. So while I may despise what Vick did, I still need to believe that he can change and learn from his mistakes. I don’t have to like him, but I’m not going to waste my time hating him either.

  • KatieF November 17, 2010, 7:43 pm

    I am a huge Eagles fan, and I had a very hard time with Michael Vick at first. When he abused those dogs. he was young and and did something incredibly stupid and wrong, and he should have to pay the price for that–which he has. If anyone reading this made it through their late teens or early twenties without doing something really dumb, then you are probably kidding yourself. Granted, most of us haven’t (directly) killed anmials, but we’ve all done something that we’re not proud of. He will have to live with what he did for the rest of his life, and that’s quite a punishment in itself (that’s not even mentioning the prison time and the massive fine).

    While watching Michael Vick in interviews, I think that he really has changed and regrets what he did. I think that he has had the benefit in Philadelphia of getting to be under the mentorship of some people who are incredibly positive both on and off the field (Donovan McNabb comes to mind, even though he has since been traded–in my opinion, he is the most graceful off-the-field QB in the NFL) which will hopefully help him get past his demons.

    Bottom line: I don’t want to be judged for things I did when I was young and stupid, so I shouldn’t hold anyone else to something that I won’t hold myself to. He took the punishment for his crime and has obviously tried to get himself on a better path. Everyone–even animal abusers–deserve a second chance.

    • Anna S. @ History Running Girl November 17, 2010, 10:30 pm

      He was 27 when he was convicted. In my mind, that is far past the transgressions of being young and stupid. I also don’t think being young is an excuse for doing this. Nor do I think growing up in a culture where it is accepted is.

      I’m 22, but that doesn’t mean I’m going around murdering dogs.

      I think he deserves a second chance, I’m not just don’t necessarily agree with the idea he deserves it because he was young. I also think punishments should be steeper for animal abusers.

      • KatieF November 18, 2010, 5:56 am

        My point is that most of us do not go around murdering dogs, but we’ve all done something that we regret–anyone who says they haven’t is kidding themselves. One of my co-workers was killed recently by a 24-year old who was driving while she was under the influence. Because of her mistake, there are now 3 kids without a dad. Does she regret it? Probably. But it’s looking like she’s going to get off with a slap on the wrist. In my opinion, that is just as bad if not worse than what Michael Vick did–and things like that happen every single day.

        • Anna @ history running girl November 18, 2010, 7:58 am

          That is absolutely just as bad. Honestly I don’t think she should get away witha slap on the wrist.

          There are plenty of young people who make the decision not to drive drunk or get in the car with someone who is drunk though. Just like there are people who are older who drive drunk.

          I think 27 is still older than the average young and stupid argument.

          I see what you are saying however. I just respectfully disagree.

  • May November 17, 2010, 7:52 pm

    Welcome to Philadelphia and Go Eagles! 🙂

  • Leiane November 17, 2010, 7:57 pm

    The only other topic that makes me as angry as Michael Vick is the Westboro Baptist Church. This man acted in such a way that is so depraved and cruel that I think that he should spend the rest of his life in prison…and if I could employ my personal punishment on him, that life would be a short one.
    He carefully, purposefully and willfully created a business based on the mutilation and death of these dogs for entertainment. He knowingly bought and bred these animals for the sole purpose of happily watching them die for a profit.
    He is a horrible person and a pitiful excuse for a man. I’m sure his only regret is that he was caught and had to spend time in jail. The money is of no consequence to him because clearly he has not been set back financially.
    It amazes me how people can turn a blind eye to this creature. If he wasn’t a football player, no one would give a sh*t if he got a second chance or not. He certainly doesn’t deserve one…this would not be a topic of discussion if he got what he deserved!

  • Callie November 17, 2010, 7:58 pm

    I think animal abusers aren’t any different than pedafiles.I think the ability to do something as disturbing as murdering an innocent animal always is deep inside of you.You are always that person much like a child predator.He should not be playing for any professional team and I would NOT support that team in any way,shape or form.Standing up for the dogs that can not stand up for themselves is so much more important than the stupid super bowl.I’m not sure why this would even be giving you any kind of conflict?

  • Lauren November 17, 2010, 8:04 pm

    Wow, what an interesting debate and I have to say, I didn’t see this coming on HTP but I’m happy you expressed it.
    Personally, I am a HUGE Eagles fan (like your hubby) and I wasn’t so excited to hear about Vick’s joining the team. However, to sound selfish and like a typical Philly fan, I have to say, Vick is an incredible athlete. Yes, he sucks as a caring human being, but I’m not watching sports to idolize these guys for who they are outside of the field. I try to judge them for how the play and not for their personal lives. Most of these guys are scum to be honest, but I think that is what separates the world of fame and fortune from reality.

  • Jessica November 17, 2010, 8:30 pm

    Professional sports and Hollywood seem like the only (high-paying) “jobs” that you can go back to after committing heinous crimes. I think it’s ridiculous. It seems like America is rewarding people for acting terribly. Entertainment is more important than morality it seems. I do not approve.

    • Karen November 17, 2010, 11:17 pm

      Amen, sister!

  • Becky November 17, 2010, 8:39 pm

    What one has to remember with the whole doctor/teacher and them never being able to be rehired after a conviction like this is that parents/guardians have a lot LESS control about their children interacting with them. If that teacher was in a public school in a small town where there was only one third grade class, to keep their child away they would have to move which may be impossible for many reasons.

    On the other hand, with a football player, whose profession is completely outside of the public sector, it is the parent’s duty to teach about role models and control what interaction their child has with said convict.

    There are obviously a lot of comments on this topic, and it is a very relevant one to the society in which we live. I hope it only inspires those to get proactive about their passions and get involved in the politics of our nation so we no longer have debates like this.

  • Meg November 17, 2010, 9:02 pm

    I think it’s clear everyone agrees that what Vick did was horrible. This has been a very interesting debate over what felons should be allowed to do after being freed. It’s frustrating, too, to know that as long as professional sports are driven by money and not morals, there will never be an easy answer on what pro-athletes are “allowed” to do after being convicted of a crime.

    Despite the sad outcome of this whole story with Vick and the dogs that lost their life at his hands, it makes it a little easier to take to think about what he HAS done and continues to do to try to repair the damage he has caused.

    As a teacher of inner-city high school kids in DC, I am constantly trying to help my students find some sort of motivation to overcoming obstacles that face them every day they walk out of their homes. Drugs, violence and gangs surround them at every turn and they lack the tools to make smart decisions to stay AWAY from bad influences. As a teacher, it is my job to open their eyes to different paths in life but they don’t always want to hear it from me. Recently we had some speakers come in to talk to the kids about staying on track and what it means to overcome obstacles to reach your goals in life. The speakers included a local DJ, a former NFL player and a college track star. The message was clear – life’s not easy – you have to work hard, get back up when you fall down, and never give up on your dreams. It may sound cliche but these kids GOT IT (for lack of a better term.) It’s the same message we as teachers try to give every day in class but sometimes the only way for them to really GET IT is to hear it from someone who lived it – who has grown up in the rough neighborhoods, made bad decisions, but turned life around. While these people never killed dogs, they still made poor decisions in life that they are still paying for. There message was real, not sugar-coated. Vick is not a role model on how to live your life, he is a model of what NOT to do, and hearing that directly from him is more effective than people are giving credit. It may not be “right” but it is what it is.

    My long-winded point is that regardless of what crimes some people commit (or their remorse for those crimes), one of the greatest things they can do is to EDUCATE people to NOT take their path. The saying “Do as I say, not as I do” is very true in this case. We can’t change what Michael Vick did, but like it or not, his case has brought MAJOR awareness to the cause AGAINST dog fighting. If there is a silver lining to be seen from this, it is that being back on the national stage has kept his despicable acts in the news and in conversations about the prevalence of animal cruelty and I would bet his prison sentence will continue to be mentioned in every NFL game he plays for years to come.

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 9:59 pm

      I think it’s so wonderful that you are such a clearly thoughtful person and work with children. Thank you!

    • Anna S. @ History Running Girl November 17, 2010, 10:32 pm

      This was a great comment! I really enjoyed reading it.

  • *Andrea* November 17, 2010, 9:06 pm

    mmmm chinese is the best!!

    i think michael vick definitely was cruel and twisted to do what he did. however, i am a HUGE proponent for second chances

  • Irina November 17, 2010, 9:10 pm

    I normally never comment, but I think I will on this one. M. Vick paid his debt, served time and was punished financially. Let’s be realistic: He will not get where he was before – there will be no crazy endorsement deals, etc – no PR person in the world will help him with that.. It will never be what it would have been had he not committed his crimes. (think also about Tiger Woods – he will never get back his plum endorsements either). Once you are marked by a scandal, it it over…

    I am not in any way justifying what he did, it was horrible, and he will live with it for the rest of his life… think of this as a punishment… but he needs to be allowed to do his job. Being a professional athlete is not an easy job either. He works hard, probably double hard to prove himself again. Let him, why do we have to pass judgements on him or his employer?

    In general, I have noticed that it is easy for most of us to make moral judgements about other people or situations (I would never do X or Y…or if it were me, I would not…etc) but most of us are never exposed to the circumstances where we really have to make a trully serious moral choice – and there is no telling what each person will choose in a situation of high pressure, and when the stakes are super high… if your friend, who has been a wonderful friend to you, confesses that she is cheating on her husband, what would you do? stop being her friend, disregard years of great friendship? toss her away because she is an immoral human being (cheating is immoral, right?)

    • Caitlin November 17, 2010, 10:00 pm

      That’s a good point and I think it goes back to the thing that a lot of people said – for MV, dogfighting was a part of his childhood. So for him, it wasn’t necessarily as immoral as it is for you or me.

      • Ryan M. November 18, 2010, 9:34 am

        I get this to a point. But, if I grew up seeing my family sell drugs or get high or selling sex does that mean it is ok for me to do it as an adult and committ the same crime? And for it to get pushed under the rug because it was part of by culture or upbringing? Maybe Michael Vick doesn’t value animals the same way some of us do, but the things he did to the animals was immoral. Drowing, hanging etc.. it makes me sick. I know some do not like to see the comparison between animals and children but we have domesticated dogs and like children someone needs to be there voice.

        Sorry…such a sensitive subject for me.

        • Caitlin November 18, 2010, 9:36 am

          At the core, I agree with you. No matter how acceptable he thought dogfighting was, he also *KNEW* that killing a dog was animal abuse.

  • Ryan November 17, 2010, 9:28 pm

    I could go crazy on this topic…Not a Michael Vick fan, but never have been. I do think he has done his time and deserves a second chance. (Even if I do fight down vomit eveytime I see him and always change the channel)The one GOOD thing that came out of the Vick case is it brought more attention and awareness to dog fighting and what really goes on…more groups are getting out there and educating on the topic of dog fighting than ever before.

  • Rebeca Lynda November 17, 2010, 9:33 pm

    1. I think what he did was wrong. Horrific. Disgusting.

    2. Did you know that recently, in DC, a mother served more jail time for starving her two dogs than for starving her three children? Sorry. I adore animals but children matter a whole lot more. So, it kind of bothers me to see them compared, ever.

    3. In the African American community, especially the subset of it that Vick is a part of, this sort of behavior is normal,accepted, applauded even. Does that make it okay? Hell no! But, it does help me to forgive him. Much like I watch things that the refugees I work with say and do that seem abhorrent to me and my ideals, I have to accept that it is part of their culture and through love and a carefully built relationship I can try to change the behaviors and attitudes. That’s not to say that this treatment of pits shouldn’t change (in fact, it MUST change) but I think that much like we strive to understand the cultures of those from other nations we must also try to understand the cultures within our own. Living in DC, a city with some extreme poverty in the African American community, I’ve come to realize that there is a distinct culture to this area that is a world apart from the mixed race community I grew up in, and even the African American community that my extended family is a part of.

    • Brandi November 18, 2010, 10:19 am

      Dog fighting in the “African American community” is not a “part of their culture”. Yes, some african americans do it. So do some caucasions. What a broad and ignorant statement. There are MANY african american families that adopt and love pets just like any other person/family/group in America.

      • elizabeth November 18, 2010, 10:31 am

        Thank you!!! Um, hello, Rebeca – you know that what you said was “In the African American community…this sort of behavior is normal, accepted, applauded even.” WTF.

    • Callie November 24, 2010, 11:18 am

      Children do not matter a whole lot more.Who says???You?Oh,well it must be true if you said it.

  • elizabeth November 17, 2010, 9:39 pm

    This is an EXCELLENT point:

    #126 Eliza
    on Nov 17th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    4. The public outrage over Vick’s behavior far exceeds any outrage I”ve ever seen over instances of violence against women. Animals make easy victims: we don’t question whether they are telling the truth, or going after money, or were drunk so they deserved it. We can impose our beliefs about victim-hood onto animals.

  • sarah November 17, 2010, 9:44 pm

    I didn’t have time to read through all the comments but agree that Michael Vick did serve his time for the crime he committed. The real issue here is that if all NFL teams stopped hiring criminals you would be surprised by the amount of athletes that would not be allowed to play in the NFL. Sadly, for the sake of winning and money, the NFL turns its head the other way not only when it comes to Michael Vick but also other players who abuse women, drive intoxicated and commit a variety of other crimes.

  • Teacherwoman November 17, 2010, 9:45 pm

    Oh great debate, I just wish I had more time to read everyones comments. I too, like to believe in our justice system, but at the same time I see people doing some pretty hannis crimes and barely doing the time… barely in my eyes. I agree that what he did was ugly, and to be honest, I think it’s crazy that he was able to “pay” his dues. I don’t know exactly what he went through while he was in jail for that period of time, but I hope that there was some sort of mandated (or choice) counciling involved. Some may think that this was just dogs, but I too would like to compare it to children. If anyone does anything bad to children, I am pretty sure there is some time with the medical field for counciling required.

    However, I think he has done his time and is trying to be a better person now. He should be able to work, and it just so happens that his career is with the NFL. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, and I think people need to move on from that and stop judging him based on what he DID and judge him based on what he is doing now. He is an AMAZING football player that has come a long way.

    And… I agree… and teacher commits and felony and loses his/her job. that point hit me hard. Kids can go home and say a teacher hit him or grabbed him by the arm, and the parents may sue, leaving the teacher and school district in a lot of hot water…AND possibly losing that teaching job, and worse… LICENSE!

  • rebecca lustig November 17, 2010, 10:11 pm

    it’s like you’re inside my mind. I’ve been looking for a black bean casserole AND baked falafel recipe.

    i am always one to believe in second chances, however, that doesn’t mean we just forgive and FORGET. he shouldn’t forget either– i.e. just bc he served his time doesn’t mean he has the right to be ‘off the hook’.

  • Karen November 17, 2010, 10:46 pm

    Caitlin! I totally agree with you! I hate that he’s still able to be a pro player and a (poor) role model. Let him get a job at McDonald’s for all I care. But not in the public eye and not in a job where he might have any influence on developing young lives.

    This pattern is RAMPANT in our society with all different celebrities. I’m not saying people need to be completely ostracized, but there should be some kind of social consequences.

  • Sarah November 17, 2010, 11:02 pm

    First I want to sayI am by no means a Vick supporter, what he did is horrible & he deserved the punishment he got. However, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that there is so much media attention surrounding this while Donte Stallworth killed a pedestrian while drinking & driving & was only sentenced to 30 days in jail & was allowed to return to NFL. A person died because of him & hardly anyone cares about or protests his return to the NFL or pathetic sentencing just because he isn’t as big a star as Vick.
    Ok sorry for the rant, it just really grinds my gears!

  • Shannon @ Philadelphia Phitness Pharmacy November 17, 2010, 11:02 pm

    I’m an eagles fan! YAY Philly sports! I think that he did was certainly wrong, but he did pay his dues! And playing football is his skill. The fact that he served almost 2 years behind bars, not just a few hours like celebrities who get DUIs and endanger the lives of everyone on the road, I think gives him the right to try and work.

  • Lauren S. November 17, 2010, 11:05 pm

    While Michael Vick did serve his time, I think the real question is did he serve ENOUGH time? In my opinion, absolutely not. The things he did were heinous, terrible crimes worthy of a heck of a lot more than 23 months in prison. I’ve heard bits and pieces of what he did, because quite honestly, I can’t bear to bring myself to read the full accounts.

    To see someone who is capable of such despicable crimes not only be let off easy, but to gain even more fame and notoriety makes me sick. There is no denying that Michael Vick is talented – of course he is. But there is also no question that his character is deeply flawed and immoral. For me, the bigger problem is that (some) people value winning so much, that character takes a back seat to a coveted championship trophy. That raises even more questions about the state of society that I can’t even begin to get into here, but I digress.

    Does everyone deserve a second chance? You know, not always. Sometimes you make your choices. And in this case, Michael Vick made the same depraved choices for over FIVE years. It’s time for the NFL to raise their standards and set an example – others will follow. There is no place for Michael Vick in the NFL or any organization that considers itself above reproach and one of standards.

  • Britt November 18, 2010, 5:31 am

    blah! every time I see his name all I can think of is “Watch your Beagle, Vick’s an Eagle.” Seriously, the $1 million he paid was to cover his butt in my opinion and he had the money to spend after being an NFL player. I agree, he did his time (not enough), but I seriously disagree with him being back in the NFL. Many many people know his story, and many many kids look at the NFL as their dream. These people are role models to many kids and need to be capable of being one. /end rant

  • Crystal November 18, 2010, 7:33 am

    I believe that murder should be an impermissible act within the NFL and Michael Vick is a murderer. Pre-meditated murder of animals at that. In my opinion the fact that he is good at football shouldn’t matter, where is the line going to be drawn for others. It sets the precedent that as long as you are a great football player, do what you want, you’ll get your job back anyway. I do agree that people deserve a second chance but athletes in our country are viewed as heroes and he shouldn’t be given that!

  • Kelly H. (Running Phoodie) November 18, 2010, 7:40 am

    I live in Philly, and this is often a hot topic of debate. My point is this- if it was several PEOPLE he had murdered, and not dogs, he would probably be serving a life sentence. To me, murdering animals is just as bad as murdering people, and so I do not think he has “served his time”. There has to be something very evil and wrong with you to allow you to beat a helpless dog into the ground. I volunteered in animal shelters for years, as well as working for a short time in an veterinary emergency hospital in Richmond (which has a lot of pit bull fighting). In both cases, the majority of the cases were pit bulls whose owners had been abusive. They are not inherently mean dogs, people just train them to be that way. I now work at the Philadelphia Zoo as a keeper and was horrified when Vick had the nerve to show up there one day. It’s just my opinion, but anyone that has it in them to do what he did to any living creature has something deeply wrong with them on the inside. That doesn’t just go away with 2 years time and a fine.

  • Alison (Ali on the Run) November 18, 2010, 7:44 am

    Michael Vick makes me sick. He should not be allowed to play. Him getting back into the NFL is yet another example of athletes and celebrities getting special treatment. It’s so unfortunate and sets a terrible precedent.

  • Beth November 18, 2010, 7:53 am

    I am cautiously thrilled that 48 oh the dogs were adopted. Normally dogs involved in dog fighting are euthanized to side with caution. In most places there are so many dogs that can’t find homes and have to be euthanized every year, that they just don’t take the risk with dogs with the slightest signs of aggression. In fact I know a shelter that euthanized all pits that came through their doors, which is not okay.

    I am a big believer that once you have done your time, your debt is completed. I am not a lock the door and throw away the keys type. Our country has some messed up sentencing laws that have more to do with politics (I am tough on crime!- Vote for me!) then actually making any sense. People will get way more time than Michael Vick for doing way less and people will get way less time for much worse crimes. I actually think Vick’s sentence was about right.

    Now my views on the justice system aside, I am glad I am not in the position of having to cheer for him.

  • Sally November 18, 2010, 8:11 am

    Yes, when a person serves their time, they have served their debt to society and should have a second chance to rebuild their life

    To me, animal abuse is worse than abusing a human because a person can, in theory, call for help, tell someone else about the abuse, or run away. An animal is completely dependent on it’s owner for care. For a person to abuse this kind of dependence is despicable.

    So, even if a person has served their time for animal abuse, to me that person is unforgivable. A second chance shouldn’t be an opportunity to win accolades and glory and make millions of dollars so little children can look up to you and wear a jersey with your number on it

    On another note, I am glad that there is so much discussion about Vick and that there was so much media coverage on his trial/sentencing because it does make the general public more aware of animal abuse and the wrongs of it.

  • Nadine November 18, 2010, 8:38 am

    I live near Philly, I LOVE the Eagles, I hated Michael Vick for what he did to those dogs, but now I LOVE him as an Eagle. I’m not proud of loving him, I think there might be something wrong with us Eagles fans. If we’re winning games, we love the team. If we’re losing games, we hate everyone, including Santa if he happens to show up on teh field.

    Andy Reid (coach of Eagles) has two sons who have served time in jail. I’m sure for his own sanity, he needs to believe that people can be rehabilitated and re-enter society. I think that’s why he was willing to accept Michael Vick.

    Final thought, Michael Vick did serve his time and pay his fines. He deserves to have a job. If he were a plumber, no one would care that he went back to work as a plumber. He just happens to be one of the most talented quarterback around. And he went back to work.

    I’ve made my peace with it, probably because we’re winning games.

  • Heather November 18, 2010, 9:08 am

    Bottom Line: If the NFL can make money off of Vick they do not care what he did. It is the American Way. Exploit, exploit, exploit.
    There are people that play on different teams convicted of man slaughter!

  • Lungs November 18, 2010, 9:33 am

    Interesting question, Caitlin, and interesting discussion!

    The fields wherein a felony prevents employment are those where persons are put at risk by virtue of the offender’s involvement in that line of work. Football doesn’t qualify.

    And, to take the other point of view with respect to being an example, having an ex-offender be wildly successful on the outside is encouraging to other inmates, which breeds motivation to change, and which subsequently breeds genuine rehabilitation.

    The lack of post-incarceration opportunity and the lack of rehabilitative interventions while in custody are two of the primary factors associated with the high rates of recidivism in the US. The overly aggressive manner in which some offences are pursued (e.g., the war on drugs) and the extreme sentencing requirements in place only compound the problem and leads to the US having not only the highest per capita rate of incarceration but a rate SO MUCH HIGHER than its counterparts as to be literally off the charts when graphed. The drain this poses on working Americans in terms of tax money utilisation, work force limitation, and other areas is astronomical.

    All that to say, even if I have niggling doubts about an individual’s case, and I don’t feel that larger-scale ‘justice’ has been met when someone who has committed an act I and society condemn is subsequently more successful than most of us who behave more appropriately, I still believe in the rehabilitative ideal. In practice, that means I have to be okay with Vick’s case.

  • Angie November 18, 2010, 9:48 am

    He was a football player to begin with. He more than made up for any damage he cause, while yet, it was a horrible thing he did, but isn’t rehabilitation what the whole American Justice system is about? Simply because you commit a horrible crime and then you go on and do your time, your past indiscretions should be forgiven to a degree and he should be able to continue on with his career.

  • Alanna November 18, 2010, 10:14 am

    I live in philly and used to be an eagles fan, but no more. I have volunteered in animal shelters in philadelphia for years and run a cat rescue – i have seen the horrors of dog fighting in person, and it’s unforgiveable. Vick makes me sick. It makes me sick that the NFL would sign ANY felon back, but especially him. I stopped watching football the day they accepted him back. I won’t stay anywhere that’s playing an Eagles game. He has shown absolutely no remorse – he’s only sorry he messed up his life. Of course he deserves another chance – as a cart pusher in a grocery store, like other convicted felons, not as a football star.

    And to sign him in Philly, where we have HORRIBLE dog fighting problems, was just a slap in the face to all of us who spend our days trying to save animals in this city.

  • Brandi November 18, 2010, 10:18 am

    First time commenter…I just had to chime in here!

    I just want to preface my comment with I went to Virginia Tech, I know MV’s brother, I live in the area where the dog fighting took place, and I am a dog owner myself.

    I absolutely think that what MV did was heinous. There is no other way to describe it. He went to jail, served his time, and is working in the community to educate young people about dog fighting. Our prisons and criminal systems are meant to rehabilitate people and release them back into society. There are people in the NFL that have killed PEOPLE who have served less time, and dealt with less scrutiny and hatred.

    Just because you think a person is despicable, horrible, deplorable doesnt mean you have the right to condemn them at every turn. People deserve second chances and the opportunity to turn their lives around. I’ve read so many comments that say “he is only sorry because he was caught”. How would you know that? In my opinion, his interviews and efforts have seemed sincere and genuine and he is working hard to get his life and career back on track. Why not let him play football? Clearly his story is well known, and he is speaking out against dog fighting. People are listening to what he has to say and hopefully kids will learn what not to do from it.

    Ultimately only time will tell whether he has truly learned his lesson.

    (wikipedia might not be the best source for facts as it is a wiki and anyone can go in and edit it at any time….)

  • MelanieF November 18, 2010, 10:21 am

    I live in Canada and I had heard about Michael Vick’s actions. I am a huge animal lover and dog lover and what he did leaves me speechless. Personaly, I don’t car for football as Canada’s sport is Hockey, but if it was a hockey player I would’ve never wanted an NFL team to take him back. He did a horrible crime, and I don’t think sending him back into the spotlight actually sends a good positive message to young kids who look up to him.

    He did the crime, did the time. But, that does not mean he can have the opportunity to make millions again.

  • Jake November 18, 2010, 10:40 am

    I didn’t read all the comments here..But I don’t think he should have been welcomed back into the NFL like he was…He’s a role model and not one that I’d want my kids (if I had any) to emulate in any way, shape or form…

  • selwyn marock November 18, 2010, 10:50 am

    I am not a Vick Fan and certainly do not condone what he did,but he served around 2 years behind bars,lost his fortune.etc etc.yet many posters on these blogs go for him still boots and all BUT someone like Mayor Hinklehooper of Denver has been GUILTY of Murdering 1000’s upon 1000’s of Family-Pets,is currently breaking Federal-Law by plying his Murderous trade and no-one says a word,and many of these bloggers go running off to the Polls and reward this EVIL individual by voting him in as Governor of Colorada.
    Can anyone explain this STUPIDITY to me?????????????

    • MelanieF November 18, 2010, 12:49 pm

      I don’t know him, as I am in Canada. But, it’s still would be the same thing. I would NEVER vote for somoene like that EVER.

  • Elizabeth November 18, 2010, 11:32 am

    So I didn’t have the time to read all 307 responses and usually like to before I give my piece of mind. However, this is an issue I have battled with myself. My entire family is from Philly and I have loved the Eagles since I can remember (fly eagles fly). I am also a huge animal lover and can’t comprehend how anyone can hurt another being the way that Michael Vick did. Here is the conclusion that I have come to. There are no excuses for what he did and on a personal level I will never be able to forgive him for his crimes. At the same time, his job is to be the best QB he can be, his crimes got him off the field, in jail and bankrupt, he did his time. Now he is back and better than ever so I guess my point as, what he did was wrong and if he did it again I would hope his punishment would be until the end of time but he is doing his job and doing it very well, and although he is in the media spotlight good parenting should and will always prevail.

  • JavaChick November 18, 2010, 11:49 am

    I’m not a sports fan but I don’t believe 23 months is enough jail time and I don’t think he should have been allowed back into the NFL.

    As for deserving a second chance after time served…there is something seriously wrong with someone who can treat animals that way. Does he really understand that what he did was wrong? Truly feel shame and remorse? Or would he still be doing it if he knew he wouldn’t get caught?

  • A Life Without Ice Cream November 18, 2010, 12:08 pm

    Ok I preface this by saying that I don’t really follow NFL football and this isn’t a topic I know a lot about. I heard about it quite a bit 2 years ago when it happened but since then not so much. I also agree that animal abuse is NOT taken seriously enough as a crime and is akin to other types of abuse.

    I also agree with you that even if we don’t like the verdict we have to trust in the criminal justice system. I also agree that perhaps becoming a superstar in the NFL isn’t the best example for generations. However… (and I really don’t know the answer to this) I imagine that Vick is not the only NFL player with a criminal record. I’m guessing that many of those guys might have records for various activities. Yes there’s a difference between crimes but they’re all a bad example. Perhaps many of them (ie ones committed pre nfl career) aren’t as widely public.

    Food for thought.

  • Caroline November 18, 2010, 1:24 pm

    Every time I have a black person cross the street when I’m walking my pit bull, or have a black man ask whether she bites, or even to some extent when a black man yells out his car window “nice dog” or “you breeding her?” I hate Michael Vick. The fact that one of our neighbor’s boyfriends threatened my husband’s life, in front of a cop, because this dog had slipped out the door without a leash, makes me hate Michael Vick. And every person who would do such a thing to such sweet, loyal dogs. But I guess I’m a tad closer to the situation than a lot of people are.

  • Rob November 18, 2010, 4:21 pm

    I find it interesting that our media only focuses on the torture of “cute animals”. Plenty of animals are slaughtered/tortured and no one receives jail time for that. I feel like Michael Vick is getting extra punishment because of our society’s affinity for dogs.

    • caitlin November 18, 2010, 5:17 pm


  • KD November 18, 2010, 5:39 pm

    so late to this topic – first time commenter – felt compelled to weigh in. I’m a Philly girl. Huge fan of the Eagles- always have been. I live in Philly and can say that people do talk about it here, often. I also own a rescued pittie mix- who was neglected and abused. I am head over heels in love with my pup.
    I think this is a great debate/discussion.
    At the end of the day- it’s business. That’s what it is. If the Eagles didn’t pick up Vick, another team would. That’s how it goes- the NFL allowed him to play, and a team picked him up. It’s business. They aren’t paying Vick because he is a good guy (or not)- they are paying him to play football. The NFL is entertainment – and it is BIG business. I actually really liked (past tense) Vick, as an athlete – a football player –back when he was in Atlanta and was outrageously disappointed when this all came into light – but he wasn’t a role model to me- then or now. I’m not running out to purchase a Vick jersey or anything, but I hope that the situation raises awareness and I’m hopeful that some kids will learn that what they may be raised around (dog fighting) is, in fact, morally wrong, and illegal and they stop the cycle of dog abuse. You have hope for the future.
    Finally, I wouldn’t say that Philadelphia fans have welcomed Vick with open arms at all. But, the owner of the team didn’t take a city-wide vote if he should hire Vick or not- because it’s not our choice. If I don’t like it – I don’t have to tune in. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find season ticket holders that will give up their seat licenses because Vick is on the team. The NFL is not in business to set a moral standard- it’s to make money. Their business IS entertainment.
    And my business if to love my pup as much as I can. Love my life and keep working to improve myself. I can tune into the ‘birds if I want. And continue to hope that some kid, some time, will stop the cycle of dog abuse for entertainment.

  • Jennifer (keepitsimplefoods) November 19, 2010, 9:14 am

    I am not an Eagles fan or a Michael Vick fan and never will be. The NFL wouldn’t have hired him back if fans weren’t so supportive. The bottom line is money and so long as people are willing to come out and see him play and the team makes money (and thereby the league makes money) that is unfortunately all that matters. It’s important for football fans who do not support MV to express their contempt by tightening their purse strings. No matter how many touchdown passes he throws, or how awesome he is on the field, if fans don’t come out to watch him play, he won’t stay. Consumers/football fans have the final say in this matter, not the NFL gig wigs.

  • frances November 19, 2010, 12:51 pm

    I do not believe that justice system has done right by all the poor dogs that went through pain agony and torture at the hands of Vick not to mention the mental stress the survivors are going through …Its sick he is living a happy life how can he possibly have paid for his crimes ?? Tougher laws tougher penalties if I had my way the coward would be living chained to a pole in the wilderness !

  • Amber November 19, 2010, 6:32 pm

    I absolutely hate Michael Vick with every inch of my body and I think he should have been tortured and killed just like those dogs were. I also don’t necessarily think that the American justice system is always right. If someone is sent to jail for raping and murdering someone and gets released (which often happens due to plea bargains etc.), I would never say it was ok to “forgive” this person. I have been outraged on multiple occasions when I have heard a verdict that in no way fits the crime committed. Our justice system is not perfect – far from it. I also personally think murdering animals shows the absolute worst character in a person and punishment for animal abuse should be much stricter.

  • Amber November 19, 2010, 6:35 pm

    and I really don’t think ALL people deserve second chances. Some actions are too heinous to be forgiven.

  • Carina November 20, 2010, 6:41 pm

    I didn’t read all the comments, but #3 echoed with me. I think it’s fine that he get a job in the NFL after he served his time. The problem is that our society doesn’t punish crimes against animals seriously enough. And honestly, I believe animal slaughter for food should also be illegal. It’s cruel, dirty, polluting, inhumane and unnecessary. I don’t understand why it’s a crime to kill dogs or cats but not cows or pigs. Just because most people don’t choose to love cows or pigs the same way they love dogs or cats doesn’t mean they’re less worthy of love and protection.

  • Brandy November 22, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Persoanlly, I can’t back him. I’m not a Philly fan, but I love football. I watched one Philly game because they played my team, and I actually hated seeing him on the field. I prefer to root for players (and teams as a whole) that choose to employ people who strive for a higher accountability, especially since NFL players have the potential to be looked up to. This is why I can’t be a fan of my “home team” and chose to back a team who has shown a higher moral fiber.

  • Krista (kristastes) November 24, 2010, 1:51 pm

    I am from Philly and could care less about football in general unless it’s Penn State 🙂 I would like to weigh in because I am an animal lover and my best friend is an adoption counselor/foster care consultant for the North Philly SPCA (VERY bad area, 99% of their dogs are pit/pit mixes and lots of dog fighting and abusive cases). While I believe Vick committed SICK acts of violence, I also think his very public conviction benefited society by creating more exposure of dog fighting and awareness that pits are actually AWESOME family dogs. I’d be extremely curious about adoption rates of pits (possible increase??) after all the Michael Vick hype.

  • Momma Warrior November 29, 2010, 7:41 am

    What it seems people who “forgive” MV forget is that it’s not a case where he kicked the family pet for pooping on the floor. He deliberately acquired hundreds of dogs for the sole purpose of training them to fight, breeding them to fight, or as BAIT DOGS to be repeatedly attacked. He engineered a world of torture and pain for animals who had no option to leave, and a cruel death as far away from humane euthanasia as could be.

    In my opinion, it is the same as kidnapping children, holding them for years, and torturing, raping, and cruelly killing them.

    While life as a feedlot cow is not fun, conditions are improving. Their death results in use of their bodies, not a mass grave where spent animals are tossed. They are not turned against their own kind, repeatedly attacked, and, if they survive, stitched up to be attacked again.

    What Michael Vick did was akin to the plot of one of the Saw movies.

    And remember, you can forgive someone for what they do, but you don’t have to EVER forget what they do.

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