Friday, August 14, 2009

Will It Be Sunnier In Philadelphia?

I was sitting on my couch Thursday night, slightly hungover and irritable, watching the Cardinals and Steelers game. Actually, I was just looking at the game. The meaninglessness of preseason added with decreased energy from the night before put me in the mindset of not wanting to do anything. So I sat there, mostly thinking about whether or not I like Jon Gruden.

Then it happened. Mike Tirico all of a sudden went to Chris Mortensen for an update. I knew what the news was. Michael Vick has found a team. The only question was which team. The Eagles? Oh, this is not going to sit well. And it didn't. Ron Jaworski (an ex-Eagles quarterback) was livid. Jon Gruden seemed more interested than either angry or happy. He wanted to think about what Andy Reid would do to get Vick on the field. He's still a coach at heart. He still thinks in terms of football. Jaworksi has been in the media game for a while. He let his emotions fly.

And so has everybody else. Commentators either asked or told you whether or not Vick to Philly was a good idea, not as far as good for the team, but good for the Vick, the city or the NFL itself. What is the social commentary - that is the angle here. How we feel about Vick's return is suppose to gauge how we feel about the crime of dogfighting altogether. Which is dumb, to say to least.

True, you can't say dogfighting without thinking of Mike Vick. He will be the face of that crime for probably the next 20 years, but more than likely be forgotten after that. Donte Stallworth is not the face of drunk driving because he's just one of many, Vick's crime was new. And animal abuse comes with one loud, wholly obnoxious group of haters - the loathsome PETA.

PETA's intentions are good, sure. But make no mistake, their job is to completely ruin the public lives of anyone who has ever eaten a cheeseburger. There is no understanding, no faith in humanity. Their undying love of animals seems to be based in their complete lack of insight into people. Animals are flawless, humans are evil, this is the PETA way.

PETA isn't rotting for Vick to change. They don't want him to turn his life around and be a champion to anti-dogfighting in the Philadelphia community. Like any loud organization, their goal is to win. If Vick's life was left in shambles - which means no football after prison, no public persona and more importantly, no money - then PETA wins. They get to flex their muscles, show the world that you don't fuck with PETA. Don't love animals because it's the right thing to do, love animals because if you don't, the mighty PETA machine will flat out destroy you.

On the flip side, the Humane Society actually gets it. In a video on the HSUS website, you hear things like "are we about writing off an individual...treating that person as a pariah forever...and trying to block his career...or are we about trying to make people better?" This is the right way to think about Vick. This is the mature way. It comes from a real love of animals, not a hate for people. It's how we should all react.

There will be protesters from PETA, naturally. But don't be one of these people who believes the ends justify the means. Be the People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans as well. Don't get mad that Vick went to a strip club after he got out of prison (I sure as hell would), or refuse to believe he actually wants to change, as this blog represents. If he does good in his life, he does good. If Vick relapses, then so be it. I much rather look at things like Jon Gruden does, purely from a football standpoint. That's what is interesting to me.


William said...

Excellent post. I don't get the people that won't let a criminal who did his time ever have a life again. Would a guy who was forced to spend a weekend in jail for OUI want to be some pariah for the rest of his life?

Thoughtful people understand that there is a yin to every yang. If you don't eat a cow, you have to plant a couple of acres of food to replace the food content. What about the animals that formally occupied that land before it was plowed under? Personal choices should be just that. Personal and based on one's own conscience. To have an organization like PETA forcing their life view down everyone's throat is unfair and unsporting.

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