Can We Finally Allow Michael Vick To Turn His Life Around?

14 Mar

Death Threats Force him to Cancel Book Signings, VFW Appearance

 

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sun

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had to cancel a book signing in Atlanta because of death threats. Photo by William Z. Foster

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had to cancel a book signing in Atlanta because of death threats. Photo by William Z. Foster

Late last week, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick cancelled a book signing at a Barnes and Noble bookstore in Atlanta and an appearance at a VFW post in Exton because of threats to his life and his family.

Ever since Vick, who was convicted on charges related to dog-fighting, was released from prison in 2009, he has been a target of protest from animal rights groups.  Despite working with the Humane Society of the United States as a spokesman against dog fighting, Vick is still labeled as an abuser of animals who deserves no forgiveness.

But according to Vick’s publicist Chris Shigas, the vitriol against Vick has taken an uglier tone and it’s not coming from animal rights groups.

“I wouldn’t label these people animal welfare activists,” Shigas said. “[Animal rights activists] never made death threats or threatened his family. This is coming from a few extreme, vulgar violent people. They get stirred up on the Internet with Facebook pages dedicated to hating Michael Vick. They rile themselves up and this is the result.”

Shigas said Vick will resume his book signing and charitable activities in the near future once they work things out with law enforcement officials.

You have to wonder how long will people harbor that kind of hatred to a man who has been nothing but a model citizen on and off the field.  Vick has done just about everything to atone for his crime including spending time in jail.

On one hand, Shigas is right. There are many people out there who just don’t like the man and will never move beyond the fact that he was involved in dog fighting. But on the other hand, Vick has millions of fans who look up to him as a role model for turning your life around after some difficult circumstances.

But despite the efforts of people like Vick, retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, and others to show that they’ve grown from their mistakes, the last 30 years have made some of us dedicated, if not hell bent, to never allowing people to turn their lives around, much less forgive them when they make sincere atonement.

I mean, look at Pete Rose. Rose was was banned from baseball for gambling on his own sport and then lying about it. As a player, he retired from the game as its all-time leader in hits.

Rose has since admitted that he had a gambling addiction, which is a mental health problem more than it is a moral failing. Yet he’s still denied entry to Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame because of a staunch refusal to lift the ban against him. When does his punishment end?

Back at the beginning of the 1960s, Alabama Governor George Wallace tried to block an African-American woman from enrolling at the University of Alabama with the infamous cry of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.”

But years later, Wallace sought the forgiveness of African-Americans and took responsibility for his bigotry and the harm that it caused. One of Wallace’s most ardent adversaries of that time was Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis.

Lewis said he met with Wallace in 1979 and was convinced that he was truly remorseful for his racism during the Civil Rights Movement.

“But our ability to forgive serves a higher moral purpose in our society. Through genuine repentance and forgiveness, the soul of our nation is redeemed,” Lewis said in a 1998 article in the New York Times.  “George Wallace deserves to be remembered for his effort to redeem his soul and in so doing to mend the fabric of American society.”

If Wallace was forgiven for his transgressions against human beings, doesn’t Vick deserve the same consideration for his crimes against animals?

The Bible says yes.

What do you say?

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4 Responses to “Can We Finally Allow Michael Vick To Turn His Life Around?”

  1. J-Dub March 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    About your question on Pete Rose…his punishment ends when he dies. His punishment for gambling on baseball is that he will never be allowed to stand on that stage in Cooperstown and give an induction speech. This is because Rose broke the one rule in baseball for which for which there is no forgiveness: he bet on baseball.

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    • SANDY January 13, 2014 at 12:50 am #

      No we can not. The following was written by an attorney in response to people saying this sociopath has paid his debt. PLEASE READ:
      Response to Question about Michael Vick (12-5-10)
      January 5, 2011 at 2:35pm
      You know, it’s hard to answer this question. It’s complicated. First of all, I should preface my response by saying that I am an attorney. As such, I am compelled to provide two divergent responses. I will first provide a response as one who understands our criminal justice system. It’s an OBJECTIVE response. Second, I have to answer this question from a moral point of view – a SUBJECTIVE response.

      In terms of our justice system and the rights guaranteed to all of us by the U.S. Constitution, Vick did “pay his debt to society.” So, from a LEGAL standpoint, he did “serve his time” (if you will). All Americans are guaranteed certain fundamental freedoms and protections. That’s our justice system as originally created by our Founding Fathers. Like it, or not, it is what it is. (BTW, I don’t always like it.)

      So, if companies want to endorse Vick, they are free to do so, and Vick is free to oblige. If the Eagles wish to keep him as their quarterback and pay him the millions he’s making, they are free to do so, and Vick is free to oblige. It’s all about the bottom line – who or what can bring in the big bucks. No doubt about it.

      However, this does NOT mean I agree with it. Again, whether I agree with it, or not, is irrelevant insofar as our justice system is concerned. The plea deal was one to which the prosecution and defense agreed. Was it unfair to the dogs that were tortured and murdered? YES. Was it unjust? ABSOLUTELY!

      The foregoing being said, from a moral standpoint, it is my humble opinion that Vick has NOT paid his debt to society. It goes without saying that what he did was reprehensible. We all know that – particularly as animal-lovers.

      There are two reasons why I believe I’m right on this point and why others might agree. First, Vick didn’t kill just one dog. He killed MANY dogs. In addition, the methods by which he killed his dogs were absolutely inhumane. They suffered a TORTUOUS death simply bcz they didn’t “perform” well. The brutality and violence by which he “murdered” his dogs indicate psychopathic (or, sociopathic) behavior. In a comment on a prior post, as well as on the You Tube site, I stated, in part, “One cannot commit such inhumane and cruel acts and claim to have a conscience. His so-called “apologies” require regret and remorse. Unfortunately, psychopaths cannot avail themselves to these emotions. They are foreign to him. In addition, one cannot grow a conscience, period!!!!”

      As I alluded in my comment, above, Vick is not remorseful. I really don’t think he understands the gravity of his offenses. He first tried to lie about it. After that, he blamed it on his upbringing. Then, he thumbed his nose at the justice system by violating his parole agreement (which indicates to me that he still believes he is above the law). He is also now taking the position as a victim. On camera, he said (sporting a boo-boo face) that he should be able to have a dog; that when his daughter asks him, “Why can’t we have a dog,” he feels bad that he can’t give her one.

      I have never heard him once say, “I feel bad for the suffering I caused to my dogs.” What he HAS said is, “I feel bad for letting my fans down.” What?! It is also interesting to note that in another video interview I saw of Vick, he said he didn’t want to leave this world with people (society, I guess) remembering him only for his crimes against dogs. He wants to be remembered as a good role model. Do you see the problem with this statement? Again, it’s all about HIM – what will people think about HIM! Who cares?!!! It’s not surprising that he completely misses the point. What’s that point? He fought, tortured and killed his dogs; that dogs feel pain, both physical and emotional pain.

      To sum it up, according to the justice system, he paid his debt to society. Morally, he has NOT paid his debt to society because (1) I believe he is a psychopath; and (2) he is not remorseful.

      It is worth noting, in conclusion, that his ability to work has not been stripped from him. He is working and earning millions of dollars. Vick is living quite a happy, cushy life, with admiring friends and fans, and without his “disappointing fighting dogs.”

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