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Thread: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

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    Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    www.edkleese.blogspot.com

    “He paid for his mistakes, let the man redeem himself.”

    --Prevailing attitude of many fans, media members, and players concerning Michael Vick’s return to the NFL.

    I see the world through my own lens. When it comes to judging another human being, I do not take legality into consideration. It matters not to me what the courts say about someone. I believe in paying your debt to society and being punished for your wrongs. However, when I am personally passing judgment on someone, I look way beyond what a judge or jury has to say.

    In Michael Vick’s case, I agree that his debt to society has been paid. He did serious jail time. He wasn’t in a cushy minimum-security facility nor was he coddled by the system. He did actual, hard time. It cost him a major chunk of his promising career and millions upon millions of dollars. I do believe that he has paid his dues from a legal and societal aspect.

    But again, when it comes to judging another man, legality means nothing to me.

    Let’s examine the quote at the top of the page and focus on the word “mistakes.”

    To me, a “mistake” is something that can happen to an otherwise good person. Cheating on a test is a mistake. Getting in a bar fight is a mistake. Experimenting with drugs is a mistake.

    Torturing an animal? That goes beyond a mistake. That is a glimpse into someone’s true character.

    Many people bemoan the fact that Donte Stallworth is probably going to pay a smaller price than Vick. For those that don’t know, Stallworth killed a pedestrian earlier this year while driving intoxicated. He spent less than a month in jail and is currently under suspension by the NFL. Many people don’t understand why Vick is so vilified for what he did while Stallworth seems to receive more sympathy.

    It’s really simple: While I think Stallworth’s legal punishment was entirely too lenient; from a personal or moral standpoint, I can see how someone can make that mistake. His actions were not premeditated. His goal that evening wasn’t to kill someone. He had too much to drink and got behind the wheel. I understand how that can happen to an otherwise good person. That is a mistake. It’s a terrible mistake that had tremendous consequences, but it was a mistake nonetheless.

    Electrocuting a dog is not a mistake. Slamming a dog to the pavement over and over until it dies is not a mistake. Stringing a dog up on a rope and hanging it is not a mistake. These are premeditated acts of cruelty. I don’t think that otherwise good people can get “caught up” in this kind of behavior. If you are capable of engaging in these activities, then you are the kind of person that I can never understand. The kind of person for whom I have no empathy.

    Of course, there is also the “societal” defense for Vick. I’ve heard several times that Vick grew up in rough circumstances where dog fighting was a common activity and part of the local “culture.” While the entire notion is far-fetched, it again does not explain the cruelty and violence. Had Vick simply attended dog fights or owned a few fighting dogs, I might be more prone to accept this “excuse.” But Vick was not an occasional spectator—he was at the center of a ring. He knew everything about the operation and took part in the torture and violence. He knew all about the “rape stands.” And by virtue of the lengths they went to in order to stay out of sight (buildings were all in a wooded area and painted black), he knew it was wrong.

    I can see how a kid from a rough neighborhood or a broken home can get caught up in a gang. I can see how that kid can make some bad mistakes and land himself in jail. But I do not believe there is any societal or psychological excuse (aside from abject insanity) that can explain what Vick did.

    It’s very easy to say you are sorry once you’ve been caught. But Vick showed no signs of curtailing his operation prior to the authorities busting his property. It sounds as if Vick was guilty of some extremely bad associations, and that many of his longtime “friends” threw him under the bus. Vick certainly wasn’t the only person running the show—and may not have even been the main person running the show, but he’s certainly paid the biggest price. Still, I have no sympathy for the man.

    As a die-hard fan of the Washington Redskins, I have feared for months that they might be interested in adding Vick to the roster. I usually don’t get into to judging players’ personal lives—I’m a fan of the team and the off field actions of individuals usually does not concern me. But Vick’s case is different. His actions were so vile and so cruel, that I do not believe I’d be able to put my personal feelings toward him aside and root for him to help my team.

    Vick’s destination is still unknown, although it does not appear as if the Redskins are interested. This comes as a great relief to me.

    In the end, this has nothing to do with the rights of humans versus the rights of animals. This has nothing to do with paying your debt to society. This has nothing to do with NFL suspensions or whether or not Vick should be allowed to play again. This has everything to do with making a bottom line moral judgment on another man.

    From where I sit, I lump Vick with pedophiles and rapists on the moral scale. Not because of the seriousness of the crimes or the effect they have on their victims, but because of what the perpetrators are capable of doing to another living being. If you have it in you to do that to another living creature, I’m not sure true “reform” is possible.

    The one thing I do not know is what’s in Michael Vick’s head and heart. I have no way of knowing whether or not he is truly sorry what he’s done, or simply sorry he got caught. I have no way of knowing whether or not he’s truly been able to look inside himself and exorcise his demons. And because I’ll never know the answer to those questions, I’ll have to leave the final judgment up to an authority much larger than myself. That is when Vick will find out for certain the magnitude of his “mistakes.”

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    I disagree completely with your take on Donte Stallworth. Everyone at this point knows that getting into a car while drunk is wrong, there is no excuse for doing it after you read story after tragic story. The reason I think people downplay DUI is because we are a nation of drinkers, we see Stallworth and we can imagine ourselves in his shoes and therefore we don't judge as harshly as we should.

    What Vick did was definitely not a mistake, mistakes don't last for years, but I think he should have a shot at the NFL because this is the National Football League, not the Nice Footballers League. We as a society for some reason expect sports figures to be moral compasses and I don't think thats right.

    Also, to put Vick on the same morality level as pedophiles and rapists is borderline nuts. Its inconceivable to put someone killing dogs over someone who rapes human beings, the comparison isn't even close. Its another part of our society that is out of whack, if Vick was killing chickens no one would care; chickens are tasty! However, he killed fido and that was a big no-no and he paid the price for it.

    Vick is probably not a good person, but when did being a good person become a requirement to play professional sports? The sports world is filled with people who have questionable morals (Racists, Drug addicts, wife beaters etc...) and its part of what makes sports "human".
    Last edited by MJA; 07-31-2009 at 10:20 AM.

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    I agree that Michael Vick is scum. I also think he should be allowed to return to the NFL if any team will have him. Being scum should not disqualify you from making a living.

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by MJA View Post
    I disagree completely with your take on Donte Stallworth. Everyone at this point knows that getting into a car while drunk is wrong, there is no excuse for doing it after you read story after tragic story. The reason I think people downplay DUI is because we are a nation of drinkers, we see Stallworth and we can imagine ourselves in his shoes and therefore we don't judge as harshly as we should.

    What Vick did was definitely not a mistake, mistakes don't last for years, but I think he should have a shot at the NFL because this is the National Football League, not the Nice Footballers League. We as a society for some reason expect sports figures to be moral compasses and I don't think thats right.

    Also, to put Vick on the same morality level as pedophiles and rapists is borderline nuts. Its inconceivable to put someone killing dogs over someone who rapes human beings, the comparison isn't even close. Its another part of our society that is out of whack, if Vick was killing chickens no one would care; chickens are tasty! However, he killed fido and that was a big no-no and he paid the price for it.

    Vick is probably not a good person, but when did being a good person become a requirement to play professional sports? The sports world is filled with people who have questionable morals (Racists, Drug addicts, wife beaters etc...) and its part of what makes sports "human".
    First of all, we're not talking legal stuff here-- we're talking morality. I do belive that Stallworth was punished too lightly. He made a choice, and his choice cost someone their life. However, on a moral scale, I believe torture is worse than drunk driving-- I find it easier to understand how someone would have too many drinks and drive than how they would torture something.

    And I'd be saying the same thing if it was chickens. If I heard someone was taking pleasure in the torture of chickens, I'd feel the same way.

    And finally, yes, I think the inner "sickness" that would drive someone to rape or molest is pretty similar to that of the sickness that would drive someone to torture animals-- as a matter of fact, many studies have shown that many serial killers begin by torturing animals. If you are capable of doing that stuff or even just watching it with a certain amount of pleasure, I think you immediately go to the "sicko" list.

    Having said all that, I do NOT belive Vick should be banned from the NFL.

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    Mr.Redlegs is my homeboy Eric_the_Red's Avatar
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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    Interesting discussion. I agree with BR and think Vick should be able to play football is a team wanted him, but having said that, I wouldn't want it to be my team.

    The Stallworth to Vick comparisons are sure to happen, but I don't know how to really compare them. I guess I would rather be around someone like Stallworth that made one tragic mistake instead of Vick who made a series of horrible decisions (not mistakes). But, I think I'd rather have someone torture my dog than hit and kill a family member driving drunk. (Not that either choice is pleasant.)

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    I think one of the most profound events in my life was when the loudest applause in the movie "Independence Day" was when the dog jumped and avoided the huge fireball from the explosion.

    That was the day I realized dogs had more value in this country than humans and the Leonard Little, Donte Stallworth, and Michael Vick stories of the world have made further proof.

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by DTCromer View Post
    I think one of the most profound events in my life was when the loudest applause in the movie "Independence Day" was when the dog jumped and avoided the huge fireball from the explosion.

    That was the day I realized dogs had more value in this country than humans and the Leonard Little, Donte Stallworth, and Michael Vick stories of the world have made further proof.
    I think you're talking about apples and oranges though aren't you? I mean Donte Stallworth did something he shouldn't have and it led to someone's death. Obviously had he been thinking it would have led to someone's death he wouldn't have done it.

    Leonard Little is an interesting case just because he seemingly shows no remorse and has in fact gotten an additional DUI in the time since.

    But it's not like they were torturing humans. I think it's torture vs. accidents that are the comparison here.

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    Every psychological profile about serial killers and sociopaths says that an early indication of this future behavior is the abuse or torture of animals.

    The people that turn this into a "people care more about dogs than people" argument simply aren't paying attention to the discussion.

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    But Vick hasn't taken the next step to that, I can only judge him for what he has done. What he has done, currently, is not on the same level as a rapist or serial killer.

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    1st pick 2022 B.B. draft George Foster's Avatar
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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    I find this whole Vick story amazing...I really do. I guy gets drunk and kills another person...not a dog...but a human and he gets 30 days in jail. Vick kills some dogs and he loses EVERYTHING and maybe a career. Does anybody find this totally messed up. I mean really.

    We kill hundreds of thousands of cows, chickens, and pigs everyday in this country for food and clothing. This does not take into account hunters that hunt for sport and trophies.

    I want to say right off the bat, I'm a meat eater and I don't mind hunting as long as you eat what you kill. Can someone explain to me, the difference between a guy that hunts, mounts a grizzly bear and what Vick did? They both killed an animal for sport...right??? with a gun....right??? Why is a pit bull dog so much more valuable than a grizzly bear, or a wild turkey that you mount?

    One guy gets a trophy and a pat on the back from his buddies and the other loses millions of dollars, 2 years of his life, and a career. This is one screwed up country.
    Not this year...maybe a Wild Card

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by George Foster View Post
    I find this whole Vick story amazing...I really do. I guy gets drunk and kills another person...not a dog...but a human and he gets 30 days in jail. Vick kills some dogs and he loses EVERYTHING and maybe a career. Does anybody find this totally messed up. I mean really.

    We kill hundreds of thousands of cows, chickens, and pigs everyday in this country for food and clothing. This does not take into account hunters that hunt for sport and trophies.

    I want to say right off the bat, I'm a meat eater and I don't mind hunting as long as you eat what you kill. Can someone explain to me, the difference between a guy that hunts, mounts a grizzly bear and what Vick did? They both killed an animal for sport...right??? with a gun....right??? Why is a pit bull dog so much more valuable than a grizzly bear, or a wild turkey that you mount?

    One guy gets a trophy and a pat on the back from his buddies and the other loses millions of dollars, 2 years of his life, and a career. This is one screwed up country.
    Man, you did not read my post or the details of the Vick case, did you? If so, I'm not sure how you could come to that conclusion.

    You do understand that Vick participated not only in all aspects of dogfighting (including cruelty, money laundering, gambling, etc.) but that he was also directly involved with the ritualistic torture of injured dogs or dogs that failed to perform.

    No one is saying that a dog's life is more valuable than a human life. What we're talking about here is morality, motivation....looking inside people and what they are capable of doing.

    I'm not a fan of sport hunting one bit....but I do believe there is a huge difference between shooting an animal dead and slowly torturing it until it dies.

    And while I do eat beef, I'd be appalled if I found out a meat packing plant was drowning the cows or beating them against the ground until they died.

    The difference between Stallworth and Vick is premeditation and intent. I believe drunk drivers that kill people should be deal with harshly in regards to the legal system; but from a moral standpoint, I can understand that mistake much more than someone who engages in acts of torture for their own pleasure.

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by Edskin View Post
    The people that turn this into a "people care more about dogs than people" argument simply aren't paying attention to the discussion.
    Especially when you consider that if Vick had done to people what he did to those dogs, he'd be executed as one of the most brutal multiple-murderers in history.

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by MJA View Post
    Also, to put Vick on the same morality level as pedophiles and rapists is borderline nuts. Its inconceivable to put someone killing dogs over someone who rapes human beings, the comparison isn't even close. Its another part of our society that is out of whack, if Vick was killing chickens no one would care; chickens are tasty! However, he killed fido and that was a big no-no and he paid the price for it.
    No offense, but I think this type of thinking is really out of whack.

    Chickens are born, raised, and killed for human consumption. How can anyone compare that to picking up a badly wounded dog and trying to kill it by throwing it up against a wall? Someone like Vick who was that involved in dog fighting, was in it for the blood sport and the violence of it.....not to feed him and his family.

    Personally, I think Vick does deserve a second chance because that's how our society works. But at the same time, I hope no NFL team gives him that chance, the same way I feel about Stallworth, Pacman, etc. I'd highly doubt that I'd be able to walk back into my job if I had committed similar acts.

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    I have no problem with Vick being allowed back in the NFL...he did his time according to the law.

    However, why is somebody like Odell Thurman still suspended? The question is more about principle than football.

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    Re: Vick: Legality, Morality, Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    No offense, but I think this type of thinking is really out of whack.
    Plus, people that make this argument act like all he did was kill one dog, not torture then kill the 25-30 or so that he actually did (while laughing in the background).

    If Vick had raped 25-30 women/children, or a more direct comparison, tortured and killed 25-30 people, does anybody think we'd be having a discussion about him getting re-instated into the NFL?


    No.

    Nobody is even remotely making the argument that a dog's life is worth as much as a persons, but Vick apologists have to resort to such strawmen to distract you from the brutality of what actually happened.


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