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Is it ok to root for Michael Vick?
October 1, 2010 5:40 PM   Subscribe

The moral ambiguity of redemption:Is the resurgence of Michael Vick the feel good story of the young 2010 NFL season? Or is that just crazy talk?
posted by The Gooch (135 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Actually, the feel-good story is that most of the rescued dogs dogs turned out OK, thanks in part to a large sum set aside to rehabilitate them as part of Vick's plea agreement.
posted by demiurge at 5:49 PM on October 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


The feel good story will be when this culture stops glorifying scum like Vick....
posted by HuronBob at 5:52 PM on October 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


Is it ok to root for Michael Vick?

No.
posted by mintcake! at 5:54 PM on October 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, Michael Vick is still a turd.

But he is my starting QB for Fantasy Football, so where are my morals?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 5:57 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


...thanks in part to a large sum set aside to rehabilitate them as part of Vick's plea agreement.

He's a hero, too?
posted by clarknova at 5:59 PM on October 1, 2010


All talk about football is, by definition, crazy talk.
posted by The World Famous at 6:01 PM on October 1, 2010


(American football, that is. Talk about soccer is not crazy.)
posted by The World Famous at 6:02 PM on October 1, 2010


I have a lot of trouble with this. I believe in redemption, but I'm not actually sure Vick is truly sorry about what he did, and that's what it's all about if people are going to reclaim their souls.

This seems as obvious to me as to Bill Simmons' wife, but for those who don't love animals as she and I do . . .

Would you want to root for Vick if he had helped conduct the torture of Guantanamo Bay prisoners?

How about if he'd sexually abused children entrusted to his care?

What if he'd maimed a domestic partner? Or more than one?

What Vick did was fundamentally wrong and cruel. That doesn't mean I want him jailed forever, or to experience what his dogs did, or even to be a perpetual societal outcast. But he'd have to demonstrate a hell of a lot of remorse and regret and sorrow about his behavior before I was the least bit interested in rooting for him. And I haven't seen anything like that from him.
posted by bearwife at 6:04 PM on October 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


No. Fuck Vick.

I don't believe in hell, but I wouldn't mind it existed just for him.
posted by omegar at 6:07 PM on October 1, 2010


And I haven't seen anything like that from him.

He has done everything a criminal can reasonably do to prove rehabilitation. It's fine if you don't wanna buy it but don't pretend like there is some standard that would convince you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:09 PM on October 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


The "feel good story" link is an overly long article in which an ESPN writer tries to justify his lust for Vick.... and fails....
posted by HuronBob at 6:10 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe in justice. Inherent in justice is redemption - that someone can pay their debt to society, reform themselves, and then rejoin society as a law-abiding and productive citizen.

Vick, as an example of a man who did wrong, was prosecuted and punished for it, and chose to be changed for the better by the experience, is a far better example for those following sports than as an eternal scapegoat. There are tons of eternal scapegoats in sports, men who will never be redeemed - this is damaging to society. Michael Vick, who had everything, lost it all through cruel, callous hubris, and then had to earn his way back in after years paying for his crimes - that's a story I can get behind. Because you should be able to earn your way back into society if you commit a crime... because you must earn your way back into society.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:12 PM on October 1, 2010 [27 favorites]


A dog would forgive him but I never will.
posted by jamaro at 6:12 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't see Vick as a "criminal"... my disgust has nothing to do with any "laws" he broke. His actions were an indication of his character. His "character" lies someplace in the gutter with the dogs he killed. You don't "rehabilitate" character, it is who you are, Vick's character hasn't changed, he just got a better agent and PR firm.
posted by HuronBob at 6:14 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]



I don't see Vick as a "criminal"... my disgust has nothing to do with any "laws" he broke. His actions were an indication of his character. His "character" lies someplace in the gutter with the dogs he killed. You don't "rehabilitate" character, it is who you are, Vick's character hasn't changed, he just got a better agent and PR firm.


Mind reader, eh?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:16 PM on October 1, 2010


"Justice" for Vick would have involved a lot more blood, pain, and the ensuing results of those injuries... A couple of years in jail and a big football contract isn't "Justice"

I'm clicking out of here, my blood pressure doesn't need this! ya'll have fun!
posted by HuronBob at 6:16 PM on October 1, 2010


Eye for an eye, whole world blind, etc.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:18 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


People aren't all bad or all good. Each and every one of the species does some things well, and other things poorly. Michael Vick, apparently, is good at playing football, and abysmal at caring for dogs. One does not change the other.

I mean, really, didn't Charles Barkley say what needed to be said about athletes and role models? Appreciate the man's athletic abilities if you want, but don't pretend it means anything more than that.
posted by browse at 6:18 PM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


So does this mean everyone who is forcefully imprisoned, slides a little money the prosecutor's way to get his sentence reduced, and then fulfills some token community service so that he is not forcefully imprisoned once again is by nature rehabilitated? Congrats, US prison system, you have a 100% success rate!

All snark aside, I think what people who are skeptical are looking for is some show of remorse that is not court ordered or obligatory from a PR standpoint.
posted by squeakyfromme at 6:20 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Michael Vick can't redeem himself. You can't redeem yourself if you deliberately commit an atrocity. After you demonstrate that sort of monumental indifference to suffering, everyone else is justified in assuming that every future good act is a cynical attempt to manipulate.

I wish Michael Vick dead.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:21 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mind reader, eh?

Ah, so if one is doing the Good Christian Thing and forgiving him it's ok to give him the benefit of the doubt based on court ordered actions that he realistically couldn't have gotten out, but if one retains some doubt that means they profess to be a mind reader, eh?

Just so I got it straight.
posted by squeakyfromme at 6:23 PM on October 1, 2010


How much responsibility has he really taken since he pled guilty and was sentenced, other than reciting that he feels remorse?

As Wikipedia accurately reports, Here's what happened re his plea:

A significant portion of the [2007] plea agreement involved Vick cooperating with federal authorities pursuing other dog fighting cases and a complete allocution on his role in the Bad Newz Kennels, including detailing his role in the killing of dogs after the fights. The allocution proved to be a "sticking point," as both federal prosecutors and FBI agents reported that Vick was giving contradictory statements about how dogs were killed, what his role in the killings were, how many dogs were killed, and other details. According to reporters who spoke to Hudson after the sentencing, Vick's pre-sentencing behavior, especially during an FBI polygraph administered in October 2007 which showed that Vick was being deceptive when asked direct questions about killing dogs, was a factor in selecting the length of the sentence.

And re his sentencing:

On December 10, Vick appeared in U.S. District Court in Richmond for sentencing. Judge Hudson said he was "convinced that it was not a momentary lack of judgment" on Vick's part, and that Vick was a "full partner" in the dog fighting ring, and he was sentenced to serve 23 months in federal prison. Hudson noted that, despite Vick's claims that he accepted responsibility for his actions, his failure to cooperate fully with federal officials, coupled with a failed drug test and a failed polygraph, showed that Vick had not accepted full responsibility for "promoting, funding and facilitating this cruel and inhumane sporting activity".

What Vick did was dreadful. He needs to talk about that, in some detail, completely, truthfully, and with understanding of the wrongfulness. And yes, if he does that, it will in fact be enough for me.
posted by bearwife at 6:24 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have been known to utter things like, "Dog Killer" or "Good scramble, Dog Killer" or "Look out, Dog Killer, it's a cornerback blitz!" when watching Michael Vick play football. But my heart's not really in it.

He went to jail for his crimes, and he was forced to pay for the rehabilitation of his surviving victims, and he had to give up his fat football contract and he missed several of his most productive and valuable football playing years. I don't know if his experience has changed him or rehabilitated him. I hope it has, and so I'm willing to dial back the hate and let him get on with his life and maybe demonstrate that he's a better man than he was.

Unless he throws too many picks. "Goddamit, Dog Killer, never throw into double coverage."
posted by notyou at 6:25 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow... I would hate to have some of you on a jury. It's weird how compassion goes out the window when your (ahem) pet issue is involved. I agree with Simmons. Here's the part I like from the editorial:
Fair enough. But I believe in second chances for anyone who screwed up because they were immature, came from a poor background or were surrounded by unseemly influences ... as long as that person makes amends.
Vick paid his debt to society. It's impossible to truly know if he is truly repetent, but I don't think that wishing him dead is really warranted. He's a man and he's a football player. He's a deeply flawed man, and an excellent football player. He isn't a hero or a monster, just some guy that's really, really good at his job.
posted by codacorolla at 6:25 PM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


So does this mean everyone who is forcefully imprisoned, slides a little money the prosecutor's way to get his sentence reduced,

He pled guilty and went to jail as part of a plea agreement, where are you pulling money to the prosecutors from?


and then fulfills some token community service so that he is not forcefully imprisoned once again is by nature rehabilitated?

All snark aside, I think what people who are skeptical are looking for is some show of remorse that is not court ordered or obligatory from a PR standpoint.


He has done community service beyond the legal requirements. Sure, could all be PR, but you assume that is all it is and he is really a bad guy underneath because of the nature of his crimes and who he is, not based on any objective evidence. You can't read his mind, I can't read his mind, but he has done all the right things.

I mean what do you want him to do? Hold a press conference and cry for you? Would you buy it?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:26 PM on October 1, 2010



I wish Michael Vick dead.


I'm getting the strong impression that no one would buy it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:28 PM on October 1, 2010


I wish Michael Vick dead.

Well, some time in prison followed by a career of repeated weekly concussions and then a lifetime of living with a traumatic brain injury isn't quite as bad as death, but at least it's something, right?
posted by The World Famous at 6:33 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hate dogs, so I'm surprisingly onside with this. Yay dog killer.
posted by Keith Talent at 6:33 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't buy it.
posted by morganannie at 6:34 PM on October 1, 2010


I think bearwife hits on why it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for Vick to be "redeemed". The comparisons to sexual abuse, cruel, domestic violence, torture of prisoners..all these comparisons bespeak a certain sociopathy that people assume must be part of Vick's psyche in order to be so so cruel to dogs. I must specify dogs, because of course people do far more cruel things to far animals and other "non-pets" every single day as a matter of course. But dogs trust us, we've domesticated them, bred them to obey and love us, and for Vick to betray that in such a cruel manner makes his character eternally suspect.

I never liked Vick before he was an Eagle because he seemed thuggish and immature. He is certainly calmer and more mature than he was before he went to prison. That's not the same as remorse, but I haven't paid enough attention to anything he has done or said to know if he is remorseful.

I will offer this: the attitude that the majority of people in America have about dogs and cats is not shared by everyone. There are cultures where they are not seen as part of the family and their purpose is closer to that of a farm animal, what you can get out of them: cats for mousing, and dogs for what you can get out of them. That can be protection of property or for members of the underclass, it can be money and prestige from fighting them. I think the prestige is probably even more important, as hypothesized in this article.

There were a ton of articles outlining the history, prevalence, and culture of dog fighting that came out around the time Vick was arrested and tried. I think there is a clear cultural issue that should inform discussion. Dogfighting is wrong and extremely harmful to the animals involved, no question about it. I just can't get behind any wholesale condemnation of the people who fight dogs as irredeemable, not without accounting for cultural differences. I am not a cultural relativist. Dogfighting as a behavior is an evil thing no matter what the culture, but I don't know if you can say the same about all of the participants.

If Vick has renounced his thuggish mentality, then he very well may feel differently about dogfighting as well and may feel bad about it. It's an activity very tied up in thug culture. It's also possible that he's an uncaring person and dogfighting was just his cruelty of choice. I don't know. I do think this issue a lot more nuanced than just "dogfighter = evil person".
posted by Danila at 6:37 PM on October 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


I mean what do you want him to do? Hold a press conference and cry for you? Would you buy it?

I wouldn't, but I've always thought he was a scumbag. Much like Pete Rose (my childhood hero) he got caught, paid the penalty, and is probably still the same flawed human being he was before his life fell apart. Still doesn't stop me from being blown away by his incredible athleticism.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 6:37 PM on October 1, 2010


I have no love for this prick, but threads involving Micheal Vick seem to arouse mor venom than those involving terrorist or serial killers, which is fucking weird.
posted by jonmc at 6:45 PM on October 1, 2010 [25 favorites]


Michael Vick can't redeem himself. You can't redeem yourself if you deliberately commit an atrocity. After you demonstrate that sort of monumental indifference to suffering, everyone else is justified in assuming that every future good act is a cynical attempt to manipulate.

I wish Michael Vick dead.


The fact that so many people think nonsense like this makes me sad. If you're that closed off to the idea that people can change and redeem themselves, it makes me wonder if you've ever actually met a real human being. The size of the flaws may differ, but the process is the same. I guess believing in the ability of people to redeem themselves is not as satisfying as embracing violent hatred
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:50 PM on October 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


drawing in dirt with finger...
posted by jcworth at 6:55 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


No love, but compassion. What is the standard of redemption here? I'm not saying Vick has met that standard, but we have one, right?
posted by yesster at 6:56 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]



I have no love for this prick, but threads involving Micheal Vick seem to arouse mor venom than those involving terrorist or serial killers, which is fucking weird.


Well, Osama and Manson aren't getting $5 million to work for an American company this year in a highly public fashion in a job that people love to consider heroic.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:57 PM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think it's OK to forgive, or at least grudgingly admit that Vick has the right to prove himself. But that doesn't mean one should forget. His image is basically tarnished forever, and he deserves it. But he also deserves a chance to live his life and run his career.

I suggest watching with a sense of complete detachment, with moral value assigned to neither his victories nor his defeats.
posted by HostBryan at 6:58 PM on October 1, 2010


Don't forget about the dogs. Many died. Purportedly at Vick's hands.

Burned.

Drowned.

Hanged.

Beaten.

Don't forget about the dogs.
posted by morganannie at 7:02 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Beh.

I love my dogs. I'm disgusted with what he did. I think justice was served when he went to jail, and lost his job, and all his endorsements. I was happy this happened. I cheered for it to happen.

So, obviously, in the construct of our societal justice system he has done his time, and paid for his crime. I guess it's up to each of us individually to figure out what this all means for us personally. Some of you who say things like you wish he was dead - that's.. that's pretty astounding to me. Metafilter can be so funny - we, en masse, condemn war and social injustice and, by and large, follow certain "progressive" ideologies - but then something like this comes along every couple of months and everyone bares their teeth. So be it.

I dunno what I think. I don't feel a visceral reaction of hate anymore, but I don't want to give the guy a hug either.
posted by kbanas at 7:02 PM on October 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


He has done everything a criminal can reasonably do to prove rehabilitation.

Maybe. It's difficult to know what that threshold for contrition is, let alone whether someone has crossed it. In any case, his sanctioned return to the NFL is less about rehabilitation than making money for the owners.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:03 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyone who would do what this person did to animals is hooked up wrong. While it's true that in most cases this might not be their fault, the fact remains that they are now defective. The only reason his specific example is receiving this kind of attention is because of the huge sums of money involved, and the human penchant for spectacle, whatever the moral cost. It's a failing of human beings and their social constructs generally, and all the hand-wringing about redemption won't ever change this, all wishful thinking aside.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:03 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you're that closed off to the idea that people can change and redeem themselves, it makes me wonder if you've ever actually met a real human being. The size of the flaws may differ, but the process is the same. I guess believing in the ability of people to redeem themselves is not as satisfying as embracing violent hatred

So how many two-point conversions would, say, Richard Speck have needed to be an okay guy again?
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:05 PM on October 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


In any case, his sanctioned return to the NFL is less about rehabilitation than making money for the owners.

I don't know, every owner but one considered him radioactive, and a lot of people think that Andy Reid was the decision maker there not Jeffrey Lurie. Reid's kids have been in a lot of trouble and Reid wanted to prove something about second chances, that is one theory anyway.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:07 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow... I would hate to have some of you on a jury.

Yes...if you are on trial for training dogs to fight to the death, you definitely do not want me on your jury.
posted by the bricabrac man at 7:09 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]



So how many two-point conversions would, say, Richard Speck have needed to be an okay guy again?


How about Donte Stallworth?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:11 PM on October 1, 2010


[few comments removed -- that wishing death/suicide on to people? We don't do that. MetaTalk is your option.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:15 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


where are you pulling money to the prosecutors from?

From Wiki (and also referenced earlier in the thread):

"At the request of federal authorities before sentencing, Vick agreed to deposit nearly $1 million in an escrow account with attorneys for use to reimburse costs of caring for the confiscated dogs, most of which were being offered for adoption on a selective basis under supervision of a court-appointed specialist. Experts said some of the animals will require individual care for the rest of their lives.[58] During his bankruptcy trial, the U.S. Department of Labor complained that these funds were paid at least partially with unlawfully withdrawn monies which Vick held in trust for himself and eight other employees of MV7, a celebrity marketing company he owns."

Sure, could all be PR, but you assume that is all it is and he is really a bad guy underneath

Yeah, and you assume because he's followed some pre-scripted legal path and jumped through the obligatory PR hoops that he's rehabilitated, so you don't get to call other people mind readers just because you consider yourself having the moral high ground. You're making plenty of assumptions there yourself.

I mean what do you want him to do? Hold a press conference and cry for you? Would you buy it?

Are you serious? Terrell Owens cried in a press conference defending criticism of his qb at the time, does that make him a selfless team player all of a sudden?

Look, we're not talking about whether the guy should have gotten out of jail or not, this thread is about how appropriate it is to actively root for the guy while he's playing football. In that regard I don't see how it could be considered excessively cruel to withhold empathy indefinitely.

But that said he could go a long way toward re-establishing some fan empathy if he invited 60 Minutes into his home, answered probing questions and managed to come off looking honest in the process. What he's done so far has been to just lay low and hope the whole thing is forgotten. Yeah, sorry, that's not good enough for me, especially considering he's had a number of legal and character issues over the years that had nothing to do with dogfighting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_vick#Incidents.2C_criminal_troubles
posted by squeakyfromme at 7:27 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love dogs and I despise what Michael Vick did. I don't think that wishing him (or anyone else, for that matter) dead is a particularly constructive expenditure of thought. Whether it's his PR hacks guding him or not, I hope his contrition is sincere, but I don't think there's much to be done if it's not. It is what it is. There are worse things in the world than Vick having a resurgence. I think Bill Simmons makes some provocative and worthwhile points.
posted by blucevalo at 7:28 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't care. Really. I'm over here. Michael Vick is over there. Maybe he's a bad person, maybe he isn't. Whatever.
posted by nomadicink at 7:31 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do think this issue a lot more nuanced than just "dogfighter = evil person".

"There, but for the grace of God, go I."

I'd like to think I'd never do something like that. But, I've been tremendously privileged with an upbringing that instilled certain morals in me. I don't know Vick's background, so I'm not going to judge--but he's a product of his environment just like the rest of us.

Aside from his background, I'm also struck by how we as a community expect people we dislike to reform. The majority of people posting here seem fairly well-educated, articulate--and here's the biggie--fairly self-aware, the result of some degree of self-reflection.

It seems to me that there are a large number of people who simply don't question if what they are doing is wrong, because they've always done it that way. Vick's college-educated, articulate enough to talk to the media, but perhaps his background is such that self-reflection isn't something that comes as naturally to him. Once in prison, though, there was undoubtedly plenty of opportunity for reflection.

I am probably trying to explain this too much, but that seems to be a fairly universal response to tragedy: to ask, "Why?"
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:32 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


32 billionaires earn profits off the torture of their 56 man squads on the gridiron every week while most of America gambles away their money and cheers it on. The players end up washed up after 3.5 seasons often suffering from multiple permanant physical disabilities and cognitive issues resulting from concussion induced CTE. A whole bunch of college and high school atheletes get busted up along the way to filling each teams' roster. The players have contracts which restrict their earnings, and ability to play for a team of their choosing, but those contracts contain virtually no gaurantees for the player. They can be cut at any time and earn nothing on the back end. Just to add to the spectical we objectify a few women on the sidelines during fequent stoppages in play to cart broken players away. These cheerleaders keep the crowds cheering on the violence and carnage. The same justice department that wrote memos justifying waterboarding and indefinite detention at Gitmo lead the prosecution. Vick did his time for he dogfights. What about those billionaire team owners, the college that used his family to make millions and the lawyers at Justice, have they done their time or said their appologies? What about those who cheered on the blood sport screaming for Vick and his fellow players to be crushed by 300 pound men? Do you feel better having punished your scape goat and having let him redeem himself by going back to be tortured for you on television each Sunday?
posted by humanfont at 7:35 PM on October 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


I will offer this: the attitude that the majority of people in America have about dogs and cats is not shared by everyone. There are cultures where they are not seen as part of the family and their purpose is closer to that of a farm animal, what you can get out of them: cats for mousing, and dogs for what you can get out of them. That can be protection of property or for members of the underclass, it can be money and prestige from fighting them.

This. This is important.

There are other animals that we are generally a LOT more okay with going through intense suffering and death. But we "love" dogs (and cats) so we attribute "atrocity" to the people who violate the animals that we love, but not to people who inflict the same on animals we don't. Of course, I'm talking about factory farms and the treatment of cows and pigs and so forth.

And PLEASE, before you start telling me how different the two are, spare me. Because what outrages you about what Vick did was the suffering he inflicted...not the lack of utility of it.

Do I feel more rage for someone who abuses cats than cows? OH HELL YES. But that only makes MORE reluctant to condemn someone like Vick because I'm not convinced my attitude is anything but culturally-conditioned hypocrisy.
posted by mreleganza at 7:35 PM on October 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


Vick is a repulsive human being. There is a spectrum of criminal, from those who act out of poverty or desperation to those who commit cruel and sociopathic acts. Vick is pretty far to the latter side of the spectrum. I believe in forgiveness, but I think some acts--torture, rape, premeditated cruelty--reflect such a serious defect in character that I do doubt if forgiveness should be available to them. He, and vile human beings like him, should be allowed to serve his time and then eke out a marginal living. It's fucking sick that he's back in the NFL.
posted by Mavri at 7:39 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


humanfont, would you support outlawing American football?
posted by mreleganza at 7:39 PM on October 1, 2010


The players have contracts which restrict their earnings, and ability to play for a team of their choosing, but those contracts contain virtually no gaurantees for the player.

Yea, those poor, poor football players. I feel so bad for them. I'm sure they've all been forced into signing multi-million dollar contracts. Poor guys.

I've heard this argument before. It's ridiculous.

Those dogs had NO choice in the matter. Equating them with "innocent" football players is ridiculous.
posted by morganannie at 7:41 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


tortured for you on television each Sunday?

Do you even know the ways he tortured those dogs?
posted by morganannie at 7:45 PM on October 1, 2010


In what way is being good at football a redemption? He's always been good at football.
posted by empath at 7:47 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Michael Vick, who had everything, lost it all through cruel, callous hubris, and then had to earn his way back in after years paying for his crimes - that's a story I can get behind.

Here's why that doesn't work for normal people. He paid for his crimes for years...and then went right back to making millions. It'd be one thing if he rebuilt a business, worked hard to regain the trust of his customers...but instead he was snatched up by an industry that is known for throwing millions of dollars at people who constantly ignore the law.

I hate competitive sports. People become blind to reality simply because they want their team to win.
posted by toekneebullard at 7:48 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't know, every owner but one considered him radioactive, and a lot of people think that Andy Reid was the decision maker there not Jeffrey Lurie. Reid's kids have been in a lot of trouble and Reid wanted to prove something about second chances, that is one theory anyway.

I'm cynical enough about Philadelphia, having lived there 14 years, and about pro sports and Philly sports fans to guess that it was ultimately about getting someone on the cheap, and the team and Iggles fans are lucking out that he's playing well.

The narrative here is about how playing well absolves him of past transgressions. No one would be rhetorically asking if it's okay to root for Vick if he was playing poorly. If it was about forgiveness, the question would be is it okay to root for him regardless of how he's playing.

It's almost like fans are too scared and need the go-ahead from others on this one. You shouldn't need permission to root for the guy: if you want to root for someone recently convicted for torturing and killing dogs for sport, go ahead. This is America.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:49 PM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


But that said he could go a long way toward re-establishing some fan empathy if he invited 60 Minutes into his home, answered probing questions and managed to come off looking honest in the process.

60 Minutes interview, August 2009:
"Who do you blame for all of this?" Brown asked.
"I blame me," Vick replied.
...
"In any way, for those who may say it showed a lack of moral character because you didn't stop it, you agree or disagree?" Brown asked.
"I agree," Vick said.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:56 PM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


I believe in forgiveness, but I think some acts--torture, rape, premeditated cruelty--reflect such a serious defect in character that I do doubt if forgiveness should be available to them.

I don't entirely agree that it should never be available to them, but it should definitely factor into the difficulty of attaining forgiveness, I think. Just because he did his time - as if he had a choice in the matter - doesn't mean his crime should be treated with the same levity as someone who did six months for stealing a purse.

Again, I don't think the guy should rot in jail forever, but it's a worthy question whether he would still have a football career, particularly in an image-conscious league that suspends players at the drop of a hat even after the charges are dropped, if he wasn't considered the kind of talent that could put butts in seats. And considering how many fans were vehemently stating four years ago that he should never be allowed to play again, it's amazing how many people have suddenly gotten on board now that he's become exciting once more. Perhaps the more interesting question is not whether Vick is rehabilitated, but rather to what extent the average American's morality is wrapped up completely in self interest?
posted by squeakyfromme at 7:56 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


"to what extent the average American's morality is wrapped up completely in self interest?"

This!
posted by HuronBob at 7:59 PM on October 1, 2010


60 Minutes interview, August 2009:
"Who do you blame for all of this?" Brown asked.
"I blame me," Vick replied.
...
"In any way, for those who may say it showed a lack of moral character because you didn't stop it, you agree or disagree?" Brown asked.
"I agree," Vick said.


Admittedly I was not aware he actually DID do a 60 Minutes interview, but frankly if this is as heartrending as it gets I'm all the more that he's just saying what he thinks people need to hear to sign off on his paychecks. Two and three word responses to questions where the "correct" answer would have been obvious to a five year old are not convincing to me. I must be a cynical bastard, then.
posted by squeakyfromme at 8:03 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe in forgiveness, but I think some acts--torture, rape, premeditated cruelty--reflect such a serious defect in character that I do doubt if forgiveness should be available to them. He, and vile human beings like him, should be allowed to serve his time and then eke out a marginal living.

By some standards, forcing a group of people to slog through a lifetime of backbreaking labor (or whatever else you mean by "eke out a marginal living") would itself be considered torture. If you honestly believe that someone like Vick is totally irredeemable and shouldn't be allowed the basic rights of the rest of humanity, at least go all the way and execute him rather than forcing him to suffer through a lifetime of ceaseless suffering.
posted by Copronymus at 8:05 PM on October 1, 2010


Vicks treatment of dogs, in our 21st century society is quite different than the years right after the gold rush started in california, the first 6 governors were agents promoting bear fights, bears versus bulls fight, always to the death of one animal or the other. this was considered great entertainment during these years. the promotors were considered heros to ther masses who paid to watch this entertainment.
posted by tustinrick at 8:05 PM on October 1, 2010


So how many two-point conversions would, say, Richard Speck have needed to be an okay guy again?

Right, because I clearly said that we should forgive Vick because he's good as football. All Michael Vick, Richard Speck, or anyone else that's done something horrible CAN do is recognize that what they've done is wrong, ask for forgiveness, and try to minimize the harm or suffering that they caused. If they do that, or seem like they're on that path, then they've done enough for me because that's all they can do. If you really believe that people who commit acts like that CAN'T change, then let's lock them up forever. If you think they can change, you've got to give them a chance to do that.

Here's why that doesn't work for normal people. He paid for his crimes for years...and then went right back to making millions. It'd be one thing if he rebuilt a business, worked hard to regain the trust of his customers...but instead he was snatched up by an industry that is known for throwing millions of dollars at people who constantly ignore the law.

Actually, I find the fact that's he back to being a NFL caliber quarterback to be one of the more amazing parts of the story. Being good enough at football to play in the NFL is damn near impossible and requires an immense amount of work. Keeping up that level of performance despite being in prison for more than a year is even more impressive and speaks to a fair bit of work on Vick's part.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:09 PM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I would not be surprised to see Michael Vick suffer some sort of awful knee injury on Oct 17, when the Eagles play the Falcons. And I can't say I'd be entirely displeased, either.

Vick, like every felon who's served his sentence and paid his fines and restitution, is a free man. I don't have to like it, and I'm not gonna root for him.

But I'm glad that a person who did a terrible thing gets a second chance. Because we are all capable of terrible things. And we should all have a shot at redemption, even those some say are irredeemable.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:14 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jesus, if Mike Tyson can "come back" after being convicted of rape, who gives a shit about a football player who killed a few dogs?
posted by Nelson at 8:16 PM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


One of the long term repercussions of committing a crime in any society is that a certain portion of the population will not forgive you for it even if you pay for that crime through legally sanctioned channels. Indeed, a certain segment will not forgive you for it even if you are tortured, abused or killed illegally. A certain segment will not forgive you after you are dead or for the rest of their lives.

Quite simply, they will be unable to forgive you no matter what.

This is human. It isn't their job to let go of their hate (even if, as some would argue, that hate is ultimately more destructive to the person doing the hating than the person being hated) just because you've changed. I mean, some people will never be able to forgive the late Ted Kennedy for Chappaquiddick. Why should they? For some people, the crime you commit will permanently make them despise you. That's reality and some folks in this thread quite justifiably will never stop hating Michael Vick.

In fact, this should be an enormous deterrent to crime. You don't get forgiven by everyone just because you did your time. Serving your sentence won't mean that you've paid your debt to society - it just means you're somewhat clear legally. Of course, people still do all manner of horrible things and don't seem to recognize (or seem to care) that those horrible things carry much more terrible weights than prison sentences.

On the other hand, committing most crimes shouldn't preclude you from returning to your former career (though it may well prevent you from returning to it) if you are still able to do the job.

Personally, I don't believe anyone is a better or worse person for how they feel about Michael Vick or his current success as a QB. I tend to fall into the "he was sort of a monster, but he's also paid his debt" camp.

I do believe that every stadium should blast "Who Let The Dogs Out" when he comes onto the field.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:17 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was a Mike Vick hater. I'm a Falcon's fan and I hated him when he played for them. I hated the smug look on his face. I hated the fact that you could almost tell by the way he played that he had an "I'm Mike Vick!" attitude and it annoyed me. He seemed to go out of his way to cultivate a street-tough thug image. I wasn't surprised in the least to find out he was criminally involved in dog fighting. There had been scandalous rumors for years before hand.

Even given all that though, I'm inclined to believe him when he says he's learned his lesson. His interview with his coach at the time the dog fighting scandal broke, Jim Mora, is to be aired in full Sunday on the NFL Network's Game Day Morning show. In it, one of the things he says is that the best thing that ever happened to him was getting sent to prison. On national television for all to see he comes clean with the man he lied to week after week. To all appearances, he actually rehabilitated himself in prison.

Furthermore, one can't discount the influence of former Colts coach Tony Dungy, who has mentored Vick extentsively. Here's what he had to say about this subject last year in Sports Illustrated:
I firmly believe Michael deserves a second chance in life. I understand how appalling dog fighting is, and in no way do I condone it. But he was given a punishment that the court deemed appropriate, and now he exits prison having paid for that crime. It's time to let him bounce back after that loss. If we are willing to forgive Michael and take an honest look at the person who is leaving that prison, we might be surprised at what we see. We might see a man who says "I'm sorry" with his actions and not just his words. We might see a man who wants to get back to his three children and stop the cycle of young people growing up without a father to help them.

Least important, we might see him play football again. I'm not sure of the Michael Vick we would see on the field, but I believe we would see a very different person off the field. That's what would be exciting to me.
I think you can see the difference, and interestingly I think one of the ways it's most obvious is in the way Vick plays football. He's just as athletic and able to take what would be a sack and turn it into a first down as he ever was. I think what you see is his willingness to be a real team player and not try and make every game the Mike Vick Show like he used to. He's shown some real patience and maturity that he didn't have when he played for the Falcons.

It does show off the field, too. Vick has worked with the Humane Society to try to put a stop to dog fighting.

I can't say I'll forget what he's done. If he slips up once I have no doubt I'll go back to hating him. Even more than I used to. Back when all this happened, it wasn't surprising, just disappointing. Now, I would be surprised and therefore I'd be angry at myself for giving him a second chance. I have a feeling that won't be the way the story goes though.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:24 PM on October 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


Jesus, if Mike Tyson can "come back" after being convicted of rape, who gives a shit about a football player who killed a few dogs?

If Metafilter had been around when Tyson was making his comeback I guarantee we'd have been having this same conversation. And like Vick, Tyson was frequently vilified back in the day until he started winning fights with thrilling TKOs again, at which point many, many detractors jumped on the bandwagon again.

It's interesting you mention Tyson, though, because James Toback's documentary on the man is EXACTLY the kind of deep down soul searching that convinces me a person has changed. "Oh, I'm just so sorry I hurt my family / disappointed my fans..." just sounds like scripted bullshit to me. The same with token charity work, which nearly everyone in the NFL does whether they've been convicted of anything or not.
posted by squeakyfromme at 8:27 PM on October 1, 2010


For the record, here's Vick's salary breakdown for 2010, as reported by Chris Mortensen on espn.com:
Vick also will receive $5.25 million for the 2010 season if he remains with the Eagles, including a $1.5 million roster bonus due by March 5. Once paid, it is counted as money earned. In addition to the bonus, Vick's base salary in 2010 is $3.75 million, of which $1 million is guaranteed.
I heard Mike Golic say that after paying for his bankruptcy settlement and the restitution he still owes his net pay is supposed to be something like $300K, I can't find very many specific figures for this year, but the Wikipedia summary of his financial troubles seems to indicate the $300K figure might be plausible.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:42 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally, I don't believe anyone is a better or worse person for how they feel about Michael Vick or his current success as a QB.

You make some good points here. I think too many in this thread are cramming together legal justice and social redemption as if they're all part of the same package, when in fact they are two totally different things.

It's also worth pointing out that our individual forgiveness doesn't really translate into anything beneficial to Michael Vick one way or the other - as long as he keeps producing on the field he's going to have a job regardless of how many popularity contests he's winning - so whether one chooses to support his endeavors seems less like a moral imperative than merely a personal choice... does it really make any difference whether one roots against Michael Vick for killing dogs as opposed to rooting against him because one just hates the Eagles? At the same time, his success on the field has absolutely no correlation to his level of atonement, so cheering him on on that basis seems patently absurd.
posted by squeakyfromme at 8:43 PM on October 1, 2010


where are you pulling money to the prosecutors from?

From Wiki (and also referenced earlier in the thread):


That isn't giving money to the prosecutors. It's agreeing to pay for the care of his surviving victims as part of a comprehensive plea agreement. Plea agreements are standard stuff.

slides a little money the prosecutor's way to get his sentence reduced

Is not an accurate characterization.


Yeah, and you assume because he's followed some pre-scripted legal path and jumped through the obligatory PR hoops that he's rehabilitated, so you don't get to call other people mind readers just because you consider yourself having the moral high ground. You're making plenty of assumptions there yourself.


I have not assumed he has been rehabilitated. I've said he's done all the right things so far and there isn't much else to do, so make your own call. But if there is nothing he could do just say so.

But that said he could go a long way toward re-establishing some fan empathy if he invited 60 Minutes into his home, answered probing questions and managed to come off looking honest in the process. What he's done so far has been to just lay low and hope the whole thing is forgotten.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:52 PM on October 1, 2010


slides a little money the prosecutor's way to get his sentence reduced

Is not an accurate characterization.


Whatever. You want I should take that tongue-in-cheek part out and start the rest of my argument all over again?

I've said he's done all the right things so far and there isn't much else to do, so make your own call

You've also referred to people who refuse to give him the benefit of the doubt as "mind readers", so you haven't exactly portrayed yourself as an impartial observer.


But that said he could go a long way toward re-establishing some fan empathy if he invited 60 Minutes into his home, answered probing questions and managed to come off looking honest in the process. What he's done so far has been to just lay low and hope the whole thing is forgotten.
!]


Addressed already.
posted by squeakyfromme at 8:57 PM on October 1, 2010


Yea, those poor, poor football players. I feel so bad for them. I'm sure they've all been forced into signing multi-million dollar contracts. Poor guys.

So there were other people offering them millions of dollars to do something else with their lives given their skills and education? Tell me more how the choice works here? Are they just like the dogs with different bones being thrown to them.
posted by humanfont at 9:16 PM on October 1, 2010


Whatever. You want I should take that tongue-in-cheek part out and start the rest of my argument all over again?

Yes? That's how logic works.
posted by Cyrano at 9:22 PM on October 1, 2010


Hard to take the moral high ground in order to wish death and torture on people but go ahead. Build yourself a glass house up there. Maybe one out of mirrors would be nice.
posted by umberto at 9:41 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Would you want to root for Vick if he had helped conduct the torture of Guantanamo Bay prisoners?

How about if he'd sexually abused children entrusted to his care?

What if he'd maimed a domestic partner? Or more than one?
What about if he'd forced animals to ejaculate into receptacles in order to harvest their sperm? What if he grew pigs in confinement for their entire lives? What if he'd cut off the heads of hundreds of birds, or cut up the bodies of freshly dead cows? Or refused to treat with a bacterial infection in order to keep an Organic certification?

Pretty much of all of industrial farming (as well as lots of traditional farming) is cruel to animals.

But people flip out when the animals are cute housepets instead of farm animals.
posted by delmoi at 9:42 PM on October 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Two and three word responses to questions where the "correct" answer would have been obvious to a five year old are not convincing to me.

See, this is what I was talking about before. It's as if, in order to give him a modicum of credit, he not only has to be sorry, but he has to be eloquent. What do you want? I'm sure there's a great degree of the evident-in-politics "the less I say, the less can be used against me", but this attitude really strikes me as a bit, well, high-horsed, or something.

It's like, you can't be sorry until either overflow with emotion or wax philosophically about your state of mind at the time. Not everyone can do these well.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:01 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, and personally, I really don't know about the guy (now, I mean). Luckily I'm not the conscience police, charged with determining his degree of remorse. And, what if he doesn't show enough remorse? While he may likely be opposed to his actions now (for the sake of the dogs, even), it may be that he never has the same amount of emotion attached to the act that many/most do. Imagine a carnivore convinced that his actions were wrong. Will he ever have the same visceral reaction to killing animals as a vegetarian?

I have such a narrow window of the guy. I saw his repeated statements to the effect that he was still the backup, and 100% committed to being behind the starter, and I was impressed by that. So from that tiny bit, I have more respect for the guy than if he were to be more egocentric.

We'll see, though. That much money doesn't usually improve someone's character, sadly.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:08 PM on October 1, 2010


Hah, that's pretty hilarious. Someone castigates Vick for not doing enough public apology and wants him to go on 60 minutes, and it turns out he did that ages ago. Can't say I'm surprised. The people who hate Vick in this thread are going to hate him no matter what he does. Its not rational, its an emotion. No use pretending there's anything else to it.
posted by shen1138 at 10:14 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


If Vick were being prosecuted today instead of when he was, I wonder whether his defense would put together a montage of his 'greatest hits' for the jury, get a couple of neurologists to put on the stand, and have him plead diminished capacity.
posted by jamjam at 10:20 PM on October 1, 2010


He's cool with the law, and that's fine. He's cool with the NFL, and that's fine. There needs to be a road to redemption, after all. But he is not cool with me. Let's see some proof or a real change, and I'm perfectly willing to reconsider. Not that he cares what I think, of course. But if he spent the next couple of years cleaning kennels at the local SPCA on Tuesdays, I would definitely have to consider him earnestly repentant.
posted by Gilbert at 10:21 PM on October 1, 2010


They're only 2-1. How you can call this a comeback yet, I don't know.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:21 PM on October 1, 2010


Who gives a shit if I (or you) forgive Michael Vick? I stand by with money in pocket while kids die of starvation... Not like my forgiveness is needed or matters to Vick. OK, I am not clubbing em. I just dont care enough to act. I guess that makes me a better person.
posted by jcworth at 10:24 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google "Ron Mexico."
posted by Ironmouth at 10:28 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Oh, I'm just so sorry I hurt my family / disappointed my fans..." just sounds like scripted bullshit to me. The same with token charity work, which nearly everyone in the NFL does whether they've been convicted of anything or not.

This is a deeply interesting point to me, and I apologize in advance if this is a bit derail-ish. But, my question would be, is "token" charity work any less charity work? In other words, as long as someone genuinely benefits from whichever random NFL player takes their time, money or both to, say, help kids learn the fundamentals of a sport or how to live healthier lifestyles, does it really matter (should it really matter) what that player's motivations were? Because aren't the results the same either way?

I just get weirded out by accusations of "token" charity when, first of all, we can't really know what a stranger's motivations are for doing whatever they choose to do, and secondly, even if it's "just token," isn't it still serving the same purpose as the purest of motivations would? (Whatever that would even be).
posted by deep thought sunstar at 10:42 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Didn't Donte Stallworth kill a person and is now back playing for Baltimore? What Vick did was repulsive and inhumane, but I don't fully understand why there seems to be much more hate directed his way compared to other athlete criminals.
posted by lullaby at 11:03 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Good for Michael Vick. He paid for his crime and has come out of prison apparently reformed. What more do you want.

I remember when this whole thing went down I kept drawing parallels to Deep Play which was an essay by Clifford Geertz about Balinese cockfighting. Maybe it's just me, but I can't really get that emotional about what Vick even though my family has always had a dog.

Dog fighting isn't a pretty thing, but neither is farm practices with livestock or how many people treat their pets. Honestly I think he only should have been fined for what he did, but dogs are our pets so they get special treatment.

Also reading about his court case spending a million on dogs just seems silly to me when there are such better uses for the money. I also think dog therapists are silly too, so maybe I'm in the minority.
posted by Allan Gordon at 11:11 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


We demonize a man who knowingly tortured a few animals he owned, and yet each and every day millions of people in the USA sit down to a big ol' pile of tortured animal flesh and don't even think twice.

Whats the difference between a cow and a dog?

STOP THE HYPOCRISY. Any and all torture of animals is wrong and unjustifiable.

This guy has paid his debt to society, leave him alone. Lets stop throwing stones until our own closets are spotless.
posted by satori_movement at 11:33 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


spending a million on dogs just seems silly to me when there are such better uses for the money.

I have to agree with you there, Allan Gordon. As long as there are college students in this country who have been so poorly educated in their public schools that they couldn't write a complete sentence if you paid them, well, a million dollars, this smells a bit like misplaced priorities. (Of course, chances are the dogs can't write a complete sentence either, so...there you go, I suppose).

In fact, it seems like a gesture in which the symbolism certainly fits ("He killed dogs! Now he has to love them! Look, the punishment fits the crime!") but the actual outcome is marginally good, if even that. If you really want to build empathy for other living beings, the way to do so is not to throw a million dollars that you'll never miss anyway at animals that wouldn't know anything about a dollar except it might be edible. It's to do your own legwork, find where that million dollars would make a real and tangible benefit to people (yes, I am a species-ist), and use it wisely. I don't even blame Michael Vick for this - I would say that his publicists, legal advisers, and public has collectively (eecchh) decided that this would be the best way for him to say "I'm sorry!" Is it?
posted by deep thought sunstar at 11:36 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whats the difference between a cow and a dog?

One is a ruminant and one is not?
posted by blucevalo at 11:43 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is what we get when we set stars of sporting events as some of the highest heroes and lauded figures in our society. It isn't the first time I've had to say it, and it won't be the last: excellence in sporting doesn't make you a wonderful person, so it makes very little sense that we choose these people, in a world full of librarians, teachers, social workers, parents, etc – specifically those who are good at sports – to make wealthy, to give our highest acclaims, to see as the greatest examples of humanity. Sports isn't a terrible thing – it can even be a good thing – but ability in sport has fuck-all to do with moral acuity or greatness of soul, and it might be nice if we quit acting like it did, least of all hoping it does.

And yes: he's still quite sleazy.
posted by koeselitz at 12:10 AM on October 2, 2010


Koeselitz, I see your point and agree that the income ratio of teachers:athletes is an odd one. But - being a librarian, teacher, or parent unfortunately is not any better guarantor of moral acuity than being an athlete. Well, I guess you could argue that the person who *chooses* to be a teacher rather than a pro athlete has done so from the determination that they can help more people thereby, but it's still no guarantee. And I would also suggest that while "we" certainly do make them wealthy, we (in general) don't necessarily "see [them] as the greatest examples of humanity." I certainly don't, and yet, in all honesty, I've bought tickets to games, I've watched them on TV thus increasing ratings, etc etc. I do so not because the athletes therein are of a higher moral caliber than the rest of us, but simply (and perhaps wrongly) because it's a great time and it does me the service of diverting my energy and attention away from the day-to-day, often frustrating if not infuriating, round of work and responsibility.

Yes, it's escapism, but it's no more egregious escapism than watching a Roman Polanski movie.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 12:45 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fascinating. I find his actions pretty distasteful but then millions of animals are murdered in even more horrible ways every day. Pigs are as intelligent as dogs... if you eat meat, I can't quite see why you're getting so bent out of shape at this, you're paying for someone to do exactly that service for you.

So is this guy a bad guy? Yes - but does he compare to a Dick Cheney? Or anyone else who supported the wars? There are hundreds of thousands of humans - not dogs - murdered as a result of these wars! This guy's pathetic dog murdering organization is nasty, but small potatoes compared to the crimes of our elected officials. I see this guy having about as much bad karma from his evil acts as, say, your low-level Republican organizer or private in Iraq bears from the war. And this guy did his time - none of these criminals will see a day in jail.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:55 AM on October 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is part of an article by Gregg Easterbrook (TMQ) on ESPN in 2007. I usually can't stand him, but he has some good points here. Sorry, no link; I copied it from email.
The disgusting thing about dogfighting isn't that animals battle and die -- after all, animals fight to the death in nature, tearing each other's flesh with heartless violence. The disgusting thing about dogfighting is that supposedly intelligent members of Homo sapiens add sadism to the natural equation by starving dogs to make them extra aggressive, filing their incisors to make the fights bloodier, and engaging in other acts unbecoming any man or woman of ethics. What Michael Vick confessed to Monday ought to disgust you, regardless of whether you are a dog lover. Include me. The Official Dog of TMQ -- a Chesapeake retriever, noble state dog of Maryland -- slumbers happily near my feet as I write this.

But the punishment expected to be imposed on Vick -- one to two years in federal prison, and perhaps never playing in the NFL again -- seems out of proportion to his actions and his status as a first-time offender. The situation is confusing because the federal crimes to which Vick pleaded guilty turn as much on gambling and racketeering as dogfighting; gambling and racketeering concern federal prosecutors because of their relationship to organized crime. Racketeering can lead to jail terms even for nonviolent first-time offenders not involved with drug sales, such as Vick. The NFL, for its part, has very strong reasons to detest gambling, and elaborately warns players they will be harshly penalized for associating with gamblers. Yet I can't help feeling there is overkill in the social, media and legal reactions to Vick, and that the overkill originates in hypocrisy about animals.

Thousands of animals are mistreated or killed in the United States every day without the killers so much as being criticized, let alone imprisoned. Ranchers and farmers kill stock animals or horses that are sick or injured. Some ranchers kill stock animals as gently as possible, others callously; in either case, prosecution is nearly unheard of. As Derek Jackson pointed out last week in the Boston Globe , greyhound tracks routinely race dogs to exhaustion and injury, then kill the losers, or simply eliminate less-strong pups: "184,604 greyhound puppies judged to be inferior for racing" were killed, legally, in the past 20 years.

Hunters shoot animals for sport. They do so lawfully, while the manner in which Vick harmed his dogs was unlawful. But from the perspective of the animal, there seems little difference between a hunter with a state game license zipped in his vest pocket shooting a deer as part of something the hunter views as really fun sport, and Vick shooting a dog as part of something Vick views as really fun sport. In both cases, animals suffer for human entertainment. The animal-ethics distinction between Vick's actions and lawful game hunting are murky at best. A first-time offender should go to prison over a murky distinction?

Much more troubling is that the overwhelming majority of Americans who eat meat and poultry -- I'm enthusiastically among them -- are complicit in the systematic cruel treatment of huge numbers of animals. Snickering about this, or saying you're tired of hearing about it, doesn't make it go away. Most animals used for meat experience miserable lives under cruel conditions, including confinement for extended periods in pits of excrement. (Michael Pollan, who enthusiastically consumes meat and fowl, describes the mistreatment in his important new book The Omnivore's Dilemma.) Meat animals don't magically stop living when it's time to become a product; they suffer as they die. One of Vick's dogs was shot, another electrocuted. Gunshots and electrocution are federally approved methods of livestock slaughter, sanctioned by the Department of Agriculture for the killing of cows and pigs. Regulations under the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 give federal sanction to shooting cows or pigs, or running electrical current through their bodies. Shooting and electrocution are viewed by federal law as humane ways to kill animals that will be consumed. Federal rules also allow slaughterhouses to hit cows in the head with a fast-moving piston that stuns them into semiconsciousness before they are sliced up. Being hit in the head with a powerful piston -- does that sound a bit painful, a bit cruel? It's done to tens of thousands of steers per year, lawfully.

Don't say "eew, gross" about how meat animals are butchered, then return to denouncing Vick. If you're eating a cheeseburger or BLT or steak or pot roast today, there's a good chance you are dining on an animal that was shot or electrocuted. You are complicit. You freely bought the meat, you did not demand Congress strengthen the Humane Slaughter Act. Livestock can be calmed and drugged before being slain. A few slaughterhouses do this, but most don't because it raises costs, and you, the consumer, demand the lowest possible price for your meal. Now about your turkey sub or coq au vin. Federal slaughter regulations apply mainly to large animals, leaving considerable freedom in the killing of fowl. Many poultry slaughterhouses kill chickens by slashing their throats rather than snapping their necks. Snapping the neck kills the bird quickly, ending suffering, but then the heart dies quickly, too. Slashing the throat causes the bird to live in agony for several minutes, heart still beating and pumping blood out of the slash -- and consumers prefer bloodless chicken meat.

Further, the Humane Slaughter Act exempts kosher and halal slaughter. In both traditions, the cow or lamb must be conscious when killed by having its carotid artery, or esophagus and trachea, slashed. The animal bleeds to death, convulsing in agony, as its heart pumps blood, which is viewed as unclean, out of the slashed openings. The delicious pastrami we consumed at a kosher deli, or the wonderfully good beef we could buy at a halal butcher, comes from an animal that suffered as it died.

Yes, Vick broke the law; yes, he arrogantly lied and refused to apologize when first caught; and yes, his actions before and after the dog killings indicate he is one stupid, stupid man. But Vick's lawbreaking was relatively minor compared to animal mistreatment that happens continuously, within the law, at nearly all levels of the meat production industry, and with which all but vegetarians are complicit. There is some kind of mass neurosis at work in the rush to denounce Vick, wag fingers and say he deserved even worse. Society wants to scapegoat Vick to avoid contemplating its own routine, systematic killing of animals. We couldn't all become vegetarians tomorrow: that is not practical. But American society is not even attempting to make the handling of meat animals less brutal, let alone working to transition away from a food-production order in which huge numbers of animals are systematically mistreated, then killed in ways that inflict terror and pain. We won't lift a finger to change the way animals die for us. But we will demand Michael Vick serve prison time to atone for our sins.

Legal note: Vick might be compelled to repay the Falcons a huge amount of bonus money, and will lose $25 million or more in endorsement income. I have no sympathy for his loss of endorsement income: Vick was hired to bring Nike and other companies he endorsed good publicity, and instead brought them bad. But think about the income loss in the calculation of overpunishment of Vick. One or two years in federal prison, and perhaps state prison time if state charges are filed as well; plus $25 million in lost endorsement income and, oh, $50 million in lost or returned NFL income. That's overkill! Often the indirect financial consequences of legal proceedings are worse than the official ones, in the same way that a speeding ticket might cost you $75 but add $1,000 to your annual insurance bill.

In effect, the federal indictment of Vick is resulting in him being fined around $75 million, which is far too much retribution. The legal hang-up is that since 1984, federal courts have been forbidden to consider monetary loss in private life as counting toward punishment. But a year of banishment from the NFL, a guilty plea with suspended sentence and probation (meaning the sentence is imposed if probation is violated), seems plenty of punishment for a first offense by someone who has not harmed another human being. Prison time and a $75 million fine? What Vick did was indecent, but now excessive punishment is being imposed, and two wrongs do not equal one right. Justice, after all, must be tempered with mercy. That's what you would think if you stood in the dock accused.

Hypocrisy note: Look who's advertising on a Web page extolling the cruel crossbow killing of animals for sport -- the NFL. Oh, that Michael Vick, he's evil, he's bad. But buy NFL Shop items to wear when you shoot deer with arrows so they slowly bleed to death!
posted by Penks at 2:19 AM on October 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Justice" for Vick would have involved a lot more blood, pain, and the ensuing results of those injuries...

No, that's what "revenge" would have involved.
posted by robertc at 5:07 AM on October 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


It doesn't matter what I think about Michael Vick; he can get along just fine with no rooting from me. He's been awarded the Ed Block Courage Award for exemplifying "commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage"; has his own fawning reality show, and is being described this way: Vick's value is stratospheric right now. He is this September's fantasy football "It" girl. If he were a tech gadget, he'd be the iPad. If he were an HBO series, he'd be "Boardwalk Empire." Not only is he putting up big numbers, but there is palpable, audible buzz about him everywhere you go.

So... he's really sort of a hero, right? The new hotness! He exemplifies sportsmanship and courage! Despite this:

Rescued from the quarterback’s rural Virginia compound (coincidentally, not far from the world headquarters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), some of the dogs were initially aggressive. Many others were scarred psychologically as well as physically, terrified of all sound and motion or resigned to a near-catatonic state.

They’d been through hell. Dogs that would not fight (or proved to be inept in doing so) for Vick and his friends at Bad Newz Kennels were often put to death without mercy. The author reports one incident in which a dog was doused with water, then electrocuted. In another, Vick and an accomplice swung a dog by its front and back limbs “like a jump rope,’’ slamming it against the ground until it expired.


But Vick is doing just fine — better than fine — without my support, and I'm really not going to waste a lot of time worrying about whether my failure to root for him is hypocritical or unkind. He probably thinks it's all pretty hilarious.
posted by taz at 5:14 AM on October 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


one can't discount the influence of former Colts coach Tony Dungy, who has mentored Vick extentsively.

Well it's a good thing for Vick he was in dogfighting, and didn't turn gay or anything.
posted by inigo2 at 7:10 AM on October 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


This could be an interesting discussion if it wasn't about a football player.
posted by rocket88 at 8:01 AM on October 2, 2010


Dogs are different from chickens and pigs in that we haven't bred chickens and pigs to be responsive to humans, pay close attention to us, and look to us for guidance in the way dogs have. Dogs and humans have had an intimate relationship for thousands of years.

I eat less meat all the time. I have shot and killed my own dinner on a small number of occasions, and I have watched more than one slaughterhouse documentary to see where the remaining meat on my plate comes from.

But while I do support humane slaughterhouses and think that factory farming is abhorrent and unsustainable, I'm not surprised in the least bit that Americans get more uptight about abuse of an animal that is referred to often as "Man's Best Friend" (Yes, women too) than they do about chickens or pigs. First chicken I hear about dragging an unconscious human out of a burning building, I'll move them up in the rankings.

And for the record, Off The Chain is a excellent (and graphic) documentary about dog fighting and the kind of social culture Vick associated himself with. Not one to be esteemed or admired.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:12 AM on October 2, 2010



You've also referred to people who refuse to give him the benefit of the doubt as "mind readers", so you haven't exactly portrayed yourself as an impartial observer.


Anyone who thinks they know what is in his head for certain is acting like a mind reader, and they are.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:00 AM on October 2, 2010


The state of Virginia which was so aghast at his cruelty to dogs still has a number of active fox hunting clubs among the horsey set in Middleburg. Rich white people do a stylized dog fight and it's culture I guess.
posted by humanfont at 11:38 AM on October 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


NFLcrimes.com
posted by kyleg at 12:44 PM on October 2, 2010


Admittedly I was not aware he actually DID do a 60 Minutes interview, but frankly if this is as heartrending as it gets I'm all the more that he's just saying what he thinks people need to hear to sign off on his paychecks. Two and three word responses to questions where the "correct" answer would have been obvious to a five year old are not convincing to me. I must be a cynical bastard, then.

No, you just obviously didn't read the interview.
"Was there any adrenaline rush? Was it the sense of competition? What was it that gripped you about what you engaged in with the dogfighting?" Brown asked.

"Regardless of what it was, don't even matter," Vick replied.

"Do you know what it was?" Brown asked.

"I know why. And regardless of what it was - and why I was driven, you know, by what was going on, whether it was because of the competition or whatever it may have been, it was wrong," Vick said.

"Were any of those reasons, though? The competition? The adrenaline?" Brown asked.

"Yeah," Vick acknowledged.

Asked if he understands why people are outraged, Vick said, "I understand why. And I'm going to say it again. Sickens me to my stomach. And it was same thing that I'm feeling right now."

He told Brown that feeling right now is "pure disgust."
Didn't Donte Stallworth kill a person and is now back playing for Baltimore?

Yep, along with accused murderer Ray Lewis.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:44 PM on October 2, 2010


Michael Vick can't redeem himself. You can't redeem yourself if you deliberately commit an atrocity. After you demonstrate that sort of monumental indifference to suffering, everyone else is justified in assuming that every future good act is a cynical attempt to manipulate.

I notice that a lot of this discussion centers around the question "is Vick an evil person?" with the implicit assumption that if he is, then lifelong punishment is sensible irrespective of his behavior. As a probably-evil (but so far innocent) person myself, I don't see the point in this way of looking at things. Why punish someone if punishment will not change their behavior? My character (and feeling toward dogs) is such that I probably would not genuinely, emotionally sympathize with the dogs if I were in that situation. Should I be punished as well, even though I've done nothing? Doesn't behavior matter?

Maybe the healthier thing to do is to recognize that your emotions are just that: your emotions. You feel angry at someone when they do certain things. Other people feel happy or sad or angry for other reasons. Some people's feelings are wired in ways that are more helpful to society than others, depending on the situation. For example, a lack of sympathetic feelings can appear as a cool-headed fairness in one context, and a cold-hearted willingness to torment in another. Set up the right system of ethical rules, and that person will do just fine. Similarly, an all-consuming love of animals could manifest as perfect beneficence when dealing with animals, and an unreasonable hatred for humanity at other times.

I wish Michael Vick dead.

You may be a danger to society.
posted by Xezlec at 5:14 PM on October 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I hated Michael Vick and his punk-ass little brother long before it was cool to hate on him. I took my hate for the man up to eleven when the dog fighting story came out. My hate turned to flaming rage when I saw that Donovan Fucking McNabb actually lobbied to have him come to the Eagles after he got out of jail - then took his job. Every week I see the Eagles highlights and actually hope that Vick gets hurt.

Then I read this (decidedly not well written) book, and my hate and rage is now mixed with disgust. The things that this man personally did to animals turns my stomach. People who haven't read the book ask me to describe some of the abusive, nay, torturous behavior he participated in. I can't even say it out loud, it's so disgusting. Vick is a fucking sociopath, and that is never going to change.

And for those of you who are saying, "So he killed a few dogs? He did his time, he should be allowed to play!" - Read the fucking book.

Very few things get me as het up as Michael Fucking Vick. I don't wish him dead, but I would kick him VERY HARD in the nuts, repeatedly, if ever given the chance.
posted by msali at 8:29 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish Michael Vick dead.

You may be a danger to society.


Nah, more like a normal person feeling the very human emotion of white hot anger in reaction to the unfathomably cruel and painful torture of a defenseless being.

My character (and feeling toward dogs) is such that I probably would not genuinely, emotionally sympathize with the dogs if I were in that situation.

This sounds more like a danger to society to me (lack of empathy being a sign of psychopathy and all).
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:22 AM on October 3, 2010


Pop-culture review site Pajiba's sports correspondent C. Robert Dimitri has an interesting take in his column, "Empathy for the Devil".
I am still wary of Michael Vick’s character, and I think that giving him little to zero margin of error for any criminal activities is a perfectly fair condition in allowing him to remain in the NFL. I’ll definitely be rooting against Michael Vick. However, I hope to only be rooting against him as I would any other Eagle and that he finds personal redemption off the field.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:57 AM on October 3, 2010


Two and a half years in Leavenworth; and since then, significant investments of money, time and publicity to get the word out against cruelty to animals. Redeemed or not?

Many people still rooting against Michael Vick are no longer making a statement about animals. They're making a different statement, that American society for the most part endorses: that young black men are worthless garbage, with no inherent value as humans and no potential for development or growth: to be disposed of when they offend the white middle class.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Sockpuppetry at 12:05 PM on October 3, 2010


Vick haters get their wish: "Eagles quarterback Michael Vick left Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins with rib and chest injuries and did not return."
posted by kirkaracha at 4:35 PM on October 3, 2010


They're making a different statement, that American society for the most part endorses: that young black men are worthless garbage, with no inherent value as humans and no potential for development or growth: to be disposed of when they offend the white middle class.

posted by Protocols of the Elders of Sockpuppetry


Clearly those protocols include lame trolling.

Anyway, now that he's injured, it will be interesting to see if this narrative of false redemption holds. Let's see if the press tell this story the same way. I'll bet a lot of Eagles fans will turn on him pretty quickly, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:45 PM on October 3, 2010


Nah, more like a normal person feeling the very human emotion of white hot anger in reaction to the unfathomably cruel and painful torture of a defenseless being.

I think you'll find that a lot of the normal persons who committed the very human act of lynching black people for suspected crimes against white women a century ago were motivated by exactly the same white-hot anger you describe. Things aren't good just because they're human. People aren't at their best or most civilized when in a state of white-hot rage. While that might not cause problems when it's just a brief moment of fury during the revelation of the event itself, if you are still feeling that intensely livid years after the event and the punishment of the offender, then you definitely have a handicap which will make it difficult to behave reasonably in society.

My character (and feeling toward dogs) is such that I probably would not genuinely, emotionally sympathize with the dogs if I were in that situation.

This sounds more like a danger to society to me (lack of empathy being a sign of psychopathy and all).


Including your lack of empathy for Michael Vick? (Also, you may want to go look up the formal definition of psychopathy. By your definition, most judges are psychopaths.)
posted by Xezlec at 6:55 PM on October 3, 2010


karma's a bitch.
posted by morganannie at 10:48 AM on October 4, 2010


A video round-up, including the previously mentioned interview of Vick by former coach Jim Mora. Finally, the nfl.com news summary associated with the Mora interview, "Humbled Vick taking his second chance and running with it".
posted by ob1quixote at 1:38 PM on October 4, 2010


Protocols of the Elders of Sockpuppetry: “Many people still rooting against Michael Vick are no longer making a statement about animals. They're making a different statement, that American society for the most part endorses: that young black men are worthless garbage, with no inherent value as humans and no potential for development or growth: to be disposed of when they offend the white middle class.”

Precisely. But you'd never know it to listen to them, because these racist people here who are rooting for Michael Vick are sneaky, sneaky, sneaky. They use code-words to keep us from seeing the truth about their motives; they speak in a vague way while they themselves know exactly what they're trying to do: keep young black men from succeeding. In fact, the biggest reason why these racist Michael Vick haters are so hard to point out – the reason, in fact, why I'm sure you haven't named them – is because they're often so reticent to post comments long enough to identify them for what they are.

Because, as we all know, it's very hard to type when your hands and fingers, and indeed your whole body, are made out of straw.
posted by koeselitz at 1:50 PM on October 4, 2010


It's occurred to me that I'm one of the few Vick apologists in this thread.

Please understand that I'm the kind of person that has to change the channel when the Sarah McLachlan "Angel" ASPCA commercial comes on. The first time I saw it I called up my wife with tears in my eyes, asking if we could afford to donate $18 a month to help the poor kitties and puppies. Hell, I'm a little teary right now since I saw part of it in the process of linking it.

Even so, I'm still willing to give a man I could never stand the sight of, who did unspeakable things to defenseless animals, a second chance. It's better for everyone, including and especially him, if he stops listening to those people who would now accuse him of not being "real", turns his life around, and spends his days after his career is over trying to convince young black men that fighting dogs is despicable.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:04 PM on October 4, 2010


This could be an interesting discussion if it wasn't about a football player.
OK how about this?
Bertrand Cantat returns to the stage seven years after murdering his girlfriend
Here's some wiki background.
posted by adamvasco at 2:33 PM on October 4, 2010


Didn't Donte Stallworth kill a person and is now back playing for Baltimore?

True, and he was legally intoxicated (.012, legal limit .08). And going 10 MPH over the speed limit (50 in a 40).

He also stopped immediately, called 911, rendered assistance at the scene, turned himself in, asked to go to court for sentencing when the family of the victim offered to settle out of court, completed his punishment, made restitution to the family in excess of the court order, and has generally done every single thing a human being can do to express remorse for making a terrible error.

There are bad men in the NFL who do bad things. I do not think Donte Stallworth is one of them. Donte Stallworth made a terrible, awful mistake. And since then he has been working to repair what damage he can. That he has not sought the spotlight to be publicly shriven and that he has asked for forgiveness and understanding from the family of the man he killed and not the public is to his credit, I think.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:22 PM on October 4, 2010


Oops. I misplaced a decimal point.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:46 PM on October 4, 2010


I bet more people are in here pissed at Vick than at the cop who murdered Oscar Grant. It's always nice to come here and be reminded of how little the lives of some of us mean. I know you love your pets, and I know that you and your loved ones are pretty much clean souls who do little wrong in comparison, but holy fuck.

Wishing him dead? If you wish that, I hope you also wish to be the ones to tell his young children how happy you are that their father is dead. If you want to do violent things to him or see them done, I hope you would take the responsibility of describing the acts to his children, since you're so full of vengeance for this guy.
posted by cashman at 9:26 PM on October 5, 2010


Didn't Laura Bush kill her ex boyfriend and become First Lady of the United States?
Didn't the United States implement a torture regime during the Iraq War and, well, nothing happened?
posted by Chuffy at 10:28 PM on October 5, 2010


See, here's the thing: this was a post about Michael Vick. It wasn't about Laura Bush or the Iraq War or the cop who killed Oscar Grant. If there were some scientific way to prove that caring about one thing means that you can't/won't care about other things, then these arguments might make the tiniest bit of sense, but to storm into a thread that's about a particular subject and become outraged that people are discussing that subject instead of some other subject else is illogical.
posted by taz at 3:28 AM on October 6, 2010


If there were some scientific way to prove that caring about one thing means that you can't/won't care about other things, then these arguments might make the tiniest bit of sense, but to storm into a thread that's about a particular subject and become outraged that people are discussing that subject instead of some other subject else is illogical.

I agree, although to be fair, I feel the same way about the people who storm into every Vick thread here and elsewhere with "How can you care about what Vick did to those dogs but not be outraged about factory farming?/If you're not a vegetarian you're a hypocrite for being upset with Michael Vick" arguments.
posted by The Gooch at 7:42 AM on October 6, 2010


but to storm into a thread that's about a particular subject and become outraged that people are discussing that subject instead of some other subject else is illogical.

Agreed. Two days later, no less.

I care about dogs. But that doesn't preclude me from also caring about people.

Also, it doesn't make me a Bush sympathist or a 'sneaky' racist.
posted by morganannie at 12:48 PM on October 6, 2010


I think you'll find that a lot of the normal persons who committed the very human act of lynching black people for suspected crimes against white women a century ago were motivated by exactly the same white-hot anger you describe.

Yes, in tandem, I'm sure, with various other unsavory motivators like mob mentality, the need to demonstrate superiority and, hey, wouldn't you know it, lack of empathy.

Things aren't good just because they're human.

Of course not. But we're talking about an emotion - anger. Emotions can't be considered good or evil in and of themselves.

if you are still feeling that intensely livid years after the event and the punishment of the offender, then you definitely have a handicap which will make it difficult to behave reasonably in society.

I still feel intensely livid when I think about what Vick did to those dogs and I probably always will, no matter what his punishment and I'd like to think I behave pretty reasonably in society. I mean, if you checked my references, I'm pretty sure they'd attest to that. Yeah, if somebody was consumed with anger about some long ago issue all day long it would be a problem.

Anger as a reaction to animal abuse is normal and healthy (unless you happen to be one of the new superhumans so common to Metafilter threads who experience no negative emotions), having no feeling about it whatsoever, on the other hand, is majorly creepy.
posted by Jess the Mess at 6:12 PM on October 6, 2010


See, here's the thing: this was a post about Michael Vick. It wasn't about Laura Bush or the Iraq War or the cop who killed Oscar Grant. If there were some scientific way to prove that caring about one thing means that you can't/won't care about other things

I agree

Agreed. Two days later, no less.

I care about dogs. But that doesn't preclude me from also caring about people.


Scientific way? Well sure there is - I can simply go into the Oscar Grant thread(s) and see if I see your names, right? Why are yall acting like we didn't discuss Oscar Grant on here? If you cared, surely you commented right? And got upset, right?

Because I haven't looked at those threads lately, but I'm sure your outrage is in there, right? Right?

Or is this where you throw up some excuse, I say fine, and then mention a few other cases where people who have been traditionally treated as less-than-life are brutalized, and then I look in those threads, and mysteriously you're not there either.

Hey, if you want to be all in love with your pet and not give a fuck about people who don't resemble you, go for it. We all have our issues and I have known more than one of those folks. I'm just saying show me your presence in those threads, in those issues, or maybe just own up to being that way. I see a lot of people talk shit about wanting to harm or have Michael Vick harmed, maimed or killed, but I didn't see anybody stepping up to tell his young children all about it. Why not? You wanna big all big and bad, at least own it.
posted by cashman at 8:56 PM on October 6, 2010


Hey, if you want to be all in love with your pet and not give a fuck about people who don't resemble you, go for it.

Dude, if you're gonna call people racist just call them racist. Use the fucking word.
posted by inigo2 at 11:12 PM on October 6, 2010


Cashman, I'm afraid your logic gate has come unhinged. By your calculations, when I don't comment at all for weeks or months, it must be because I don't care about anything and must be in some sort of emotional coma, since obviously the only way to prove one's bona fides is to comb through every Metafilter post and never fail to make a comment to represent whether one is a) FOR or b) AGAINST.

I don't read and comment on every post. In fact, I don't have a system at all. I just open the site at random and if something catches my attention I might read it. Occasionally, I'll make some kind of comment. Far more often, I don't. This really, really is not scientific evidence that I don't "give a fuck about people who don't resemble me." I don't understand why you seem so invested in establishing this fantasy conclusion.
posted by taz at 3:17 AM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey cashman. Get off it.

I don't see your posts in the Oak Reed thread or in the Andrew Shirvell-stalking-a-college-kid thread either.

Does that mean you're a homophobe? Or don't care about news on the LGBT front?

No. It doesn't. And I wouldn't make that assumption.

I came here to post on the Michael Vick thread because it's something I care deeply about. It's also why I made my way over to the Oak Reed and Chris Armstrong threads.

There are many threads here on the blue that I don't ever comment on. I hope no one other than you is taking my absence in threads as evidence that I don't care about the topic.
posted by morganannie at 5:17 AM on October 7, 2010


Dude, if you're gonna call people racist just call them racist. Use the fucking word.

So cute. But oops.

I don't understand why you seem so invested in establishing this fantasy conclusion.

I'm still not sure why we have no metric for determining if person x is outraged by issue y, when this site is all about issues. But hey, sure.

There are many threads here on the blue that I don't ever comment on. I hope no one other than you is taking my absence in threads as evidence that I don't care about the topic.

I'm not going to go into every thread and check for your presence. That's for you to do, and decide that if you magically skip over certain outrage threads and somehow manage to magically post in other outrage threads, somehow always missing those threads. Well that's on you I guess. I haven't looked into anybody's posting history, so I could be completely wrong, and perhaps people are showing up in this thread...looks like not though. Whatever.
posted by cashman at 6:34 AM on October 7, 2010


cashman -- this conversation is more approprite to metatalk, I think.

" Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site."
posted by empath at 6:42 AM on October 7, 2010


Yeah empath. I'm not even sure what we would talk about in metatalk. It sucks that it turned into a discussion about them, but it was probably my fault that it did. I didn't look in anybody's posting history so I could have been completely wrong about the situation. I'm sure Taz and the others are decent people. Course I also think Vick isn't a monster, so go figure. Thread closed for me. If any of the people I referenced are upset and want to memail me, I'm all for that. As antagonistic as I can be, I mean you no harm. Later! (Thanks empath)
posted by cashman at 7:25 AM on October 7, 2010


Oh, and since I didn't explicitly say it - I am sorry.
posted by cashman at 7:29 AM on October 7, 2010


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