All Dogs Go to Heaven
August 14, 2009 5:15 PM   Subscribe

After serving 18 months in prison, Michael Vick is back in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has expressed remorse for his dog-fighting past. Vick's back on track, so what happened to his dogs? Many of them are doing pretty well, too.

After successfully advocating to save the dogs' lives, the Best Friends animal sanctuary has been working with almost two dozen of Vick's dogs. They were even featured on the National Geographic Channel's series Dogtown.
posted by jeoc (239 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm glad most of the surviving dogs are being taken care of. It's a shame that the NFL allowed Vick back, and it says a lot about them and the sport that they did, none of it good.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:23 PM on August 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


That's remorse? I call bullshit. He says what his handlers have told him to say and nothing more.
posted by newpotato at 5:24 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pit bulls can be wonderful dogs. My family pulled a mange ridden tiny puppy off the side of the road, and he grew up to be a big-ass pit bull who, with a proper environment and socializing with other dogs, turned out to be a big sweetheart. So, I say, as a dog lover and resident of Atlanta, fuck Michael Vick sideways. His apology is a hollow public relations ploy. He had to get up there and say that shit because, unless some stupid NFL team took him back (Fuck you sideways Philly), his future involved being a garbageman, which is better than what he deserves. I have followed the fate of his dogs, and was relieved when people stepped up to adopt them and I am glad they are doing well, but I hope Jesus gets off his ass and comes down from heaven and personally gives Michael Vick colon cancer tomorrow.
posted by dortmunder at 5:24 PM on August 14, 2009 [31 favorites]


Too soon.
posted by gman at 5:25 PM on August 14, 2009


I am shocked SHOCKED that professional sports, particularly the gentlemanly pasttime of football, is associated with violent sociopaths.
posted by DU at 5:27 PM on August 14, 2009 [15 favorites]


Remorse? Right. If he hadn't been caught, he would still be fighting, brutalizing and killing dogs. Screw him and screw the NFL.
posted by OolooKitty at 5:30 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


While I believe forgiveness and rehabilitation are important, this makes me uncomfortable. Even without judging Michael Vick on the sincerity of his remorse, he committed crimes which showed a serious lack of judgment and mercy. Because of this, it would be inappropriate to present Michael Vick as a role model.

He is being paid for his athletic talent. He does have that much, and I can hardly fault him for relying upon what he does best for his job. However, he is also being paid to be famous and to be a figure in pop culture. Regardless of what the NFL may say, so long as clothing stores sell jerseys with "VICK" presented on the back, they are happily placing him as a role model for the football-loving kids out there.

I only wish I could say Vick was an exception to the rule.
posted by Saydur at 5:31 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know almost nothing about sports, but I gather these guys are paid pretty well. Is the money from running a dog-fighting ring even remotely comparable? I kind of doubt it. Without the big financial payoff, why would you consider something like that? The conclusions I can draw are not pretty.

I'm all for doing your sentence and moving on to rejoin society. It's just that in this case, rather than eighteen months in the slam, I think eighteen minutes with eighteen of his angriest dogs would have been more fitting.
posted by adipocere at 5:33 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Remorse?

At the risk of a derail, I did a quick microanalysis of Pitino talking about his situation. That is one pissed-off dude; look at him after he mentions his family, both times.

As for remorse, the content of what he says only goes back seven months, to when he went to the Feds. Nothing about before that, like infidelity, a Catholic paying for an abortion, etc. He is not remorseful, he is an angry man who wants vengeance.
posted by dragonsi55 at 5:38 PM on August 14, 2009


I just want to clarify that I personally find Vick's crimes abhorrent. I was trying to create an unbiased FPP.

Best Friends is awesome, though. And I'm really happy that so many of these abused dogs may get to live a better life.

I also kinda wish we had a Best Friends for people. Somewhere severely abused and fucked over people could go to get back on their feet.
posted by jeoc at 5:40 PM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Actually, not "kinda" but "really, really, why the fuck do we not have this."
posted by jeoc at 5:41 PM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Vick's back on track

Ha. When was he ever on track? Michael Vick is a sociopath who repeatedly and consistently tortured and killed dogs. Hanged them from trees, electrocuted them, drowned them. Vick can't get "back on track" because sociopaths are never "on track" in the first place. I watched part of his press conference today and he still doesn't understand what he did wrong - everything he said reinforced the idea that he believes the dog-fighting ring was a tragedy that happened to him, not the dogs.

If you'll remember, Vick was consistently in trouble with the league and the law before the dog-fighting arrest. He knowingly gave women herpes and didn't tell them. He was arrested at an airport for having a water bottle with a hidden drug compartment. After the dog-fighting reports broke, Vick repeatedly lied about his involvement, only confessing after many friends turned against him. He failed a drug test after sentencing. He is a mess, and always has been. Nothing has changed.

The fact is, Michael Vick has some sort of severe personality disorder and needs professional help. Instead of that help, today he received another big contract and a pat on the back for saying all the right things from his "mentor," the right honorable reverend Tony Dungy.

I feel sorry for Eagles fans, the city of Philadelphia, and Donovan McNabb. From a football perspective, the team is toast. McNabb is a great quarterback that has never been fully embraced by Philly. This is just another in a series of moves that undermines McNabb's credibility with his teammates and sows doubt about the team's commitment to him. I'm sure that everyone involved has the best of intentions but unless Vick seeks real help and addresses the roots of his behavioral problems, Michael Vick will simply continue to be Michael Vick - an arrogant and emotionless narcissist who does not believe laws and rules apply to him. He'll be back in prison within five years.
posted by billysumday at 5:42 PM on August 14, 2009 [17 favorites]


Running a profit-based dogfighting ring, shooting and drowning and electrocuting injured dogs no doubt qualifies as horrible. But how is it anything but disingenuous to call these repeated, intentional, barbaric acts "a mistake?" Goodbye Michael Vick. Can’t the NFL give multi-million dollar contracts to one of the hundreds of thousands of other undereducated, muscle-bound athletes who don’t torture animals?
posted by applemeat at 5:42 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


We do, and it's called a ballot box.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:42 PM on August 14, 2009


I also kinda wish we had a Best Friends for people. Somewhere severely abused and fucked over people could go to get back on their feet.
posted by jeoc at 5:40 PM on August 14 [+] [!]


A worthy sentiment, but people aren't dogs, unfortunately.
posted by dortmunder at 5:43 PM on August 14, 2009


sorry, my sanctimony was a reply to jeoc
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:43 PM on August 14, 2009


The Eagles have depth at QB, so it's likely he won't see any playing time. However, I hope Ron Mexico gets paralyzed the next time he steps on the field. Honestly. I wish him the worst.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:44 PM on August 14, 2009


athletes are not heros or role models. the more evidence we have to support that, the better. committing a felony isn't a reason to be kicked out of the NFL. also, we aren't really opposed to our entertainers being criminals, by and large.

ex-cons should be able to be productive members of society again after they've received punishment and rehabilitation for their offenses. either you believe that or you don't. telling him he can't earn a living doing what he's good at (a job that has nothing to do with his crime) is continually punishing him for a crime he already paid his debt to.
posted by nadawi at 5:49 PM on August 14, 2009 [23 favorites]


Just the mere mention of that fucker's name makes me spit acid. And living in Virginia, I hear it all the time. What a worthless piece of shit.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:49 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I saw a presentation by the people who rescued the Vick dogs at the Animal Law Conference last year. The law may have been interesting if you were really into forfeiture, but the highlight was the pictures and videos of the dogs at various stages of their recovery.

People had to work really hard to reclaim the lives of the Vick dogs, rehabilitating them for months before they could be placed in permanent homes. But thankfully almost all of them made it.
posted by grobstein at 5:50 PM on August 14, 2009


athletes are not heros or role models.

Were you ever a kid? Do you have kids? I mean, I get what you're saying, that athletes shouldn't be role models or heroes, but just saying it doesn't make it true.
posted by billysumday at 5:52 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


billysumday, how can one truly help a sociopath? At best, a society can only limit the damage. I admire your optimism, but I don't think "everyone involved has the best intentions". Unless, of course, those intentions are strictly growing their bank accounts.
posted by belvidere at 5:54 PM on August 14, 2009


Please people, settle down.

Running a profit-based slaughterhouse, decapitating and burning and electrocuting cows and chickens no doubt qualifies as horrible. But how is it anything but illogical to call these repeated, intentional, barbaric acts "different?" Goodbye cold-cuts, goodbye McNuggets. Can't the public feast on one of the hundreds of thousands of other delicious, nutritious food sources that aren't animals?
posted by trueluk at 5:56 PM on August 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


I am shocked SHOCKED that professional sports, particularly the gentlemanly pasttime of football, is associated with violent sociopaths.

Sociopath? Are dogs a part of society? Obviously some people would say yes, that their dog is a part of their family or whatever. But other people would say no, and given that our society slaughters millions of pigs, chickens and cows and most people don't seem to care particularly much. I mean you have confinement factory farming where pigs/chickens or whatever spend their entire lives in pens so small they can't move around, and eventually they are killed and then eaten

Is everyone who's horrified by this a vegetarian, or at least someone who only eats free-range meat?
posted by delmoi at 5:57 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


good point, trueluk. I never eat a chicken unless it has been thrashed to death by the talons of another chicken in mortal combat.
posted by billysumday at 5:58 PM on August 14, 2009 [20 favorites]


Were you ever a kid? Do you have kids? I mean, I get what you're saying, that athletes shouldn't be role models or heroes, but just saying it doesn't make it true.

do you know what does make it true? parents who don't put athletes on a pedastal. parents who don't buy jerseys for their kids. parents and teachers who don't use stories of people who can jump high and run fast as things to aspire to. if when a kid started idolizing someone like Vick, there should be an adult around to say "i think he's a bad man and here's why". conversations about how there are good people, people who should be role models in every industry, in every job - no matter how much they earn and no matter how many people herald their works - if parents and teachers took more time to find those stories instead of taking the easy way of "i bet michael jordan ate all his broccoli", things would be different.

my parents were the sort who didn't put brawn above strength. my grandparents got me books about nelly bly and thomas jefferson. these things make a difference.
posted by nadawi at 6:00 PM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


good point, trueluk. I never eat a chicken unless it has been thrashed to death by the talons of another chicken in mortal combat.

At least one of them had a chance of survival.
posted by trueluk at 6:00 PM on August 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Someone went to the School of Ingrid Newkirk.
posted by gman at 6:03 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


nadawi, you're still arguing that athletes shouldn't be role models, while I'm arguing that they simply are role models. In today's society, it's a fact that many children look up to professional athletes - whether or not your kids do is unrelated to the fact that millions of others are this evening no doubt parading around their high school football stadium wearing somebody's jersey.
posted by billysumday at 6:03 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


My friend (an avid Mefi reader) pointed out that we care more about the fact that Vick had some dogs killed than all of the other illegal shit popular sportsmen have pulled off. Like, say, shooting people.
posted by spiderskull at 6:05 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is everyone who's horrified by this a vegetarian...?

I can't speak for everyone, but I am. Then again, I was a lucky eleven year old kid that visited a slaughterhouse, and it left an impression I'll never, ever forget. As a 44-year old, I can still conjure the sweet, coppery smell and see the blood pooling around my sneakers. And that's just the PG rated stuff. I'm quite certain it permanently altered my view of humanity. Hint: it's not for the better.
posted by belvidere at 6:09 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesse Jackson's compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson.

Athletes are hired to put butts in seats, sell jerseys and to get television ratings. The irony is that Michael Vicks infamy will probably increase viewership from people hoping to see him get knocked the fuck out. Despite knowing it's counterproductive, I'll be tuned in.
posted by vapidave at 6:09 PM on August 14, 2009


Gee delmoi and trueluk, you guys are right. What was I thinking condemning a man who was torturing animals for his personal entertainment when we have this huge industrial farming complex that does it a million times over for food? Surely if it's being done by Big Industry it MUST be the right thing to do.
I think I'll write Micheal Vick a fan letter and ask him to stand up for his right to be a torturer and ask him to try to lead others into the sport so that everyone can do the right and fun thing and torture and maim and kill!
posted by newpotato at 6:10 PM on August 14, 2009


billysumday - ah, you're having a semantics battle. i didn't realize. fine, you're right.

and, fwiw Is everyone who's horrified by this a vegetarian...?

i am not horrified that he got his job back and i am a vegetarian.
posted by nadawi at 6:12 PM on August 14, 2009


In other words, would you rather people didn't react with disgust?
posted by newpotato at 6:12 PM on August 14, 2009


My friend (an avid Mefi reader) pointed out that we care more about the fact that Vick had some dogs killed than all of the other illegal shit popular sportsmen have pulled off.

I think people just look at it differently. You say "Vick had some dogs killed." That doesn't sound so bad. But really he tortured dogs, deliberately made them feel pain, poked and prodded and injured them in completely unnecessary ways. Tortured. Dogs. Tortured them. For fun. Then, after that, he had them killed.

My grandpa used to kill dogs. They'd get sick or get mauled by a coyote, he'd take them out to the barn and put a bullet in their brain. Now that's killing a dog, too, but it's a mercy killing. He loved those dogs. Maybe to you it doesn't matter how a dog is killed (hit by car, mercy killing, euthenasia, hanged from a tree and electrocuted), but I see a difference.
posted by billysumday at 6:12 PM on August 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


People never change we should get rid of jails and just execute everyone.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:13 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


So I took a look at the 60 Minutes segment. Vick is very controlled, and when he is talking it is similar to Pitino going into coach mode.

However, between 14 and 20 seconds, as 'drowning them' is being spoken to him, there is a tiny up-curl to the mouth corners followed by an eyelid cover. It's not much to go on, but it looks like the memory still gives him a thrill, which is rapidly repressed.

So we'll see. Alcoholics and addicts can still desire booze decades after they've cleaned up, so people are capable of controlling their behavior despite their emotional reactions. What I didn't see, though, was any sign of disgust.

For disgust, see University of Louisville president James Ramsey right before he says “I am not going to speculate” when asked if the coach had violated terms of his contract.
posted by dragonsi55 at 6:14 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is everyone who's horrified by this a vegetarian, or at least someone who only eats free-range meat?

The reaction is partly rooted in the use of dogfighting as entertainment. Most people don't enjoy thinking about how they get their meat, don't go stand around and watch and cheer at factory farms or slaughterhouses as recreation. But Vick and his friends got off on torturing those dogs; it was his idea of fun.

and yes, I am a vegetarian
posted by dilettante at 6:16 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pretty incredible to think that someone would eventually rival O.J. Simpson for most hated football player in America, but there you go.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:16 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


and - i don't think he's a little bit remorseful. i just think that he committed crimes, a court of law gave a punishment that he completed, and now he's a free citizen again. i believe that excons should be able to find work in fields they're skilled in (barring obvious things like child molesters going back to their teaching jobs).
posted by nadawi at 6:19 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I respect that many people feel that the use of animals for food is inhumane and unethical. I disagree, but I respect that opinion.

However, I don't understand how one can think that torturing an animal for sport is even remotely comparable to slaughtering an animal for food.
posted by device55 at 6:26 PM on August 14, 2009 [14 favorites]


Except, nadawi, this is not some ordinary job. This is being famous, and earning millions, and in fact acting as a role model, despite protestations of parents. He's not coaching a high school team somewhere (probably a good thing), he is representing doing something heinous, giving lip service to being remorseful about it, and then handed the same prestigious position he had before he was caught. What message does this send, exactly?
posted by newpotato at 6:26 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]



However, I don't understand how one can think that torturing an animal for sport is even remotely comparable to slaughtering an animal for food.


Are you slaughtering the animal so you can eat it and live, or are you doing it because the taste of the meat gives you pleasure but you know there are other things you could eat instead?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:28 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Playing professional sports isn't an entitlement. If the NFL had any class, it would have banned him. But honestly, what can one expect of a barbaric "sport" such as professional football anyway?
posted by belvidere at 6:29 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]




billysumday: This is just another in a series of moves that undermines McNabb's credibility with his teammates and sows doubt about the team's commitment to him.

Weirdly it seems that McNabb actually "lobbied" for the Eagles to pick up Vick. See here.
posted by ericost at 6:41 PM on August 14, 2009


kirkaracha, I'm not sure what that has to do with Vick, but your link is a bit old. Stallworth suspended without pay for a season.
posted by billysumday at 6:41 PM on August 14, 2009


Are you slaughtering the animal so you can eat it and live, or are you doing it because the taste of the meat gives you pleasure but you know there are other things you could eat instead?

Both. Even if you can't condone raising and killing animals for food, do you really believe that animal torture for sport is morally equivalent?
posted by device55 at 6:42 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


McNabb has known Vick for years and is confident in his own position with the team. It's isn't that weird.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:43 PM on August 14, 2009


texas monthly had a really good piece about dog fighters . It made me feel sympathetic towards them, until i remembered that it's dogs viciously attacking each other.

It also made me want to adopt and raise a littler of pit bulls to be the nicest dogs on the planet.
posted by djduckie at 6:44 PM on August 14, 2009


Fuck Vick, fuck professional football... I'm done watching anything that would say "awwww, it's ok, here's a million bucks...."
posted by HuronBob at 6:44 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fuck pitbulls. They were born to die.
posted by Rumple at 6:45 PM on August 14, 2009



Both. Even if you can't condone raising and killing animals for food, do you really believe that animal torture for sport is morally equivalent?


It is not both. People who can afford better don't go to McDonald's to survive, they go there for the cheap pleasure of the food.

If the pleasure comes from taste or from a sociopathic thrill at killing it's still unnecessarily killing an animal for pleasure.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:46 PM on August 14, 2009


I need to add... Tony Dungy's dad was my biology teacher in college in '69... the only African American faculty in a small, midwest college... he was respected and honored as an educator... as his son has risen in his own career, I've been proud of the connection...

I can't imagine how Tony has now found it in himself to promote this idiot....
posted by HuronBob at 6:50 PM on August 14, 2009


Fuck pitbulls. They were born to die.

Fuck everything and especially fuck you. Wheee, I have a dumb opinion, YAY!
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:51 PM on August 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


I am not at all surprised that this big money earner is getting another chance to earn shit loads of money for the NFL.

I'm all for people getting a fair shake after they've paid their debt, but this asshole should not just get to fall right back into the lap of luxury. There are some crimes for which you've got to keep paying a little more once you're back in society. Vick should be washing cars or something, not playing football. Back of the line, pal.

What an embarrassment for my city.
posted by orme at 6:51 PM on August 14, 2009


"Fuck pitbulls. They were born to die."

pitbulls are not "born to die"...what an idiotic statement to make....
posted by HuronBob at 6:52 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


American Football is the sport of pigs, why is anybody surprised that some dog fighting felon was welcome back with open arms?
Have fun watching meatbags crash into each other, I'm going to the beach.
posted by 2sheets at 6:52 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]



I'm all for people getting a fair shake after they've paid their debt, but this asshole should not just get to fall right back into the lap of luxury. There are some crimes for which you've got to keep paying a little more once you're back in society. Vick should be washing cars or something, not playing football. Back of the line, pal.


He already worked construction and the dude has no money left. His contract probably won't even cover his debts.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:57 PM on August 14, 2009


If the pleasure comes from taste or from a sociopathic thrill at killing it's still unnecessarily killing an animal for pleasure.

Are you really suggesting that because I eat chicken and fish that I shouldn't have any problem with torturing dogs for sport?
posted by device55 at 6:57 PM on August 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


I love that, in some people's eyes, being outraged about this seems to mean that you are outraged by nothing else, and that those of us who don't like animal torture are just fine with people shooting each other.

I can care about more than one thing at a time.

And no, I don't eat meat.
posted by OolooKitty at 6:59 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


the whole chickens vs. dogs argument is juvenile. Double standards exist in society. We have different rules for different things. Are those rules always right? No. But until some radical change happens, we are socialized to treat chickens one way and dogs the other. Do we have to let all the hamster out of their cages, because we let dogs run free?

The reason Vick's crimes are so abhorrent is because our culture as a whole has decided to treat Dogs much more like humans than we treat other animals. We can't live with dogs the way we do, without extending them some sort of empathy, and therefore cruelty to them breaks a social contract that we don't have with other animals. There's a reason torturing the family pet as a child has a correlation to aberrant adult behavior and say, hunting deer as a child doesn't.

As much as people want to think different when Vick tortures a dog, he's not breaking nature's laws, he's breaking man's laws. And man's laws are flexible, evolving, cruel at times, often silly, and mostly contradictory.

People need to get over this role model thing. Anyone who thinks an athlete is a role model by default is setting the bar shockingly low. In addition to being somewhat naive to where so many of these guys come from, and how they are made into who they are, and why the system works exactly the way it does.

Yes, Vick is a terrible person. But the way I see it, he did his time, and the last I checked, there were no dogs in NFL huddles, so let the man go back to his job.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:01 PM on August 14, 2009 [9 favorites]



Are you really suggesting that because I eat chicken and fish that I shouldn't have any problem with torturing dogs for sport?


No, I'm just saying you should probably not kill animals just because other food is too bland to entertain you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:02 PM on August 14, 2009


So, reintegrating ex-cons back into society is a great idea until it's an ex-con whose actions we find particularly distasteful. Mike Vick did horrible things, got caught, and got punished. He's done his time. He served the punishment the US justice system meted out. I'm glad he's getting another chance to play football. I hope he does well. And if he fucks up again, I hope they put him away until he's too arthritic to hold a clipboard.

And to those who sneer at football as a barbaric bloodsport: you are arguing from ignorance. It is a violent game played by big scary guys, but it's also produced men like Allen Page (Judge, Minnesota State Supreme Court), Jack Kemp (US senator and presidential candidate), Randall McDaniel (elementary school teacher), Warrick Dunn (philanthropist and anti-poverty activist), Esera Tuolo (gay rights activist, singer/songwriter), Steve Largent (Congressman), Heath Schuyler (Congressman), Tim Greene (attorney and best-selling novelist), Pat Tillman (USMC), Jim Brown (activist and advocate for urban youth), and more. The vast majority of NFL players never get rich, never get famous, never get in trouble, and move on to other pursuits when they finish their football careers.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:03 PM on August 14, 2009 [31 favorites]


No, I'm just saying you should probably not kill animals just because other food is too bland to entertain you.

We can debate whether it is truly necessary to raise and kill animals for food, but we're not talking about killing, we're talking about torture.

If I had to kill my own chickens, I would do so as quickly and as humanely as possible. I wouldn't torture them first, because that would be cruel, and yes, it's far more cruel than simply killing them for food.
posted by device55 at 7:13 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


What's the big deal? I'd equate dog fighting with, say, circumcision or cat declawing.

/unfunny joke.

what's interesting to me is the perspectives that have come up in conversation - in my building, there was a conversation involving two Eagles fans (both white) who are pissed that Vick is still getting paid to play, and two other non-Philadelphia fans (both black) who are unfazed, saying that plenty of ballplayers commit worse crimes against humans and don't get the scrutiny and outright hatred that Vick has inspired.

I couldn't understand how anyone would NOT think Vick was a scumbag, so talking to my neighbors has helped clarify another point of view.

(NOT SAYING THAT ANYONE HERE IS SPEAKING FOR ALL PERSONS OF THAT RACE)
posted by dubold at 7:13 PM on August 14, 2009


Correction: Tillman was an Army Ranger. My mistake.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:15 PM on August 14, 2009


And to those who sneer at football as a barbaric bloodsport: you are arguing from ignorance.

Some players may have left the sport to pursue more productive lives, but that doesn't make football any less barbaric. Or dull.
posted by belvidere at 7:16 PM on August 14, 2009


Quit griping on the internet about it and say it to the guy's face.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:17 PM on August 14, 2009


I just want to go on record as saying that I don't have a problem with the NFL reinstating Vick. I will say that I did think it would be stupid for any team to sign him, and I do think it's particularly stupid and borderline suicidal for the Eagles to take him. They'll take a publicity hit (in fact, they already are - Eagles fans are overwhelmingly against the deal) and then Vick will undermine McNabb and destroy the team. Yay! For what? So Dungy and Lurie and Goodell can feel good about themselves. As I said earlier, nobody should be surprised if Michael Vick ends up (shock of all shocks) acting like this guy who used to be in the league called Michael Vick - a quarterback who in his prime was an awful completion passer, a horrible team leader, and a petulant offseason brat. I'd love for someone to explain to me how this benefits the Eagles, because I don't see it. Forget about the morality of it - it seems like a boneheaded football move. Way too much risk for not nearly enough reward.
posted by billysumday at 7:19 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


To me, we are needlessly torturing food animals.

Chickens don't have to have their beaks cut off, be stuffed into tiny cages, force fed cows blood, bred so they have such huge bodies and tiny legs that they couldn't even walk if they were let out of the cages, boiled and plucked alive, etc. The same and worse is done to cows, pigs, any animal we deem useful by modern factory animal production.

By Buying Tyson or other industrially produced chicken we are telling people that torture chickens like that, they are doing a bang up job, please continue.

A society that is OK with this stuff will overlook what Vick did no problem. Heck, it was just some dogs somewhere, not my dogs, and I didn't see it so its A-OK by me. go team!

I eat meat, I am not a vegetarian. Having researched all that is done to animals, I try to go with the least evil meat I can find. Usually I know I am just fooling myself, but at least I am trying.

Mahatma Ghandi said a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable, and he has said this included animals. Not just pets, animals. By his yardstick we are all some evil motherfuckers in the good ol' US of A.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 7:23 PM on August 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


He already worked construction and the dude has no money left. His contract probably won't even cover his debts.
posted by furiousxgeorge


Alright then! There's some good news!
posted by orme at 7:24 PM on August 14, 2009


It is crazy how much emotion this has uncorked in Philly. C-R-A-Z-Y. The most interesting thing has been watching the heated back and forth on Facebook among the black journalists in Philly that I'm connected to. I mean, seriously, seriously heated. This has really tapped into a lot of feelings in the black community about felons not getting second chances despite having served the time for the crime. I'm not saying I share that sentiment, as I'm not much of a football fan and think Vick is basically a sick asshole, but the debates are fascinating to watch unfold, people are seriously questioning friendships over differences of opinion on this.
posted by The Straightener at 7:26 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm all for people getting a fair shake after they've paid their debt, but this asshole should not just get to fall right back into the lap of luxury. There are some crimes for which you've got to keep paying a little more once you're back in society. Vick should be washing cars or something, not playing football. Back of the line, pal.

I dunno, the guy did some shitty things and did his time. He also happens to be incredibly talented at what he does (ok, he's been a pretty mediocre NFL player, but anyone who makes the NFL is incredibly talented). He got offered a job doing the thing he's good at. I don't see the gain in forcing ex-cons to turn down job offers so they can go to the back of some mythical "line." Rich people who go to jail tend to go right back to living like rich people when they get out. I guess I can understand the impulse to want them punished further, but the justice system is there to punish people for crimes, not to be some socioeconomic or karmic leveller.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:27 PM on August 14, 2009 [7 favorites]



If I had to kill my own chickens, I would do so as quickly and as humanely as possible. I wouldn't torture them first, because that would be cruel, and yes, it's far more cruel than simply killing them for food.


Industrial chicken farming is pretty cruel. Are you sure you can't just get your protein from plants?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:28 PM on August 14, 2009


The Straightener: that's interesting and I've noticed the same thing (in different social circles, obviously). I admit to getting a bit annoyed that people are trying to frame this as a second chance for Vick. Everyone has forgotten all the other shit he did before the dog-fighting scandal. If people are really going to use Vick as an example, they should really be arguing whether or not everyone deserves a seventh chance.
posted by billysumday at 7:30 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I eat meat, I am not a vegetarian. Having researched all that is done to animals, I try to go with the least evil meat I can find. Usually I know I am just fooling myself, but at least I am trying.

Which is why I find the eating meat = enjoying dog fights/dog torture equivalence stunning. Seriously, there are plenty of options out there for those who want to eat animals which lived relatively happy lives and died quickly. At the same time, there's pretty much only one type of dogfighting - the heinous kind.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:31 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Guys, you cannot engage the scrambled eggs = dog torture crowd. They're like LaRouchies.
posted by billysumday at 7:33 PM on August 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Which is why I find the eating meat = enjoying dog fights/dog torture equivalence stunning. Seriously, there are plenty of options out there for those who want to eat animals which lived relatively happy lives and died quickly. At the same time, there's pretty much only one type of dogfighting - the heinous kind.

I just think it's weird people think it is okay to unnecessarily kill an animal just so they can enjoy the taste. Yeah, torture makes it worse but how is it okay for you to kill something just for your titillation?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:34 PM on August 14, 2009


The debate here is cruelty to animals, as far as I can tell. In general a society composed mainly of carnivores is going to think killing animals is OK, that is the way it goes.

There is, however, no need to torture the animals for their whole lives. What vick did was about the same level of cruelty as factory farming. Main difference is we think he enjoyed it more, and he did it to animals we as a culture have strong emotional and anthropomorphic ties to.

Talking about vegetarian Vs carnivore is a pretty big derail.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 7:36 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Some players may have left the sport to pursue more productive lives, but that doesn't make football any less barbaric. Or dull.

Football is both barbaric and dull? That's quite an achievement. One expects barbarity to be at least somewhat exciting.

And though it isn't the NFL, I challenge you to watch the fourth quarter of the 2007 Boise State/Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl and not find your heart beating a bit faster. In the same way that soccer fans sit through an interminable amount of guys running back and forth in the hope of seeing something spectacular, football fans put up with all the standing around and one-yard runs up the middle to see something amazing.

Calling football barbaric is just staking out some imaginary high-ground to pat yourself on the back for your enlightened sensibilities. It isn't barbaric, it's a full-contact sport. If we're talking in terms of total cummulative human suffering, I think one could argue that triathlons are more barbaric than football.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:39 PM on August 14, 2009


If you excuse something just because society and culture does not see it as a crime, would it be fair to excuse dog fighting in cultures where it is seen as an honorable thing to do?

I don't think so, some things are just wrong.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:39 PM on August 14, 2009


Think about the animals who died so they could make room to build public utilities to power your home. You could easily live with a solar panel on your roof to power your basic needs, but no, you have to have a computer for your tittilation, so no rinky-dink solar panel for you. And do you really need medicine that's been tested on animals, just so you can protect yourself against illnesses you most likely will never get? Also, I seriously hope you never read any research or benefited from things that have stemmed from the research that's involved the use of labratory animals in some way. I mean as long as we're levelling the playing field to include the killing of anything, anytime, for anything other than pure survival.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:44 PM on August 14, 2009 [10 favorites]


I'd just like to say that, as a meat eater, I agree with Antidisestablishmentarianist.

If you think the animals that come out of factory farms aren't literally tortured, by the thousands and thousands, every single day, you're fooling yourself. We can argue about whether or not Tyson, Perdue, and ConAgra intend to torture the animals that end up on our plates, but does it really matter if the animals suffer horribly?

I've found a local farm that raises free-range chickens, I'm planning to bring them home and slaughter them myself (as soon as I can find someone to teach me how).
posted by exhilaration at 7:44 PM on August 14, 2009


Oops. Didn't close tags after the quoted para. Can I get a little modly hope, plz? Sorry and thanks.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:45 PM on August 14, 2009


So, reintegrating ex-cons back into society is a great idea until it's an ex-con whose actions we find particularly distasteful. Mike Vick did horrible things, got caught, and got punished. He's done his time. He served the punishment the US justice system meted out.

Yes, he's done his time. However, isn't there some sort of standard that potential NFL professionals should meet? If you were hiring someone for a highly prized and public position, would you maybe try to find someone who wasn't a convicted dog killer? This isn't just some regular job here. This is millions of dollars. Aren't there any other players available?
posted by orme at 7:46 PM on August 14, 2009


Want to see animal cruelty? Watch Food Inc. Cows up to their knees in their own shit. Chickens bred to be so big that they can't take two steps without falling over. And it is not one person. It's systematic.

It is hundreds of farms like this. Hundreds of thousands of animals, herded together, living a shitty life in a four-foot-square space, disfigured for restaurants and establishments that every one of us drives by every day.

Sure, let's save our real anger and direct our vicious anger at the guy who spent time in jail and is now trying to get back to throwing around a ball to other guys.

That makes perfect sense. And don't give me that mess about being mad at both, because if people were that mad, there wouldn't be entire productions, entire industries where animals are disfigured, left to grow in their own shit, slaughtered, and then the carcasses trucked right by you on the way to somewhere where people make billions off of it.

Please.
posted by cashman at 7:48 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]




Think about the animals who died so they could make room to build public utilities to power your home. You could easily live with a solar panel on your roof to power your basic needs, but no, you have to have a computer for your tittilation, so no rinky-dink solar panel for you. And do you really need medicine that's been tested on animals, just so you can protect yourself against illnesses you most likely will never get? Also, I seriously hope you never read any research or benefited from things that have stemmed from the research that's involved the use of labratory animals in some way. I mean as long as we're levelling the playing field to include the killing of anything, anytime, for anything other than pure survival.


All of those things have productive uses in society and could not be achieved otherwise, your Big Mac does not have the same value as electricity or medicine.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:48 PM on August 14, 2009


Re: Donte Stallworth

1) Witnesses testified that the victim darted between two parked cars and directly into the path of Stallworth's vehicle.

2) Stallworth, who was obeying the posted speed limit, immediately stopped, called 911, and waited for authorities to arrive.

3) Law enforcement said that had Stallworth not had alcohol in his system, no charges would have been filed.

He doesn't deserve a year's suspension. It was a tragic accident.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:50 PM on August 14, 2009


Football is both barbaric and dull? That's quite an achievement. One expects barbarity to be at least somewhat exciting.

No, I meant what I said. Barbarism is exciting for those who enjoy brutality, right? It's pretty dull for the those that don't.

...triathlons are more barbaric than football.

Well then, the sport must have changed. When did triathletes start violently knocking each other to the ground?
posted by belvidere at 7:50 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]



Well then, the sport must have changed. When did triathletes start violently knocking each other to the ground?


You have a somewhat strange understanding of barbarism.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:56 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


All of those things have productive uses in society and could not be achieved otherwise, your Big Mac does not have the same value as electricity or medicine.

It's not my Big Mac, and not all animal-derived food is from McDonald's. A lot of it, in fact, comes from animals who lived relatively happy lives. Yes, they were killed in the end to suit our desires. But there are non-animal alternatives to most of the animal things we enjoy, and if we're putting eating animals on the same moral level as torturing dogs for sport, then we might as well pull the zoom shot back to include everything else we enjoy that involves that death of animals in some way. You might be fine with this, and for all I know live a life devoid of contributing to the death of animals in any form, and that's great if you can pull that off. I'm just wondering if you really don't see any measure of degree between, say, eating a free-range bird and torturing animal slowly so you can watch it die.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:59 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Marisa, it's a question of conscience, and I can't answer it for you. If you are okay with killing things for your pleasure that is fine for you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:04 PM on August 14, 2009


You have a somewhat strange understanding of barbarism.

Does a definition of barbarism as extreme brutality sound reasonable? A definition of brutality as savage violence?
posted by belvidere at 8:05 PM on August 14, 2009


However, isn't there some sort of standard that potential NFL professionals should meet?

yes - they should play american football better than most of the people in the world and they should make people want to watch them and talk about them.


if you really feel there should be a certain moral code needed to be a professional athlete/singer/actor, etc. than you have a much bigger mountain than michael vick's reinstantement to climb.
posted by nadawi at 8:05 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]



Does a definition of barbarism as extreme brutality sound reasonable? A definition of brutality as savage violence?


Sure, it's just that football isn't extreme brutality or savage violence. If shoving someone and pushing them to the ground is savage violence you have cheapened the word to a point where every kid with a sibling on the planet is a barbarian and ANY expression of violence is barbaric violence.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:09 PM on August 14, 2009


Marisa, it's a question of conscience, and I can't answer it for you. If you are okay with killing things for your pleasure that is fine for you.

Again, you must live a life that doesn't in any way contribute to the killing of animals for pleasure. Somehow I find that difficult to believe, but if you've achieved it, kudos.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:10 PM on August 14, 2009


Nobody is perfect, but it's good to try.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:12 PM on August 14, 2009


Maybe to you it doesn't matter how a dog is killed (hit by car, mercy killing, euthenasia, hanged from a tree and electrocuted), but I see a difference.

Yeah, this. This is precisely why I can say that Vick is a piece of shit, and then go have a steak. Just saying, essentially, "all dead animals are equal," without taking into account how they got that way, is a bit of obnoxious moral sophistry, in my opinion.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:16 PM on August 14, 2009


furiousxgeorge, then perhaps you can explain to me how a triathlon is more barbaric than football is because that was the claim I was responding to.
posted by belvidere at 8:17 PM on August 14, 2009


While I can care about more than one thing at once, I just have better shit to do than get all worked up over animals being bred for food then, later (surprise!), eaten. Even if the conditions under which they're bred/kept/killed could be better. I don't have the same sympathy for chickens as I do for dogs. If Michael Vick had been running a stag beetle fighting ring, I wouldn't think what he did was as despicable as it is in the case of dogs. I also think that the fact that it's lovable, cute, pettable doggies seriously blinds people's judgment about the situation.

If Vick had been convicted of some other Class IV felony with similar penalties (1-5 years + $5000 in GA, I believe) -- I'm sure there are burglary and drug charges in this range -- would we be saying that he shouldn't be allowed back into the NFL? If as a society we deem this crime to be this bad, why include it in the same ballpark as things only that bad? It seems to me that we ought to accept the fact that the guy did what society asked of him in terms of punishment and restitution, and it's not fair of society to want to keep on asking him for more just because dogs are cute.
posted by axiom at 8:25 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nobody is perfect, but it's good to try.

Nobody is perfect indeed. I guess the core of the issue is, for me, that our daily lives involve the killing of animals for reasons more than "titillating" food; often for things we don't actually need to survive. Even if we're aware of this, we still make value judgement with regards to acceptable losses for our gain, and rationalize them. So having read Diet For a New America, I avoid factory farmed food, but am able to rationalize eating animals that lived actual lives. By the same token, you're able to avoid eating animals, I guess, but rationalize using any number of non-essential products derived from animals.

That's what I don't get about slamming people for being against the slow torture of animals for sport on the assumption that they eat meat. Nobody is perfect, as you said, so why dismiss people's repugnance to cruelty on the grounds that their lives are not 100% cruelty-free, when yours isn't either? Cut us a little slack here.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:26 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Way to completely not address my point about human suffering, belvidere. I think you are making an aesthetic argument and conflating it with a moral one. You don't like watching people run into each other. Fine. But that's an aesthetic position that you are equating with a moral stance.

If football were barbaric, fans would cheer when players on the opposing team got injured. That's the point of barbarity, right? Fuckin' A bloodsport, dude! Well guess what? Fans don't do that. Well, sure, there's always the random drunken asshole, but, he's usually shut down pretty quickly. Football fans aren't roaring for blood and pain, no matter what it is your sensitive ears might hear. They're roaring for action, and clean hits, and great running and passing and catching. They're roaring because they see a safety drifting too far back in coverage and a tight end and quarterback recognizing it and making a smart play under pressure. Yeah, it's fun to watch good tackling. It's fun to see a receiver stretching out for a ball, knowing he's gonna get clobbered. Competitive, controlled violence is not barbarity. Killing dogs, or bulls, or cocks for sport is truly barbaric. It is bloodlust in action. Equating football with that I find either ignorant or disingenuous.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:28 PM on August 14, 2009 [7 favorites]




furiousxgeorge, then perhaps you can explain to me how a triathlon is more barbaric than football is because that was the claim I was responding to.


I believe the poster was noting that triathlon is probably more physically painful on average for the participants.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:28 PM on August 14, 2009


Who would have thought the overwhelming sentiment on MeFi would be one of law-and-order, lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key?
The topic of sports - particularly football - brings out some strange dynamics around here.
posted by rocket88 at 8:28 PM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


By the same token, you're able to avoid eating animals, I guess, but rationalize using any number of non-essential products derived from animals.

Again, electricity is not the same as your Big Mac. Electricity and Medicine save lives and reduce suffering. A Big Mac gives you a brief moment of pleasure and that is it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:33 PM on August 14, 2009


Stop calling it my Big Mac.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:35 PM on August 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


A Big Mac gives you a brief moment of pleasure and that is it.

Don't forget indigestion and/or incontinence. Also, what the ever loving hell is wrong with you people equating all this like this?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:36 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The topic of sports - particularly football - brings out some strange dynamics around here.

And, you know, the whole dog torture thing.
posted by Benjy at 8:39 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whatever, your free range chicken given pain killers and lovingly choked to death with ice cream, ok?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:41 PM on August 14, 2009


But that's an aesthetic position that you are equating with a moral stance.

Fair enough. But I think a sport that champions "controlled violence" shouldn't be too surprised when it finds even more players like Vick among its ranks.

I think I'll take a pass on enjoying football's subtle pleasures.
posted by belvidere at 8:41 PM on August 14, 2009


Whatever, your free range chicken given pain killers and lovingly choked to death with ice cream, ok?

No, you're free range chicken given pain killers and lovingly choked to death with ice cream.
posted by gman at 8:46 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vanilla please.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:48 PM on August 14, 2009


But yeah, you have admitted that you do enjoy non-essential things derived from killing animals, yeah? Nobody is perfect, as you said, so why dismiss people's repugnance to cruelty on the grounds that their lives are not 100% cruelty-free, when yours isn't either? That's what I don't get. But whatever; nobody's perfect, and nobody's completely consistent, either.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:49 PM on August 14, 2009


wow
posted by blue_beetle at 8:51 PM on August 14, 2009



But yeah, you have admitted that you do enjoy non-essential things derived from killing animals, yeah? Nobody is perfect, as you said, so why dismiss people's repugnance to cruelty on the grounds that their lives are not 100% cruelty-free, when yours isn't either? That's what I don't get. But whatever; nobody's perfect, and nobody's completely consistent, either.


I'm just saying people should try.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:55 PM on August 14, 2009


Fuck you, I'm a Jainist, y'all. If you see me walking down the sidewalk, throwing my broom from side to side, you best get to steppin otherwise you'll find the business end of my stick n straw.
posted by NoMich at 8:58 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why did you cruelly kill a tree to make a broom out of?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:00 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can never come back ....
posted by HumuloneRanger at 9:04 PM on August 14, 2009


Wait. If I'm an omnivore, I'm not allowed to think dogfighting is bad?

Earlier this week someone questioned whether I was really liberal, since I itemize deductions on my taxes.

My whole world is being rocked lately.
posted by padraigin at 9:06 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Who said you can't think dogfighting is bad? Lots of things are bad.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:09 PM on August 14, 2009


if you really feel there should be a certain moral code needed to be a professional athlete/singer/actor, etc. than you have a much bigger mountain than michael vick's reinstantement to climb.

Yes, I'm aware of all the other assholes who work in the entertainment industry. That doesn't mean I have to find it acceptable. It's also a little easier to just not buy a performer's albums or pay to see an actor's films than it is to avoid a particular asshole who has become a member of your city's football team.
posted by orme at 9:13 PM on August 14, 2009


Why did you cruelly kill a tree to make a broom out of?

I didn't, you did. You killed the tree for the paper to write a letter to yr mom. I picked a piece of if from the gutter to save the bugs that you tried to drown. As for the straw, I ripped them from a horse's mouth before it could thrash them with its dull ass teeth. The horse starved to death. All this because of that goddamn letter to yr mom.
posted by NoMich at 9:14 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


/me applauds the contrapuntal arguments going on, over the value of football, and the ethics of eating meat, and the role model requirements for athletes and other entertainers.

furiousxgeorge is doing a simply fantastic job of engaging in at least two of the tangents.

MEANWHILE, MICHAEL VICK IS GOING TO BE PAID TO PLAY FOOTBALL AGAIN AND NOBODY HERE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
posted by ericost at 9:18 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


But NoMich, all I wrote in the letter is that it's evil to kill bugs!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:19 PM on August 14, 2009


The reason we have so much obesity in America is because athletes are no longer considered good role models.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:20 PM on August 14, 2009


The reason we have so much obesity in America is because athletes are no longer considered good role models.

And because we torture dogs instead of walk them.

And because we eat ketchup instead of tomatoes.

And because we drink mammary juice.

And because of the internet.
posted by trueluk at 9:26 PM on August 14, 2009


If a dog attacked and bit a person, would you be in favor of euthanizing it, quarantining it for life, or attempting to rehabilitate and retrain it and giving it a...(wait for it)...second chance?
posted by rocket88 at 9:30 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


In all honesty I don't want the following scenario to happen, but I can imagine Vick will be targeted for some extra on-field "attention" by other players.
posted by edgeways at 9:33 PM on August 14, 2009


I think I'll take a pass on enjoying football's subtle pleasures.

Go long!

I'll take that as acknowledgement that those subtle pleasures do in fact exist, so we can agree to disagree.

*buys belvidere a beer*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:35 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The analogy doesn't really hold up rocket88.

If a dog attacked and killed a person there generally is no choice in the matter, it is... (wait for it)... killed.
posted by edgeways at 9:35 PM on August 14, 2009


I somehow thought trolls avoided metafilter.

Someone must have read Derailing for Dummies today.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 9:37 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


damn it d13t_p3ps1, I was just setting it up...


ahem


Who Wins Gold in the Oppression Olympics?

should I add more exclamation points?
posted by edgeways at 9:41 PM on August 14, 2009


You both seem pretty hysterical. Maybe you should take it easy before we continue this discussion.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:43 PM on August 14, 2009


"You're Being Hostile"
posted by edgeways at 10:13 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


If a dog attacked and killed a person there generally is no choice in the matter, it is... (wait for it)... killed.

Well I didn't say attacked and killed, but fair enough...if that's the punishment that the system has deemed appropriate. In Vick's case the justice system said jail time, which he served. Not jail time plus the loss of his ability to work in his chosen profession.
The prison system is supposed to be about reintegration into society with the benefit of the doubt that you've rehabilitated yourself until you prove otherwise.
posted by rocket88 at 10:16 PM on August 14, 2009


The reason we have so much obesity in America is because athletes are no longer considered good role models.

QFAH -- Quoted For Ass Hattery

Seriously furiousxgeorge, I have been kindly and patiently flagging your stinkbombs for about 100 comments of this thread. I think collectively, you off-topic derail point has been made that people should try to be good, consistent creatures of fluffiness, packed to the gills with love eating only leaves that fall from trees in the autumn.

You seem to be the only person that you make room for any inconsistent ideologies. That is unpossible to deal with textually and a bit troll-bait-y.

Football is barbaric. And it can be very exciting. There is very little that happens on the gridiron that wouldn't be considered a felony were it to occur on the sidewalk or office in Anytown, USA. Barbarism, to me, is acting outside the rules of society in an injurious manner. But words schmerds.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:17 PM on August 14, 2009


Football is barbaric. And it can be very exciting. There is very little that happens on the gridiron that wouldn't be considered a felony were it to occur on the sidewalk or office in Anytown, USA.

What a ridiculous argument. It doesn't take place on the sidewalk or office so your "if" means nothing. Football is a game with heavy padding, strict rules, and everyone plays voluntarily. It's anything but barbaric.
posted by rocket88 at 10:32 PM on August 14, 2009


I'm pretty sure a consensual shoving match is not illegal.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:33 PM on August 14, 2009


I'm pretty sure a consensual shoving match is not illegal.

I'm pretty sure that trying to run each other down in public is illegal. Two people trying to beat the hell out of each other in public is illegal, even if both people want to beat the crap out of each other. Boxing in a ring regulated by a boxing association is not illegal. We, that is US citizens at least, sanctify sporting arenas to allow public displays of violence. Public displays of violence are barbaric. I am a fan of a couple of them. I love hockey, and it is violent and at time very barbaric. I will watch football with my dad, too.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:42 PM on August 14, 2009


It's not about pain or injury though. They are heavily armored and are only trying to gain position. Kids all over the country play the game, no problem. It's not like boxing.

It's violence about as much as arm wrestling is. I'll call the police next time I see someone doing that and see what they say.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:46 PM on August 14, 2009


Yeah, torture makes it worse but how is it okay for you to kill something just for your titillation?

If you are okay with killing things for your pleasure that is fine for you.

Do you kill the plants you eat?
posted by Bort at 10:49 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The average life expectatancy of an NFL player is 55. Lineman, the guys having the "shoving match" is 52. But hey, I bet it doesn't have anything to do with violence.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:51 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


But hey, I bet it doesn't have anything to do with violence.

It's really more all of the organ displacement and adrenal overloading that shortens their lifespan.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:53 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]



The average life expectatancy of an NFL player is 55. Lineman, the guys having the "shoving match" is 52. But hey, I bet it doesn't have anything to do with violence.


Well your own link says it is because the linemen are fat.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:55 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought the leading cause of death among football players was being crushed by a teetering pillar of money.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:56 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and great post. I appreciate the link about what happened to the dogs.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:56 PM on August 14, 2009


So you think that we shouldn't eat chickens, but its ok for the public to pay to keep a group of men extra large, thus shortening their life-span for a violent, injurious entertainment.

Gotcha.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:58 PM on August 14, 2009


YoBananaBoy: Football is barbaric. And it can be very exciting. There is very little that happens on the gridiron that wouldn't be considered a felony were it to occur on the sidewalk or office in Anytown, USA. Barbarism, to me, is acting outside the rules of society in an injurious manner. But words schmerds.

Well, if you redefine the word to make it mean whatever you want to mean, anything can be barbaric! Personally, I've always thought orange is barbaric. Also, molybdenum.

Football isn't barbaric, everyone involved is consenting and precautions are taken all around to avoid injury. People play it for fun. For an example of games that are barbaric, consider Russian roulette and gladiatorial fights.

Not to mention that society is totally cool with football. Of course, you can't act like that all the time or around random strangers, but that goes for all kinds of situations. Dentists can't just walk out into the street and jam their tools into random people's mouths. I can't pitch baseballs at people crossing the street. And let's not even consider sex and dating.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:59 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Go Steelers!
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:59 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


The elephant in this thread is that dog-fighting (and cock-fighting) are still fairly popular events in many poor communities, black, white and brown. I'm a suburban white guy, but I live in a place where, if you give me a week, I could probably find you a dog fight. I'm certain I could find a cock fight - I have a friend of a friend of a friend, you know. I've never been to a dog fight, wouldn't go to one, and thinking about it hurts my heart. I've been to a cock fight. It's horrific. It's transfixing. It's evil.

So how far do we libruls go to condemn cultural traditions? We all use animals. We eat them, or pet them, or shear them, or swat them from our necks.

What Michael Vick did is something that thousands of poor rural people are doing right now. Mike Vick succeeded because he was a phenomenal physical specimen who worked really, really hard to maximize his talents. He got handed a big bag of money and, like most of us would do, he used it to further his interests. One of those interests was torturing dogs, because he grew up in a place where torturing dogs was what you do for fun. It's all well and good to shake a finger at Vick, but isn't it interesting how no one dares address the underlying pathology?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:03 PM on August 14, 2009 [11 favorites]


Well, if you redefine the word to make it mean whatever you want to mean, [...]

Yeah, that is why I put my current working (read: flawed) definition out there, undefined semantic slap-fights are boring. And I have mentioned that I am cool with football. I am not cool with 350 pound person running me over on my walk to work.

And you are right about the dentists, and pitching baseballs and whatnot. That is actually very close to what I was trying to say. Although most of us can't do that, they can. But that doesn't make it less barbaric TO ME. But then again, I'm not trying to change you, Mitrovarr.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 11:10 PM on August 14, 2009


Without excusing or underplaying the absolute heinousness of Vick's crime, I find the rhetoric here a little silly. If you don't think Vick was adequately punished, you're anger should be directed towards the judge who sentenced him to what I'm assuming you think was too short a time.

But some of the comments here defy logic. Vick should be allowed to reenter society, including the ability to gain employment, but only if it's a shitty, degrading job that pays poorly? As if Vick would somehow be less inclined to revert back to bad behavior if he were working a $10 per hour dishwashing job while maintaining millions of dollars of debt?
posted by The Gooch at 11:14 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Christ, you people.

Vick did his time, paid what society asked him to pay, and I'm happy he'll be gainfully employed doing what he's good at. Do I find dog fighting a horror? Yep. The entertainment for guys with all sorts of issues, probably starting in their pants and ending in a stall at the Boise airport, or an organic brain deficit, or whatever. But if we say a year or so in the clink is the price you pay for being a psychopath, then we need to respect that once people have paid that they get to try and rejoin society.

Doesn't mean you have to cheer the Eagles, or have dinner with them.
posted by maxwelton at 11:30 PM on August 14, 2009


but isn't it interesting how no one dares address the underlying pathology?

I suppose I was trying to get there obliquely by discussing acceptable violence in sports involving humans. I botched that up. But dog-fighting is, to my perceptions, so wrapped up in class and race that it is a difficult topic to broach.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 11:32 PM on August 14, 2009


Big fan of capital punishment though, aren't you?
posted by rocket88 at 11:45 PM on August 14, 2009



So you think that we shouldn't eat chickens, but its ok for the public to pay to keep a group of men extra large, thus shortening their life-span for a violent, injurious entertainment.


The linemen have a choice.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:48 PM on August 14, 2009


I can't pitch baseballs at people crossing the street.

OOOOH! That's why I was put in the lockup for the night!

(I thought it was the nudity)
posted by dirigibleman at 11:51 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


We can debate whether it is truly necessary to raise and kill animals for food, but we're not talking about killing, we're talking about torture.

But factory farming would certainly qualify as torture if it were done to humans. They are raised in tiny pens and can't even more around for their entire lives.

If I had to kill my own chickens, I would do so as quickly and as humanely as possible. I wouldn't torture them first, because that would be cruel

Right, but if you're not buying free-range chickens, you are essentially buying chicken that's pre-tortured.

Anyway, I don't particularly care either way. If people want to ban dog fighting and lock people up for it it's fine with me. I just think there's a lot of hypocrisy with respect to the treatment of animals. I don't think a tortured animal would particularly care that much if you were doing it for entertainment or cheap McNuggets.

dnd do you really need medicine that's been tested on animals, just so you can protect yourself against illnesses you most likely will never get?

On the Colbert report the other day, he did a segment about the blue color of M&Ms helping spinal repair, which we talked about here. He showed the picture of the blue mouse and said "Here's a picture of the mouse, resting calmly after a scientists broke it's back"
posted by delmoi at 12:04 AM on August 15, 2009


However, between 14 and 20 seconds, as 'drowning them' is being spoken to him, there is a tiny up-curl to the mouth corners followed by an eyelid cover. It's not much to go on, but it looks like the memory still gives him a thrill, which is rapidly repressed.

So we're a criminal justice major with a double minor in mind-reading and television-watching, are we?
posted by joe lisboa at 12:42 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Vick should be allowed to reenter society, including the ability to gain employment, but only if it's a shitty, degrading job that pays poorly?

Putting him back into a high-profile, high-paying position — particularly something he enjoys doing — gives him a clean slate that I don't think he has necessarily earned, IMO. It returns him to the way things were before his incarceration.

Completing served time for violent crimes doesn't mean we must forget those crimes ever happened, and it does not mean we are not allowed to question whether giving him his old life back with very few actual consequences is appropriate.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:23 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


isn't it interesting how no one dares address the underlying pathology?

Looks like you answered your own question there about how far libruls should go to condemn cultural traditions. FWIW, I agree with "pathology" to describe the tradition of dogfighting in modern times. I also agree that anyone who pays money to see Michael Vick lead anything except a dog rescue team is not thinking.
posted by mediareport at 4:25 AM on August 15, 2009


giving him his old life back with very few actual consequences

I think Jail is a pretty substantial actual consequence.
posted by cashman at 4:31 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think Jail is a pretty substantial actual consequence

Giving him a high-paying, high-profile job right after he gets out of Jail suggests that Jail wasn't much of a substantial, actual consequence. Back to business as usual.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:50 AM on August 15, 2009


isn't it interesting how no one dares address the underlying pathology?

If nobody's addressed it, how do you know what the pathology is? There are wealthy people who engage in dogfighting. And it's popular in some urban areas, too. Here's something: isn't it a pretty much male-only sport? Why is that? Why are libruls not addressing the gender double-standard? Something is wrong with all of us until we speak up about men killing stuff.
posted by billysumday at 4:51 AM on August 15, 2009


Vick's crimes were heinous. He deserved the punishments he received, though I would have preferred a longer prison sentence. But he has served his time. Discriminating against and marginalizing Vick is counter-productive and morally suspect. Questioning the true motives of his regret is futile and stupid. I'd proud of the Eagles organization, particularly Reid, McNabb, and Dungy, for facing down the predictable public backlash and providing Vick with the support and opportunity he needs to have a chance at redeeming his standing in society. I find all the bitter resentment from the anti-rehabilitation crowd to be deeply distressing.
posted by effwerd at 5:25 AM on August 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I find all the bitter resentment from the anti-rehabilitation crowd to be deeply distressing.

I think the issue is mainly that he wasn't rehabbed. He was caught, and punished. He did his time because he had no choice. Does he truly feel remorseful about his actions? Consensus seems to be no, he doesn't. There is no evidence in his behavior or slight claim of reformation that he now truly believes that torturing dogs is a bad thing, and it seems as if if he weren't caught he would still be doing it.

I think that is why most of the people here have disgust for the man and the people who hired him. There are some of us who don't want this persons actions (including a half hearted apology) condoned by placing him in a public privileged position.
posted by newpotato at 5:56 AM on August 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Putting him back into a high-profile, high-paying position — particularly something he enjoys doing — gives him a clean slate that I don't think he has necessarily earned, IMO. It returns him to the way things were before his incarceration.

Completing served time for violent crimes doesn't mean we must forget those crimes ever happened, and it does not mean we are not allowed to question whether giving him his old life back with very few actual consequences is appropriate


If you think he has not been significantly punished, you should be arguing that his jail sentence was too short. I just don't see the point in putting up artificial barriers to his earning a living in the field in which he is most employable now that he's served his sentence. Seriously, how would you even enforce that exactly? If the NFL did ban him, but VH1 wanted to give him his own reality series, should he be prevented from doing that too because it's too high profile and high paying? And should this "criminals aren't allowed to have jobs that pay well once they've completed their prison sentence" rule be consistent among all prisoners or just Michael Vick specifically? Should all criminals be forced to continue to make penance for their crimes by only being allowed to work jobs that are menial and low paying once they've serve their prison sentences?

Isn't it widely acknowledged that one of the main reasons for the high recidivism rate among criminals is due to their finding it difficult to reenter society in a legitimate way after they get out of prison? What you're suggesting would only exacerbate this by institutionally putting up barriers to their rehabilitation.
posted by The Gooch at 6:14 AM on August 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


If I may offere a different perspective which I haven't seen in all these comments...

Even if we accept that there is something wrong with Vick, has anybody stopped to ask how he got that way? Here's a kid who's probably been told since he was about 14 years old that he is better than everyone else, that he has a huge career in front of him, that he is God's gift to girls and he walks on water and shits gold bricks and that lesser men should kiss his pinkie. And we wonder why he thinks it's OK to do whatever he wants.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the food fight, we have those factory farms and processing plants. Whatever Vick did, I can assure you it cannot approach one percent of the cruelty perpetrated by one chicken processing plant in the course of one day. Maybe not because the intent isn't there, but because Vick simply didn't have the means to torture and kill so many animals. It takes mechanization to accomplish real genocide, as our ancestors learned in the 1940's.

Now actual people who we don't regard as sociopaths work in those places. And if you've never been in one and you don't have to go, my advice is to stay away. Because first you will lose your lunch. After the first time I stepped into a processing plant -- as it turns out a a very clean processing plant with no kill floor -- twenty-five years ago, it was two months before I could eat a hamburger again.

But you can get used to it. The people who work in those places day in and day out become so used to the smell of blood and walking around in puddles of it and kicking organs out of the way as they do that it simply doesn't register any more. They can stick a knife in a carcass to bleed it out in a steamy unrefrigerated room while they talk to you about their kids' football game the night before.

Vick's problem is that nobody has ever forcefully told him that he really has to straighten up. Maybe the jail time will take; I'm guessing this is the first time in his adult life his actions have had real consequences. Maybe he feels the thrill of the blood sport and always will, but that's not our concern; our concern is only that he doesn't do it again. That is all the law can concern itself with and for it to do otherwise ends up being quite evil.

And if you don't agree ... well perhaps we can start up an Animal Offender's registry. Sure it will start with Mike Vick but then we'll find reasons to put other people on it too. Once on it it's a life sentence and you can never get a good job again, can't live within three hundred feet of any place animals congregate, and if that means you have to live under a bridge then ha-ha, sucks to be you. Is that what you want? Will you still want it when they come for you because you ate the non free-range chicken?
posted by localroger at 6:32 AM on August 15, 2009


Vick's in Philly. Philadelphia fans are probably the most brutal in the country. We even treat the players that do well for us, e.g., McNabb, like shit. How do you think we're going to treat a dog-torturing, ex-con, SOB like Vick? Vick has come to hell, he just doesn't know it yet.
posted by mdrosen at 6:47 AM on August 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


What Michael Vick did is something that thousands of poor rural people are doing right now.

The football part or the torturing dogs part?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:54 AM on August 15, 2009


There are some of us who don't want this persons actions (including a half hearted apology) condoned by placing him in a public privileged position.

Sounds like Cheney. I don't see any efficacy coming from this attitude. It just sounds vindictive. What are the chances of rehabilitation from further punishing Vick after he has paid for his crimes? What are the chances with support and opportunity?

I would really like to see Vick devote a portion of his considerable salary to animal rescue, no kill shelters, and a dog fighting awareness campaign. If he doesn't, I will be disappointed but that doesn't mean he didn't deserve the chance.
posted by effwerd at 7:20 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


And if you don't agree ... well perhaps we can start up an Animal Offender's registry. Sure it will start with Mike Vick but then we'll find reasons to put other people on it too. Once on it it's a life sentence and you can never get a good job again, can't live within three hundred feet of any place animals congregate, and if that means you have to live under a bridge then ha-ha, sucks to be you. Is that what you want? Will you still want it when they come for you because you ate the non free-range chicken?

First they came for the Colonel ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:41 AM on August 15, 2009


I think that the reactions of people to MV are more visceral than logical. Yes, we know that millions of animals are tortured annually for our food supply. We don't like it and some of us do what we can to stop it and not support it.
However, Vicks isn't a faceless giant industry filled with anonymous people who have become accustomed to the daily torture and slaughter.
He is a very well known person who is marched out in front of us, his face is on the front page, his crimes make headlines. We are able to put a face on a behaviour that we find abhorrent. Why do you expect us not to react?
Again I ask, would it truly be better if we just shrugged our shoulders and said, oh well, shit happens?
And to those who ask why we don't have issues with with the sentencing or the judge that allowed him to serve only 18 months, who says we don't? Some people in this thread have made a lot of assumptions about the Vick-ists in this thread, from accusing them to not caring about the food industry torture to assuming that they do not participate or contribute in some way to animal rights issues. Of course I can't speak for others, but hells bells, consider where you are. This thread, the people who would have interest in this thread, and in general, mefi, home of mostly outspoken liberals, and think about whether or not those are prudent assumptions to make.
This thread isn't about his sentencing, it isn't about the food industry. It's about Vicks being signed and his remorse. Thats why we're commenting about Vicks and not those other things.
posted by newpotato at 7:45 AM on August 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


> Vick's in Philly. Philadelphia fans are probably the most brutal in the country.

Yup. They once cheered when Michael Irvin laid motionless on the field with a possible neck injury. That said, it's a shame the Eagles aren't playing the Browns this year.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:47 AM on August 15, 2009


I just think it's weird people think it is okay to unnecessarily kill an animal just so they can enjoy the taste. Yeah, torture makes it worse but how is it okay for you to kill something just for your titillation?

Oh good grief. I don't LICK IT and then throw it away saying "Mmm. That was tasty." I eat it. And then it provides my body with protein and nutrients. Then I poop it out. My poop then, in the simplistic world view I've got going on, fertilizes the soil. The soil grows plants. That the animal eats. And then I eat the animal.

It's called THE FOOD CHAIN. It is also DELICIOUS.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:52 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]



Sounds like Cheney. I don't see any efficacy coming from this attitude. It just sounds vindictive.

Listen, I'll be the first to admit that my attitude towards Vicks is not coming from a purely logical place. But part of how I spend my time is rescuing and fostering dogs from city shelters. These dogs have at best been abandoned and at worst dreadfully abused. I'm not standing a reasonable enough distance away from this cause to be able to judge Vicks fairly.
I don't, however, feel like I'm being vindictive. I think more disappointed and disgusted.

The best possible outcome of this for me would have been Michael Vicks actually having a change of heart, and doing appearances and PSA's attempting to influence those that think that dog fighting is cool or having a pit that's vicious or any type of animal abuse is not okay.

I think that he is a public figure, and his words, his actions, and what happens to him influences people. A short prison sentence and regaining his pro football stature to me sends a very bad message.
posted by newpotato at 8:12 AM on August 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


This thread isn't about his sentencing, it isn't about the food industry. It's about Vicks being signed and his remorse.

I don't think you can cut off clearly relevant material from the discussion in order to not look like you're ignoring or walking past 10,000 instances of horrible animal cruelty to focus on 50 or 60 or however many. It makes no sense to go protest someone who has spent a significant amount of time in prison and is now going back to work, while you drive by Mcdonalds and Wendys and Fatburger and a ton of other establishments that vigorously support the 10,000 instances of horrible animal cruelty.

I understand saying "I don't like him". But people seem to have a special hatred there. Wishing him to get shot in the head. Wishing his 3 children's father was shot in the head! Hoping he gets brutally mauled. Stay classy.

The sentencing is relevant. He served time in jail and completed the sentence he was given by the court for torturing animals.

Meanwhile, there are executives of those food companies who have engineered entire systems of torture, are chilling, probably with box seats at games all over the country in every single sport.

I guess what I'm saying is the balance seems just a tad bit off. The food industry is faceless my ass. You mean to try to convince me that nobody can get the name of one single Tyson executive? Please. But wait, what they're doing - torturing thousands if not millions of animals - that hasn't been deemed illegal has it? So once again, not only are people directing outrage at a single dude who has already served jail time, showing up out front of a football stadium to protest - they're simultaneously not protesting outside of a tyson farm or a plant where an exponentially higher amount of abuses are going on. In addition to that, not only are those protests not happening, but those supposedly angry people who would tell 3 children "fuck your father, I wish he was shot in the head" haven't even managed to direct all this supposed anger into even getting the torture of tens of thousands of animals made illegal!

Excuse me. I'm off to drive through Las Vegas to find the house of one dude in Mexico who spent time in jail for gambling online. I hate that jerk. I'm gonna protest.
posted by cashman at 8:14 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


He was caught, and punished. He did his time because he had no choice.

Are you implying there's someone in jail somewhere that this statement doesn't apply to? Forgive or not, I can respect either choice, but to base the choice on the fact that he's only in a position to need forgiveness because he was caught seems to be stating the obvious rather obviously.
posted by Cyrano at 8:34 AM on August 15, 2009


But part of how I spend my time is rescuing and fostering dogs from city shelters. These dogs have at best been abandoned and at worst dreadfully abused.

I'm right there with you, newpotato. And I understand the visceral reaction. I even support continued public shaming. I just take issue with the idea that Vick shouldn't even get a chance at making good.
posted by effwerd at 8:41 AM on August 15, 2009


where are shmoos when you need them?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:46 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to think Michael Vick isn't the only person with a bloodlust issue.

And with that, I'm off to play Left 4 Dead.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:59 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just think it's weird people think it is okay to unnecessarily kill an animal just so they can enjoy the taste. Yeah, torture makes it worse but how is it okay for you to kill something just for your titillation?

Do you like the house you live in? People like me built your house. Manual labor is hard physical work that can't get done on a belly full of bean sprouts; think about that when you start saying silly things like "titillation".
posted by nola at 9:29 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Manual labor is hard physical work that can't get done on a belly full of bean sprouts; think about that when you start saying silly things like "titillation".

Historically it has been done on a bellyful of beans and cornbread, though. It's only in the past 60 years or so that manual laborers and poor people have been able to afford to eat meat regularly. I asked my grandmother about this one when we were talking about vegetarianism, and she agreed - her father, a coal miner in Harlan County in the 30s, didn't usually have much meat beyond fatback for seasoning; she worked in the fields then herself and ate the same.
posted by dilettante at 10:02 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think you can cut off clearly relevant material from the discussion in order to not look like you're ignoring or walking past 10,000 instances of horrible animal cruelty to focus on 50 or 60 or however many.

Should people not get worked up about particular child abuse cases here when there are so many instances of organized child abuse in the world? Should they only get to be upset if they don't wear shoes and shirts made by child slave labor in Third World countries?
posted by dilettante at 10:12 AM on August 15, 2009


At the same time, there's pretty much only one type of dogfighting - the heinous kind.

I'm in no way advocating dogfighting. That said, I have been doing research on it for a story, and there certainly are levels to the cruelty involved in dogfighting. Vicks was deep into the most cruel version, torturing and killing dogs who failed in the pit. On the other hand, I've found sites (I won't link to them) for avid "dogmen" in which there are long forum discussions on dog first aid and emergency care, and when to stop a fight before your dog is permanently injured.

Again, and I feel the need to cap this phrase up to highlight it, I'M NOT SAYING DOG FIGHTING IS OKAY. I'm just saying the Vick practiced the most inhumane, cruelest version. At its least cruel, dogfighting belongs on the same plane as the bullfight (which is still pretty awful), but Vicks' sadism transcends that.

Anyway, fuck that guy.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:21 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


That said, I have been doing research on it for a story, and there certainly are levels to the cruelty involved in dogfighting. Vicks was deep into the most cruel version, torturing and killing dogs who failed in the pit. On the other hand, I've found sites (I won't link to them) for avid "dogmen" in which there are long forum discussions on dog first aid and emergency care, and when to stop a fight before your dog is permanently injured.

Knowing this actually sheds new light on the situation, for me anyhow. In the same vein as your preface, I'm not saying that dogs fighting while wearing fang caps and paw gloves would somehow be just fine or anything; but since there are varying levels of cruelty in the sport, and Vicks was engaging in the cruelest possible sort, it sort of puts a question mark behind the "he didn't know it was that bad to do this" assertion.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:42 AM on August 15, 2009


I'm not saying that dogs fighting while wearing fang caps and paw gloves would somehow be just fine or anything;

To be clear, the "nice" version still involves blood and biting and sometimes death. It's the things like drowning and extreme training conditions and not stopping a fight until one dog is dead that ups the cruelty factor.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:49 AM on August 15, 2009


Yesterday I got involved in a long, at times somewhat heated discussion with two close friends of mine, men who are vastly more intelligent and articulate than I am, about this issue. I'm of the mind that Vick shouldn't be playing, while they took the stance (echoed by many here) that denying Vick the chance to play in the NFL constitutes extra punishment, which is not something that should be within the NFL's purview, and they argued -- like many here -- that my anger should be directed toward the judge who sentenced Vick.

I couldn't come up with any good counters to their arguments, especially since I opened the discussion by admitting that I'm normally a forgive and forget kind of person. But after someone way upthread mentioned Donte Stallworth, I investigated his case to see why Goodell is treating him so differently from Vick, and I think I'm now better armed to explain my opposition to Vick's reinstatement.

It's the goddamn lying -- on the NFL's part, not Vick's.

Goodell and the Eagles can go on and on about the nobility of allowing Vick a second chance and all that, but when you contrast the treatment of Vick with that of Stallworth and you consider that Vick Eagles jerseys are already moving at high volume, it starts to look a lot like money had more of a role to play in Vick's reinstatement than the milk of human kindness. Stallworth doesn't move merch or put butts in seats, Vick does. So Stallworth gets a one year suspension -- even though he's paid his debt to society just like Vick has; and, unlike Vick, he has no noteworthy prior criminal activity on his record -- while Vick will play by Week 7 at the latest.

If you examine the circumstance of their crimes, Stallworth comes off looking a lot better than Vick. In fact, the things that transform Stallworth's accident from a tragic event into a crime are not too different from what a larger number than anyone would feel comfortable discussing of the NFL's fans probably do when leaving the games they pay so much money to dress up for and attend: he drove slightly over the speed limit (50 in a 40) with more alcohol in him than lawmakers have deemed safe for vehicle operation. I encounter people doing 50 in 40 mph zones every single morning on my way to work. I'm pretty sure many of the drivers I see Monday - Friday would find it hard to avoid a man darting into traffic from between parked cars. Note that I'm not trying to put a halo on Stallworth, I'm just trying to point out that Goodell's extra punishment of Stallworth seems very strange when contrasted with his treatment of Vick.

So while I believe my friends when they talk about second chances, I don't for a minute buy what Goodell and the Eagles are telling me.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:57 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I asked my grandmother about this one when we were talking about vegetarianism, and she agreed - her father, a coal miner in Harlan County in the 30s, didn't usually have much meat beyond fatback for seasoning; she worked in the fields then herself and ate the same.


I'm sure that's true but surely you're not advocating the "Coal Miner's Diet"
Do you really think he was getting the diet he needed to do that kind of work?


Historically it has been done on a bellyful of beans and cornbread, though. It's only in the past 60 years or so that manual laborers and poor people have been able to afford to eat meat regularly.


Historically people haven't been paid enough to live. Historically people have been slaves. Historically I'm guessing they would have liked to have had a steak.
posted by nola at 11:03 AM on August 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't think you can cut off clearly relevant material from the discussion in order to not look like you're ignoring or walking past 10,000 instances of horrible animal cruelty to focus on 50 or 60 or however many.

Should people not get worked up about particular child abuse cases here when there are so many instances of organized child abuse in the world? Should they only get to be upset if they don't wear shoes and shirts made by child slave labor in Third World countries?


When I first saw people elsewhere frothing at the mouth over this, I wished I could link them to one of those sex offender mashups that shows you sex offenders all around your house. You know, because that info is readily available and gosh darnit lookit - guys who have committed sex crimes, some against children, and they are working and living in your community. And here you are frothing at the mouth because some dude is throwing a football to a guy.

If someone is walking, driving by and living near a clear systematic organization of child abuse, then yes, they would look like a damn fool for singling out one dude who was convicted, went to jail and is now trying to get a job and make amends. If you're driving by McAbusers, passing by Wendy's Sweatshop and making a stop at the local grocery store that is you have zero doubt is making executives rich off of child abuse, and you go C. Bale on some ex-con who abused .0000000000006 of the amount of kids this industry has - yes in my eyes that is cause for someone trying to get you to see how dumb that is.

The organization, the system, the industrial methods - those are what need to be targeted. Already there are levels - a lack of protest and the systematized animal torture being legal. But on top of that, think about those facilities. They didn't spring up overnight.

The ways to alter the chicken's growth, the meetings upon meetings held to decide which way is the best to fatten up the chicken, dooming its entire life to be a genetic freak, not even capable of walking more than a few steps. Animals were tested, reports sent back and forth. Men spent months, years adding more and more layers of systems that add to the abuses. They make money, billions of dollars off this. And people are spending time protesting some soon-to-be washed up in 5 years ball player. I am sorry, but that is lazy at best, flat out stupid at worst. If I lived near philly I would drive down there with a laptop and show each one of those people out there where the real fight is.
posted by cashman at 11:30 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you like the house you live in? People like me built your house. Manual labor is hard physical work that can't get done on a belly full of bean sprouts...

I worked my way through college in construction on a vegetarian diet--worked full-time. There's far more to vegetarianism than bean sprouts. I'm middle-aged now, and my weight has never fluctuated much since high school. You can bet the majority of my meat-eating co-workers (then and now) couldn't say the same. Both intuition and my eyeballs tell me few Americans suffer from being underweight. Think about that when you start saying silly things like bean sprouts.
posted by belvidere at 11:45 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Goodell and the Eagles can go on and on about the nobility of allowing Vick a second chance and all that, but when you contrast the treatment of Vick with that of Stallworth and you consider that Vick Eagles jerseys are already moving at high volume, it starts to look a lot like money had more of a role to play in Vick's reinstatement than the milk of human kindness.

Especially since two years ago, when Vick was finally pleading guilty to dogfighting Jeffrey Lurie said no one involved in dogfighting would ever play for the team, he boasted about cutting two players (minor talents) who were charged with animal cruelty. Vick is the same person from 2007, but now Lurie can see his way to signing him? I haven't heard a single voice of dissent come the NFL players or coaches; the only opposing opinions have been from animal rights groups, especially PETA, groups who are easily dismissed by NFL fans. I think this is primarily about the rehabilitation of the NFL brand and a demonstration that Goodell's tough love and new player personal conduct code works.

I've been an Eagles fan and a football fan since I was a little girl, my whole family bonds over of the team. I can only hope this signing inplodes the team and gives Lurie a decent reason to fire Andy Reid and Joe Banner in the end.

Also, fuck Tony Dungy who expects me to understand his hesitation and religious objections to having openly gay players in the league, but he'd like to me to understand and forgive Michael Vick. And, maybe buy some merch to get in the spirit.
posted by gladly at 11:47 AM on August 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


I worked my way through college in construction on a vegetarian diet--worked full-time.

May I ask what you line of construction?
posted by nola at 11:52 AM on August 15, 2009


*May I ask you what line of construction?
posted by nola at 11:54 AM on August 15, 2009


May I ask what you line of construction?
Painting: both exterior and interior. 5'' 8' 145 pounds. I clicked your profile, and I see you're a drywaller. That's hard work. Painting isn't as physically demanding, but it is far more physically demanding than most occupations. Climbing up and down ladders all day; rolling paint onto very large walls; spraying large surfaces: those are all very physical. There were many days I came home physically wiped out, but I remained in very good shape. Honestly, I think the "I have to eat meat or I would starve" argument is hogwash. Take a look at a draft horse. Not one has ever eaten meat.
posted by belvidere at 12:06 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oops. That should be 5 feet 8 inches. Man, I'm a lousy previewer.
posted by belvidere at 12:08 PM on August 15, 2009



I'm sure that's true but surely you're not advocating the "Coal Miner's Diet"
Do you really think he was getting the diet he needed to do that kind of work?


Given that he lived through being crushed from the chest down in a mine cave-in, was left on a stretcher overnight to die because no one thought he would live and there were other people to tend, and then survived for another 20 years or so (died of lung cancer in his 60s), it sounds like he stayed pretty damned healthy on that diet. Or there's other coal-mining great-grandfather, who at that way all his life and died of pneumonia at 86 after having some weird-ass family fight and moving out of the house into the chicken coop. Lots of long-lived manual laborers in my family on that diet. If you want a full inventory, I can keep going for quite a while.
posted by dilettante at 12:09 PM on August 15, 2009


Lots of long-lived manual laborers in my family on that diet. If you want a full inventory, I can keep going for quite a while.

It would seem that a person could survive privation, but that is hardly a shining example for going without. Maybe they didn't have running water or medicine, maybe the winters in Harlan KY were harsh and they didn't have adequate shelter.
I know an old guy from Harlan, he tells a story about going to town with his cousin and going into a diner. This big fella comes in and orders coffee, the lady brings it to him and he drinks it down. Then he reaches into his overcoat and pulls out a revolver puts the empty mug over the barrel lifts it up over his head and blows the cup to bits. "Next time I order coffee, better bring me a spoon" he says. A bunch of hired security for the coal mining company take him outside and beat him. Charlie says people lived hard, and played hard in Harlan. "They didn't know if the was going to live to see anothe day."

I'll refraise my earlier statement and say that while it may be possible to do physically exhausting labor without the benefits of meat in your diet, it hardly proves that it would be optimal. Not many people choose to exclude meat from their diet in that case.

It's all very well and good to lecture about what can be done, it's another thing to do it.
I pick up close to 3,500 LB of Sheetrock a day, overhead, up on walls, driving nails, cutting board and running like hell in anywere from 30 to 100 degree weather.

I'm not telling you what you should eat. What I am saying is I work hard and burn it at both ends and I'm not going to eat 3lb of chickpeas a night to do it.

I don't eat meat for "titillation", was my point and I think it's kind of crappy for someone to imply that there is no good reason for a person to eat meat.


Steak (100grams) = 30g of protein give or take.

Chick peas (200g or 7oz) 16.0g
posted by nola at 12:55 PM on August 15, 2009


good point, trueluk. I never eat a chicken unless it has been thrashed to death by the talons of another chicken in mortal combat.

I don't eat a chicken unless it has fallen off the tree on its own.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:33 PM on August 15, 2009


Take a look at a draft horse. Not one has ever eaten meat.

That's a ridonkulous argument. A draft horse couldn't digest meat if it wanted to. It couldn't even chew it, lacking incisors and all.

Nor could a human live on an ALL CARROT AND OAT diet. If you want people to put down the "bean sprouts" argument, do go around saying "But horses don't eat meat!" Humans don't graze in fields, sleep standing up, or walk around on all fours. Whales don't eat meat either, but humans can't live on all-plankton diets.

This is like an absurdist argument taken to the point where it's practically dada in the amount of sense that it makes.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:03 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whales don't eat meat either, but humans can't live on all-plankton diets.

Killer whales and sperm whales don't eat meat? I could add more the list. BTW, I was pointing out the absurdity of believing that--as a human being--if you don't eat meat, then you will waste away to nothing. I am a prime example, yes? You did read the whole post, didn't you? Human beings are omnivores, and can choose to not eat meat, and everything will be fine. I don't believe Mountain Gorillas eat meat either, and we are--evolutionarily-speaking--very closely related. There is nothing absurdist about it.
posted by belvidere at 3:27 PM on August 15, 2009


How do you think we're going to treat a dog-torturing, ex-con, SOB like Vick?

Buy season tickets and merchandise? Come on, this is Philadelphia, where the fans throw snow balls and batteries at Santa Claus.

I just take issue with the idea that Vick shouldn't even get a chance at making good.

He should have a chance to make good. But I take issue with the automatic expectation that we must all ignore what he did and carry on as if he did nothing wrong.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:40 PM on August 15, 2009



It would seem that a person could survive privation, but that is hardly a shining example for going without.


That they survived that long and remained that strong is not an argument that heavy manual labor can be done without needing to eat meat to stay healthy? Or are you just trying to say that (real) hillbillies are/were a different species from flatlanders?
posted by dilettante at 3:51 PM on August 15, 2009


Chickpeas are the shit.
posted by cashman at 4:18 PM on August 15, 2009


But can they throw long?
posted by mediareport at 4:28 PM on August 15, 2009


He should have a chance to make good. But I take issue with the automatic expectation that we must all ignore what he did and carry on as if he did nothing wrong.

Fair enough, and I agree completely. I, in no way, want to be associated with the likes of these two stupid motherfuckers.
posted by effwerd at 5:01 PM on August 15, 2009


That they survived that long and remained that strong is not an argument that heavy manual labor can be done without needing to eat meat to stay healthy?

I took your anecdote about family longevity at face value because I'm sure you wouldn't make that up. But even you can't attest to their strength or lack of strength, you have know way to gauge such a claim.

What I'm talking about is quality of life. I'm talking anecdotally about when I've been to broke to buy food and was simply living off what ever was left in the pantry, beans mostly and no meat at all. I lost 20 LB in a week going from 150 ('6) to 130. I know what it feels like working on a meager diet, it makes hard labor simply awful. What I'm claiming is you might feel different about the subject if you did the kind of work I do, or the kind of work milions of people do, notwithstanding their ability to survive the very real privation of such a paring.

But I know that doesn't mean anything to you. I undestand your possition, you think it's wrong to eat meat and everyone can and should live without it. I get it, I just don't agree.

Or are you just trying to say that (real) hillbillies are/were a different species from flatlanders?

This is a uncordial approach to the discussion, and only reaffirms my impression that you're being unreasonable, making me very disinclined to give any consideration to your point of view. I think we'll just have to agree to disagree about this subject.
posted by nola at 5:15 PM on August 15, 2009


But even you can't attest to their strength or lack of strength, you have know way to gauge such a claim.

Dunno, but I don't think too many people in poor health or weak from poor diet would have survived those injuries or even those jobs.

you think it's wrong to eat meat and everyone can and should live without it. I get it, I just don't agree.

Except I haven't said that. You said you had to eat meat to do heavy labor, and I said that isn't true and provided specific examples. This whole discussion is a derail, though.
posted by dilettante at 5:24 PM on August 15, 2009


Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and say "If you're working construction you don't need to eat meat - look at draft horses, they don't eat meat and they're wicked strong!" is pretty damn absurdist.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:23 PM on August 15, 2009


Jesus. "If you're working construction, surely you must need to eat meat" is about as absurdist as it gets.
posted by mediareport at 6:46 PM on August 15, 2009


I'm going to sick my fighting pit bulls on all y'all.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:48 PM on August 15, 2009


Bullfrogs eat flies all day and have you ever seen how big those babies can get? Hell I once saw a bullfrog jump over a Buick.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:48 PM on August 15, 2009


Fuck Vick, fuck the NFL, and fuck the media & their 24/7 Vick channel.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:57 PM on August 15, 2009


I, in no way, want to be associated with the likes of these two stupid motherfuckers .

FWIW, giving Vick a clean slate is pretty much doing what these two stupid motherfuckers want. So be it. The masses of America have spoken.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:53 PM on August 15, 2009


Yeah - making the point that dogfighting a culturally accepted practice in many parts of America, and that respected businesspeople like politicians and judges are surely partaking in many areas of the American South, so why should Vick be singled out and treated like this is some kind of interstellar anomaly. The two morons! Jeez they're dumb. That makes no sense at all! It's pretty damn absurdist.
posted by cashman at 10:07 PM on August 15, 2009


Everyone wins a prize for understanding a point of view they themselves don't hold and overcoming their own narrow perspective there by gaining the vantage point necessary to judge everything as it is and finally sort out who the real evil assholes are great job!
posted by nola at 10:35 PM on August 15, 2009


My pit bulls are trained to go straight for the nads, just so you know.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:37 PM on August 15, 2009


Bullfrogs eat flies all day and have you ever seen how big those babies can get?

I found a lizard in my house a few days ago. It was an anole*, a baby one. I tried to shoo it out the door, but it crawled into a crawl space and wouldn't leave. So now I may have a dead baby anole in my apartment.

*pronouced "ah no lee", like canole, but not as tasty
posted by dirigibleman at 10:47 PM on August 15, 2009


Don't worry, that little color changing guy will get big eating bugs in your apartment.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:50 PM on August 15, 2009


FWIW, giving Vick a clean slate is pretty much doing what these two stupid motherfuckers want.

Yes, well, it's your opinion that re-entering the NFL effectively gives Vick a clean slate, not mine. I'm not too concerned with how things seem to be for Vick. I never said we must automatically ignore what he did as if he did nothing wrong. I never said anyone isn't allowed to question the appropriateness of Vick's resigning. And I'm certain that what I've expressed in this thread is in no way equivalent to flippant disregard for animal torture. If you want to equate all of that with my opinion, fine, but that doesn't leave much for me to do, since I'm not going defend positions I don't hold.
posted by effwerd at 11:55 PM on August 15, 2009


Yeah - making the point that dogfighting a culturally accepted practice in many parts of America, and that respected businesspeople like politicians and judges are surely partaking in many areas of the American South, so why should Vick be singled out and treated like this is some kind of interstellar anomaly. The two morons! Jeez they're dumb. That makes no sense at all! It's pretty damn absurdist.

Just to be sure: is this sarcasm to ridicule my hyperbolic characterization of those idiots? Because "culturally accepted" is pure bullshit. It's a felony in 48 states, there are federal laws that override the other two, and the history of laws against animal cruelty go back to the 1800s. The maximum federal sentence for Vick's crime was 198 years in prison and 16.5 million in fines. In Georgia, the maximum was 330 years in prison and 330K in fines.
posted by effwerd at 12:33 AM on August 16, 2009


Eagles fans booed Santa. (But claim he had it coming.)
posted by kirkaracha at 7:44 AM on August 16, 2009


Because "culturally accepted" is pure bullshit.

I could go on and on about copyright laws and talk about the incredible amounts the RIAA is getting in cases. Talk about how it has never been legal to steal music, and how there are commercials, print ads and loads of legislation set up against it. But that doesn't stop music downloading from being the culturally accepted practice it is.

There have been speeding laws on the books for umpteen years. There are campaigns, wreckage displays, fines, all sorts of measures that have a long history. Speeding is still a culturally accepted practice.

Drinking and driving (not driving drunk/over the limit) is as well, and I'm sure we all know how serious the campaign is there. But people go to parties and drink, and then drive home. They watch football and drink, and drive home. Entire stadiums full of people with loads and loads of them drinking, and then driving home. Oh people get upset about driving drunk, but there's a nice line there because I can't tell you how many functions I've been to and seen people drink and then get into a car. I don't know how many times it was technically illegal because I don't have a breathalyzer I keep in my car. But I do know that nobody bats an eye to see loads of people who just drank, leave a sporting event and get into their cars. Now if they then have a wreck while intoxicated, even if legally, then it gets chalked up as something horrible.

A lot of things are technically illegal but still culturally accepted practices. I loved reading about the idea that this remains a structural sort of thing that allows law enforcement the maximum flexibility. Check out On The Take if you haven't already.

I don't watch dog fights. I did spend a good amount of time in the South growing up. When this whole thing first started, I saw a ton of people (in all places) basically saying "what did he do wrong?" And the idea is like that's kind of crappy, but nothing anybody should be doing jail time for. I don't think you would have seen those "idiots" in the video you linked discussing the matter the way they did if this was something that nobody was accepting of except evil underworld circuits. Chris Rock (you can call him an idiot too I guess) has been saying these same things basically, and laughing at what he perceives to be the hypocrisy of it all.

Perhaps you're thinking of a larger American culture (if there is such a thing), but I'm referring to the culture of many areas in the South, or at least, apparently, not the culture you're envisioning. And no it's not some criminal underworld, "the hood" or anything like that - it is average people who drive right by an individual harming animals the same way other people drive right by industries harming animals.
posted by cashman at 8:23 AM on August 16, 2009


Perhaps you're thinking of a larger American culture (if there is such a thing), but I'm referring to the culture of many areas in the South, or at least, apparently, not the culture you're envisioning. And no it's not some criminal underworld, "the hood" or anything like that - it is average people who drive right by an individual harming animals the same way other people drive right by industries harming animals.

I dunno. I grew up in Kentucky, and have lived in this state most of my life. Dogfighting is something you sometimes hear about on the news, but no one you know ever has anything to do with it. I grew up in a neighborhood of poor hillbillies who had come down from the mountains, and I am now doing quite well, but this kind of thing would have shocked people in the old neighborhood or in any place I've lived or worked since. Certainly unthinkable in the current neighborhood. It does seem to be some underground subculture, at least to those of us in the cities, and then is otherwise some weird rural thing. I honestly can't imagine it would be tolerated in the larger culture at all, it's more like running a meth lab than speeding or even drunk driving.
posted by dilettante at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2009


Ok, not to derail this fascinating discussion of the cruelty of eating meat...

I'm a die hard Eagles fan. I grew up watching the Eagles all across the country, no matter where we lived. I bleed green. I live in Philly.

Among my family members is a rescued Pit Bull named Brody. She's a sweet, wonderful dog.

1) Mike Vick is a lousy quarterback, who happens to be a great runner. He is extremely quick and agile, and has an uncanny way of picking his way down a field. A rainmaker at WR would be a huge win, assuming McNabb can improve his accuracy (hint: he can't). Maybe there is some super sekrit Wildcat strategy going on here, but I would think that is transparent to opposing defenses by now. So what the hell are we trying to do that requires Michael Vick? Nothing. This move makes no sense till you look at the details of the contract. The Eagles got an elite athlete for $1.6mil for one year and an option for a second. Which makes perfect cents.

The Eagles essentially sold out.

2) Character DOES matter. This is the NFL... something millions of young men aspire to be a part of, dedicate their lives to pursuing, and sacrifice their bodies for. When I wake up on Sunday during football season, I'm usually singing the Eagles fight song, and I'm doing it sincerely and without irony. The Eagles, like MOST NFL teams, are constantly trying to give back to their communities whenever possible. Make a Wish programs, Breast Cancer awareness, Youth and Environmental programs are all constantly supported by the team in both the on and off seasons. The are passionate about our city and our fans, and make constant efforts to give back more than they take. Men like McNabb, (formerly) Brian Dawkins, and Brian Westbrook maintain noble public personas, because they are good, humble people who honestly feel blessed to have the opportunities they have.

Michael Vicks character is not in the same league. Shit, we fired Terrel Owens because he couldn't play nice with others, but we're willing to give some psycho a shot if the price is right?

3) Dogfighting is an abomination. It is more akin to child abuse than it is to eating meat. Michael Vick tortured his animals for sport. Period. He abused his power over the powerless. Period. He passed on every opportunity he had to ease the suffering that was staring him in the face. He enjoyed it, and he profited from it. And now he's coming to a city where pitbull breeding and fighting is a very real problem. Our kennels are filled with pitts. Brody was running out of time when we rescued her. She'd been bred, got sick, and was turned loose on the street. She wasn't a part of any family. My dog was left to die because she had lost her utility.

4) Everyone deserves a second chance. Andy Reid has been trying to convince us all of that every time he has to bail his kids out of jail for DUIs or possession. (conjecture alert!) I suspect that the past few years of dealing with his kids has softened him. Lets be honest for a minute here: Second chances are for rich ex-cons. Anyone else wouldn't get past a job application with Michael Vicks record. So clearly, A Second Chance doesn't mean you get to pick up exactly where you left off. I'm not directing my anger at Mike Vick; I have no idea if he's repentant or not. I'm super pissed at Andy Reid and Jeff Laurie (head coach and owner, resp), because they offered up MY EAGLES to be the place that Vick gets to put his life back together. This is a top tier team with one of the most devoted fan bases in the league, so why here? Oh right, it's a good deal. Have no misgivings about this: it is not about giving Vick a second chance, it's about what you can get for your salary cap.

So now, assuming Michael Vick is fully re-instated in the league, I can look forward to hating my own team every time he takes the field. We can look forward to a divided fan base. We can look forward to PETA protests at The Linc, and awkward questions from our children. We lowered the bar. I have to seriously consider, for the first time in my life as an Eagles fan, if I really WANT to follow them this year.

For what? A shot at a Super Bowl ring?
posted by butterstick at 10:16 AM on August 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


I would consider drinking and driving maybe individually tolerable to some but I definitely wouldn't consider it acceptable in a cultural sense. Same with political corruption. It just feels like by your logic, if some good ol' boy was talking about how "killin' neegras" is a part of their cultural heritage so what's the big deal about chaining one up to the back of a truck and driving him around for a couple of miles, that it would be somehow unfair of me to characterize him as a stupid motherfucker.
posted by effwerd at 12:12 PM on August 16, 2009


Yeah I kind of figured that example was coming next. But I think murder, attached to the long history of civil rights in this country isn't even something you can try to act like is culturally acceptable by an actual community of normal people in the last 50 years. But to extend that example, if some dude had done that, spent a commensurate time in prison, and then started talking about how what he did was wrong, all the while there was an entire industry devoted to "killin negras", and it was well known that politicians and judges and a bunch of other people were doing it and making incredible sums of money. Yes, I would be like screw this guy, how about we go after the real problem.

That blog of the "LA Fitness" killer got put up and there was so much talk about learning from what he had to say. Here you have two NFL players giving some pretty nifty insight into cultural norms and societal ideals, speaking to the examination of value systems - which I followed up with some anecdotal evidence that there are many, many people out here who to this day think him going to jail is a joke - and those guys are proclaimed stupid motherfuckers.

I'm not saying you have to agree with them, but when I clicked through, I guess I expected actual stupidity, instead of an opinion that you don't agree with, and ideas presented that go against yours. That's not idiocy or stupidity to me, that's the discussion of a topic with answers and information that appear to be foreign to you. I submit to you that these ideas and feelings may not be as rare as you think, among common people.
posted by cashman at 2:05 PM on August 16, 2009


I would imagine the moral distance between downloading music and systematic dog torture is much greater than between systematic dog torture and murder. But whatever. If the word "stupid" is beyond the pale for you, consider it withdrawn and my opinion of them simply applies to their familial sexual habits.
posted by effwerd at 6:16 PM on August 16, 2009


Hey, if you think they're stupid, go for it. Rather than convince you not to call them names, I was hoping you'd consider the ideas that were presented. Clinton Portis has a neck the size of a VW, so maybe he's dumb as a box of lugnuts. I'm just saying those ideas weren't idiotic.

Anyway, Donovan McNabb blogged about the situation today.

Here is a portion of it:
Michael and I have known each other since the time I was asked to host him on his visit to Syracuse University. Anybody that’s ever been through that knows that current college athletes are asked to spend time with possible recruits who are similar or share something in common (play the same position, come from the same part of the country, etc.). During that time, I had a chance to get to know Michael pretty well. And, although he decided to go to Virginia Tech, we kept in touch and remained friends.

Fast forward to today – I know what Michael was accused and convicted of and I don’t like it at all. I have had dogs all my life and consider myself a dog-lover. I am in no way excusing Michael for what happened but he was punished for his crime. He served his time and, at least I believe, has learned from it. I believe Michael is a changed person and that he deserves a chance at putting his life back together. A life, now, that will include being an activist to stop cruelty to animals.
Also, obviously, Vick was on 60 minutes facing questions from James Brown. For me, I am completely fine with what has happened and I think it is fair. A telling moment that speaks to what I was mentioning, is when Vick says the police rolled up to a scene (presumably thinking there was a disturbance), saw it was a dogfight instead, and they left.
posted by cashman at 9:34 PM on August 16, 2009


I'm just saying those ideas weren't idiotic.

I'm not going to see apologia of some criminal subculture as anything but idiotic. And I think any claim that they rise to the level of culture is foolish.
posted by effwerd at 11:16 PM on August 16, 2009




One of my favorite dogs is a pitbull mix (but mostly and strongly pitbull) in Alaska. Fiercely protective, a fine hunter, but a total softy at home. He is surrounded by babies and toddlers much of the time, and in his 9 years of life he has never shown any aggression to a child. He sits with his head on my lap whenever I'm hanging out in his home, slobbering happily and doing his best to direct my hands to the sweet spots behind his ears. And if there were ever a dog I'd count on to save a child (or me) from a threat at the cost of its own life (and up there that could happen easily with a bear) it would be this one. He can jump four feet from a crouch and if he does sink his teeth into something (especially a piece of meat, since he's often nearby during butchering of the hunt) you will not, ever, be able to get it away from his grip. One of the best tempered dogs I've ever known, absolutely responsive to commands and quite intelligent.

There is nothing inherently bad about the breed.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:50 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is nothing inherently bad about the breed.

No bad breeds, only bad owners.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:09 PM on August 17, 2009


You can't make a general conclusion based on an isolated anecdote.
posted by rocket88 at 1:01 PM on August 17, 2009


The dogs make me smile, and I am so glad to see that patient, supportive, caring people are helping them come back from what they were put through.

I saw one of the dogs on TV, and the poor animal was so scared he would hide, afraid even to be in the same room with the sweet lady trying to show this scarred animal that no, she was not going to hurt him, or throw him in a pit with another dog to be attacked. His terror was just palpable, and after thirty seconds of watching him, despite having a house full of cats, I wanted to run down and adopt him myself.

How anyone could have been so heartless with these animals, which were either made to fight to the death or brutally killed for not being vicious enough to last in the pit, just floors me. I know that Vick "paid his debt to society," but I can't help feeling like there is something just wrong or missing in Vick in the first place for him even to partake in viciousness like this. He had a contract for millions of dollars, and yet he still did not step away.

In the face of all that, his 'remorse' now is like a teardrop in the ocean.
posted by misha at 4:12 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


HEY! STOP MAKING VEGETARIANS LOOK BAD, THIS THREAD!
posted by tehloki at 5:17 PM on August 17, 2009


http://www.ted.com/talks/mike_rowe_celebrates_dirty_jobs.html

Cutting off, biting off testicles of animals. Not only done, a celebrated ted talk, applauded. I love it.
posted by cashman at 8:19 PM on August 20, 2009


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