Michael Vick: Do you forgive him his dog murdering ways?

Michael Vick is a cruel and vicious torturer and killer…or is he forgiven his trespasses?

I field phone calls fairly regularly from publications and news outlets asking for comments and clarifications on columns, posts and random articles that I’ve written. Last week’s solicitation, however, came out of the blue. Why was ESPN magazine ringing? I mean, it’s not exactly a bastion of mainstream animal information, right?

michael vick do you forgive him madmikesamerica

It could be only one thing, I finally decided: It’s to do with Michael Vick.

No shock there. Over the past couple of years I’ve written several columns and posts on Mr. Vick’s criminal escapades and tenuous grasp of morality with respect to animal life. And Vick, star-powered football player that he is, is still very much in the spotlight. So why not reprise this incendiary subject, the ESPN folks must have figured, as they planned an entire issue to do with Vick and his exploits. The public, it would seem, is still hungry to hash it out.

Again … no shock there. What was somewhat surprising, however, was ESPN’s line of questioning. Instead of digging for moral indignation (as you’d expect a sporting news publication might in this case), it turns out the search was on for a more nuanced approach to this polarizing subject.

Which is why when the senior editor reached me, the first thing she asked for was my take on why some animal people seem constitutionally incapable of forgiving Michael Vick of his crimes. What is it, she probed, that keeps some of us so galvanized against him, despite his highly publicized overtures for forgiveness? Sometimes it even seems as if the more he pleads, the more we want to squash his televised face beneath our boots.

I, for one, totally get the Vick-intolerant POV. Though I think I can muster enough of an ecumenical perspective to temper my formal opinions with a more relaxed take on the subject, I don’t have much of a problem with those who believe Vick’s sins are inexcusable.

After all, it’s one thing to play morbid games with a dying frog when you’re eight years old. It’s quite another to engage in the systematic abuse of dogs as a twenty-something college graduate.

Yet I’m not intractable on the subject either. So it is that when ESPN asked me point-blank what I thought about the subject of Vick’s forgiveness, that I was able to offer a roughly-worded blanket statement:

I don’t blame those who believe Vick’s crimes are indefensible and unforgivable. The fact that these crimes were levied against some of our society’s most innocent victims is what drives the extreme moral indignation that attends this issue. Much like crimes against babies, children, and other innocents, this abusive transgression of Vick’s elicits especially strong reactions among a huge swath of society.

Increasingly, humans are willing to liken crimes against animals to crimes against humans. In years past, such a parallel would draw jeers of indignation from those among us who felt that crimes against humans and animals could not be legitimately compared. Given recent advances in modern psychological research, however, it would seem that animal advocates have been vindicated: It’s becoming increasingly clear that those who would abuse animals are similarly predisposed to the abuse of humans —  young children, in particular.

Not that this has anything to do with Vick’s particular failings. As far as we know, he’s all about the fighting dogs and naught to do with abused babies or children. But here’s my point: I do believe that when those among us who hold sharply critical, unforgiving POVs against Vick as a free citizen and millionaire footballer, it’s because we just can’t stand the stench of anyone who could muster enough inhumanity to abuse an innocent. Any innocent.

Here’s what I told the ESPN people:


I want to be careful not to conflate crimes against animals with crimes against children and babies, but let’s nonetheless be clear on this: Those who engage in the former have been shown to possess a predisposition to crimes against the latter. And, ultimately, the reality is that our abhorrence of crimes against animals is very similar to our disgust over crimes against human children. After all, they’re all innocent.

So it is that this seemingly irrational lack of forgiveness on the part of so many animal lovers is perhaps more than it might initially appear. Perhaps it’s more to do with the fundamental human inability to discern a difference between anti-child and anti-animal crimes that makes for this particular brand of unforgivingly staunch anti-Vickness. Once a child-beater, always a child-beater. After all, there are some things in society we DO NOT forgive.



Dr. Patty Khuly

Many thanks to Pawz Cause for the Michael Vick pictures ….

Pic of the day: Konas Puppies 018 by dalechumbley

puppy, pitbull puppy, animal abuse, michael vick

So tell us…do you forgive Michael Vick?  I don’t forgive Michael Vick and never will.

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Posted by on August 23, 2011. Filed under Animals,CRITTER TALK. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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29 Responses to Michael Vick: Do you forgive him his dog murdering ways?

  1. Dorothy Anderson Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    What a powerful, well-reasoned post. Thank you for publishing your ESPN comment, which deserves repeating:

    I want to be careful not to conflate crimes against animals with crimes against children and babies, but let’s nonetheless be clear on this: Those who engage in the former have been shown to possess a predisposition to crimes against the latter.

    A 09.22.10 Baltimore Sun comment:

    Regardless of the circumstances, sending someone convicted of fatally beating his dog to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to serve out his sentence is akin to sending a male, convicted of spousal abuse, to the House of Ruth, to serve out his sentence. What were they thinking?

    No, I do not forgive Vick, and never will. I feel the same way about factory farming. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

  2. Brenda LeBlanc Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Not that I defend him in anyway,I do believe he grew up in an environment that encouraged and found nothing wrong with his behavior. I still believe people do what they do until they learn better. What he did in the past is indefensible but he has spent a lot of time and effort to show he has changed. If nothing else his punishment and the ongoing hate directed at him has the seeds of waking up those people who somehow consider dog fighting an acceptable pastime. It is entirely possible to hate the crime without hating the person. There is no hope for anyone if people really believe a person can’t learn from their mistakes and become better people because of them

    • sam Reply

      October 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

      bullshit, somone like tht would never change, whatever the ecscuse. eney one that can torcher animals will be a cold harted killer for the rest of there lifee, and they sould never be forgiven as they will never really under stand what they have done wrong, no one who dose tht to an animal could.

      iv never perposly hert and animal the only thing iv ever done was acserdentaly steped on my dogs foot.

      and if u where brout up with that kind of thing where the hell did u live?

    • S. Marit Reply

      February 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      You are completely misguided if you believe for one second that Vick has changed. There is a reason you have not seen anything in the media about Vick showing any concern for any of the dogs that were rescued from his home and that is because it has never happened. There is a reason why you will never see any remorse from Vick and that is because he has no remorse. He is not sorry for what he did to all those animals but only sorry he got caught. He now talks to school children. He is telling them “do as I say and not as I do”. He has no credibility whatsoever. He has not changed one tiny bit. The only reason he “donates” to animal charities is so that he can claim he has changed (Not to mention what was court ordered). Strange but not that long ago another of his team mates was charged with dog fighting and, although there is no direct proof, I would be willing to bet that player was taking his expertise directly from Vick. If you believe that Vick has changed you should really do some research into how much money he has spent on his PR firm in order to try to regain any reputation whatsoever. BTW it is his PR firm that got him the speaking engagement in Raleigh. (They are members of the Chamber of Commerce in Raleigh) All about the money.

    • halchka Reply

      February 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      I feel very, very sad for you; any human who does STILL not understand the correlation of animal TORTURE & the worst crimes in history against humans…just doesn’t have a soul. Poor, sad you.

  3. uzza Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    No. I’ll forgive him when his victims do.

    • halchka Reply

      February 9, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      PEFECTLY said Uzza!

  4. Bradley Scott Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I can neither condemn nor absolve Michael Vick. It’s not my place. Were his actions viscious, cruel and inhumane? Absolutely. I am no more swayed by his public appologies than can be offset by the outrage I feel at what he did to those dogs. I’m more of a ‘well, you’re that type of guy,’ person. I won’t be watching any Michael Vick games, unless he’s playing opposite the team I’m rooting for.
    I don’t watch Woody Allen movies, because he went cruising the hallways of his own home looking for dates. I don’t drink A/B products, because when their largest local distributor decided to screw the drivers working for them, A/B did nothing.

    • Dorothy Anderson Reply

      August 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      Bravo, Bradley. I wish more people practiced “Judge ye not.” Got a ways to go, I guess. I feel the same way about Woody Allen movies. I won’t see any Tom Cruise movies, either. You’ll never find me in a Wal*Mart. But, pardon my ignorance, what is A/B?

      • Bradley Scott Reply

        August 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm

        Anheuser-Busch. And concidering the antics of the heir-apparent to the Bush fortune, I’m glad I stopped drinking their beer years ago.

  5. Barbara Smith Reply

    February 7, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    No..I do not forgive Vick or any other animal abuser he systematically tortured and killed dozens of dogs what does it take for somebody to do that?!… to hold a dog’s head under water to hang them from a tree to anally electrocute them… it takes a sociopath and he doesn’t belong on this earth because they cannot be rehabilitated and he will do it again. Our animals are not safe well he is walking the earth.

  6. Shelley A. Reply

    February 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Here is my biggest problem with Vick. He was asked somewhat recently if he would change anything in his life. His answer was a shorter jail sentence. It infuriated me when he said that. He claims to have become a changed man, and after the Eagles gave a nice fat donation to the Humane Society of the United States they began supporting him, yet when he had a chance to say what he did was WRONG he didn’t. I don’t consider my animals on the same level as a humans, but I do FIRMLY believe it is my responsibility as a pet owner and agriculturist to treat them with respect and compassion while they are in my care.

  7. Marlene Reply

    February 7, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    No.. There are really some things in this world that really are unforgivable..

  8. Suzanna Campbell Reply

    February 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Forgiving vick is irrelevant. Hiring him to speak at a Champions if Excellence banquet, ambushing sponsors, NC State University, Paid Chamber Members is the highest form of cronyism and Harvey Schmitt should resign his role as President. This banquet is meant to honor young athletes. Schmitt admits that he considered the controversy of bringing vick, he refuses to disclose the sum being paid, and the resulting protest, boycotts hurt business in Raleigh. Shame on the not so Greater Raleigh Chamber and kudos to the businesses who have taken a stand.

    Do I forgive vick? Hmm. Associated with rapes in Blacksburg, convicted for interstate gambling, unsuccessful dog fighter, caught with drugs while on probation, associated with a shooting of a witness against him, filed bankruptcy after a wild spending spree for his entourage , Marcus vick, more interceptions/fumbles than any other QB in his last 12 starts, WHINER. Let’s put bit this way, how I feel about vick is irrelevant. The real question is why would anyone give a CRAP about this loser and why help him sell his story?

  9. QRM Reply

    February 8, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Wrong, Patty. There is nothing which should be beyond our forgiveness. Hate is like a cancer which destroys us from the inside, as Corrie ten Boom learned late in her life when she encountered one of the Camp’s most vicious guards who had become a Christian.

    “Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”
    ― Corrie ten Boom, “The Hiding Place”

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      February 8, 2014 at 11:36 am

      Jesus? If I’m going to look to a mythical being for forgiveness it would be Gandalf. Now he’s genuinely a kind, compassionate, and wise man.

    • Aretha Best Reply

      February 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      I find it all so hypocritical of the protesters. I mean, we live in “America” – the same country (people)that condoned and practiced HUMAN CRUELTY for how many years? Talk about an environment that encourages violence. Forgive me, but for me this whole thing invokes images of dogs being leashed on HUMANS – have we forgotten about the civil rights era just 50 years ago? But the protesters say the two are not the same. At least that’s what they told me when I told them I support Michael Vick and the Chamber. The same ones who are saying they will NEVER forgive are the same ones quoting scriptures about forgiveness and redemption. I know because I’ve seen their tweets. I would expect some backlash about all of this but from the comments I’ve read, it has gone way overboard. Just makes me think that some of these people (protesters) are angry about something else. What are these people really mad about?

      MVick didnt invent dogfighting. And unfortunately, he wont be the last. I bet the ones who did look nothing like him.

      • Michael John Scott Reply

        February 9, 2014 at 10:17 pm

        There’s no hypocrisy here because this post is about what Michael Vick did, and not about slavery, or racism as you imply. Clearly you are not a parent and certainly not an animal lover or you would not be defending Mr. Vick with such vigor. I believe you might be a shill for the chamber, but nonetheless you’re entitled to your opinion, and I am just hoping you will answer my question. Thanks again.

        • Aretha Best Reply

          February 10, 2014 at 12:15 am

          I represent no one but myself. I am just a citizen of the Triangle voicing my opinion. I was raised to be a critical thinker and not just go with the flow. So, because I do not agree with this protest, I don’t mind saying so. Ok. We won’t talk about slavery. That’s a touchy subject. I understand. Let’s just sit it on the back burner. Better still, let’s just take it off the stove. So, I’ll read the book you and a few others have suggested. I’m guessing you want me to change my POV. Will that make you happy? One more person that wants to see Michael Vick erased from history?? I have not once asked anybody to change their POV. In fact, I really don’t care if you change your POV or not. You’ve already asked the real question in a previous post. Fact is, forgiveness or redemption is not ours to give. It’s all just opinions. We all have them and are free to express them. The only thing I do ask people is, “What is the real issue?” Is it about Michael Vick’s redemption or about our unwillingness to forgive him? Let’s just round up all the lawbreakers and condemn them from society. Will that make everyone happy? Let’s just get rid of all the people that don’t agree with us? How about that. I hope out of all of this, it will cause ALL of us to think about the positions that we take and why. I always challenge my own positions so I’m always open to talk intelligently about them and not just sling around a bunch of rhetoric and name-calling. But I understand that everybody is not like me.

  10. Geo-Guy Reply

    February 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Regarding Gandalf’s being kind, compassionate, and wise: Why not follow that example? And remember that in the Animal Rescue world, the decision to take a chance on an animal often is made BEFORE it has earned this consideration through its behavior. Meanwhile, since contributors to this forum are not willing to extend this concept to humans, I’d say Michael Vick has made the right choice. It’s obvious that nothing he could ever do or say would satisfy the group. Therefore, he should ignore you and live his life as if you don’t exist, knowing there will be those who accept him and those who don’t.
    And since you invoked the name of the Wizard, decode this: WWGD.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      February 8, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      What would Gandalf do? He would cast Vick, the murderous dog torturer, into the mouth of Mount Doom, for some evil is too dark to ever show light.

  11. Lisa Kay Kovach Reply

    February 8, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you for writing a great article. I agree that people will not forgive Michael Vick. As a modern society, we correlate animal abusers as step 1, to child abuse as step 2, which usually goes hand in hand with domestic violence, step 3, and the last step on the ladder, the serial killer/murderer. He has never paid for the crime of animal abuse, that was negotiated in a plea bargain by a million dollar lawyer. He went to prison, but not for animal abuse.
    Recently I have been following the city of Raleigh, NC, whose Chamber of Commerce, has selected Michael Vick as a paid Keynote Speaker, for an Evening of Champions 2014, to honor young athletes. The fact that Michael Vick’s PR firm French/Vaughn/West, is from Raleigh and on the BOD for the Raleigh Chamber may have something to do with that decision.
    How the Great Raleigh Chamber of Commerce chose to select Michael Vick, has been questioned, and as of yesterday 2/7, they had over 70,000 signatures asking the Chamber of Commerce to replace Michael Vick, as he does not represent the image of a Champion, nor is he a fit speaker for future young athletes.
    Most people will say that all 70,000 people are animal advocates, but after reading the many posts, I believe they are morally appalled that Michael Vick will speaking to young future champions as a role model. What could he possibly share? How to cheat, lie, gamble,abuse animals and let your millions get you off the hook and an NFL contract? Take a moment and read for yourself. Send this to ESPN. Peaceful Protest of Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce (Raleigh, NC)

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      February 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      I just now published an article on this very subject Lisa. I hope you share it. Thanks.

  12. TP Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    No way!! He will never be forgiven in my eyes and should never speak to children or adults.

  13. Chester Reply

    February 10, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    IF he actually had changed, one of the things I imagine a millionaire would do would be to help pay for the medical care of the surviving dogs. A sincere offer at any rate, not something his PR company suggested.

  14. steven Reply

    February 11, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I can’t forgive him,that is the job of his victims,but I will be happy when someone sacks him and leaves him paralyzed from the neck down,

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