- The Washington Times - Friday, November 28, 2008

It is time for the most vitriolic animal rights supporters to move beyond the matter of Michael Vick.

That undoubtedly is a difficult proposition for them given the massive public relations benefits that have come their way because of Vick’s dogfighting case.

Animal rights activists and dog lovers became one in their contempt of Vick while his legal manueverings were being played out on the national stage in 2007 even though most dog lovers would be at odds with many of the extreme positions of PETA and like-minded groups.

Vick’s case drew nearly universal condemnation, and now he is paying for his crime in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan.

He appeared before a Sussex, Va., judge earlier this week to plead guilty to a state dogfighting charge after cutting a deal that should expedite his bid to resume his previously bright football career.

Surry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald Poindexter expressed the sentiment that enough is enough after making the deal with Vick’s attorneys that spared their client additional prison time.

Vick is serving a 23-month prison sentence and has lost much of his vast fortune while there through bad advice, needy family members and the questionable practices of those entrusted with guarding his riches.

Vick, who declared bankruptcy in July, filed a mind-numbing account earlier this month that detailed how he has squandered $17.7 million in the two years preceding his Chapter 11 petition.

This spending spree has come about with Vick behind bars the last year and earning 12 cents an hour as an employee of the state.

That is adding monetary insult to the emotional injury of prison and begs the question: Who needs enemies with friends, family members and trusted ones managing your financial portfolio in slipshod fashion?

Otherwise, Vick is on track to be released from prison on July 20, 2009, in time to catch on with the upstart United Football League, assuming NFL commissioner Roger Goodell greets the former quarterback of the Falcons with a one-year suspension.

The price imposed on Vick - the prison sentence, the bankruptcy and what would be a three-year gap in his NFL career if Goodell suspends him - is not apt to satisfy the animal rights activists.

His case has been too good for them to be content with seeking the humane treatment of rats in urban centers and protesting the culling of swelling deer herds in suburbia.

They showed up outside the courthouse in Sussex earlier this week to remind the media that they plan to monitor Vick’s actions after he has been released from prison.

It is not enough that he will have paid his debt to society. It is not enough that his road back to the NFL will be fraught with potential pitfalls, especially if his judgment remains suspect.

No, he must become a spokesperson of their cause. He must be forever repentant, so long as his fame burns bright enough to be exploited by those with a narrow agenda.

That is hardly in the American spirit of granting even the most repugnant among us the opportunity to demonstrate they have learned from the error of their ways.

It is safe to say that Vick will never run another dogfighting operation. It is equally safe to say that wherever he lands in a football uniform, his past will not be forgotten by the media and the public.

His notoriety is certain to haunt him at least in the beginning stages of his comeback, and how he handles the media inquisition will determine in large measure how he is perceived in his new venue.

Remaining contrite will ease the process. Being combative will only add to his comeback woes, not the least of which will be how he responds to a two-year layoff from football.

This week marked a significant step forward in Vick’s new life.

Whether he takes up with PETA in his new life will not be the deciding element of his rehabilitation.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide