Should we listen to what Michael Vick has to say about dogfighting?

I’ve been deep in my writing cave and thus a little slow to pick up on all of the news, so it’s only recently that I read that Michael Vick is planning to star in a reality show. I’ve been thinking a lot about Michael Vick.

I am, obviously, a dog lover.  More than that, I think that our relationship with dogs is part of a sacred trust. When we take an animal into our homes, when we breed it to trust us and depend on us, we have a moral obligation to care for it as best we can. I think that the way we treat our dogs says a lot about who we are as people. And I think that people who throw dogs into a ring and make them fight to the death for “entertainment” should be stripped naked, dipped in chum, and tossed into a shark tank.  May the strongest animal prevail.

Vick has served his time and admitted his fault. That means he gets to go back to his job, even if that job pays him an obscene amount of money.  I get that. He is also working with the Humane Society to combat dogfighting.  So, is he for real?  Or is it all PR?  Should he be given a platform of any kind–other than the one above the shark tank?
To me, this comes down to two questions: the question of forgiveness and the question of influence.

There are many things that I forgive, but I find it difficult to forgive anyone who brutalizes the innocent for his own pleasure or profit. I find it difficult to forgive those who are strong and who abuse the vulnerable.  There is no way that Vick could have been ignorant of the suffering he was inflicting.  I believe in forgiveness.  But I have to say, I’m not there yet.


Michael Vick can reach a lot of people that animal welfare proponents cannot. I would hazard that most people who read The Bark, or my novel about wolves, or who are on the ASPCA mailing list aren’t the ones who are thinking of participating in dogfighting.  Vick can reach young people and can tell them that dogfighting is not cool.  He can, if he is truly committed, do a lot of good.

So I am willing to wait to see what kind of influence Vick has and how he uses it. He cannot undo the damage he has done. But, in the event that he means what he says, he could, perhaps, make some amends.

As for forgiveness?  Maybe if he throws a few million dollars of his reality show and football earnings to animal welfare organizations.  I’m sure they’d be happy to have it.

And I’m keeping the shark tank ready.


  1. I can not really say whether Mike Vick is sorry or not for his actions, but I am sure that just like most famous people that are caught out doing wrong, most apologize because it is in their best interest and the pr agents advise them to do so. Besides the fact that they can either win some old fans back or maybe some new fans, it is also a way to make some more ridiculous amount of money in addition to the already ridiculous amount of money that they already have and are already gettting paid. Yes he did do his time and admitted his mistake, but just as the many convicts before him and the many that will come after him, most see nothing wrong with what they did except for the mere fact that they were caught doing it. So in that light, many will continue to do the same things or find another obvious wrong thing to amuse themselves with. I am not only saying this as an outraged citizen but as someone that has been on the wrong side of the law and has many friends that are still on the wrong side of the law. I hope that he is sincere with his apology and does continue to do the right thing, but I do not hold out much hope for him. But giving up a lot of money to charitable organizations would help his cause though!!!!!

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