Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Woe is Michael Vick: Will He Really Suffer in the Long Run?

Michael Vick.

The name right now says it all – one of infamy, life and a profitable career wasted.

Right now, all the pundits on the TV talk shows, radio and in print wonder about the fate of Michael Vick and if he’ll truly suffer. Fans who were enthralled with his athletic prowess wonder if he’ll ever come back, or deserves to do so.

On Monday, he pleaded guilty in Richmond, Va. to a dog fighting charge in federal court. As well, as part of his plea, he also admitted bankrolling a dog-breeding enterprise where his animals engaged in fights for money.

Lest we forget, he’s been accused of torturing and killing numerous dogs, all pit bulls.

Most likely, Mr. Vick will spend at least a year incarcerated in federal prison, and will face a lengthy suspension from the National Football League.

Now let’s be honest with ourselves. Is he really going to suffer – I mean really?

I have no sympathy for a stupid, egotistical, ornery millionaire athlete who blew his perfect life, but there are faceless people in America who know the true definition of suffering.

I was home on Monday, and for the most part, every network outlet and cable channel covered the case as if it was one of national importance, much like if a standing United States president was ever impeached for high crimes. In my mind, watching the coverage, I was thinking in my mind, “geez, what does this case say about American culture, our fascination with celebrity and the role of athletic achievement?”

I am not even upset at the gambling or he going to dog-fighting matches, he's lost my respect as a person for lying, his overall arrogance, and the torture of pets he engaged in.

It's almost like he thought he'd get away with the crime, and his lawyers and handlers would take care of him.

Why he would engage in this behavior and throw his life away? This was a man praised, loved and admired not for who he is as a person, but only for his physical gifts – mainly, throwing a football better than most living people and having the legs to shake any defender on the turf.

Again, is Vick truly going to suffer?

Personally, I actually do think the hoopla over this has gone way overboard, and I am even shocked a lot more people are upset over dogs, than let's say assault, or sexual crimes or murder. In every major American city from Washington D.C. to Dallas to Los Angeles, there is a murder, assault, or an abduction that takes place on a daily basis.

The fact of the matter is Mr. Vick committed a serious felony, and he's got to be culpable for his deeds.

However, do those who truly suffer in this country deserve any less sympathy than a man whose coverage has been overblown in the media?

Michael Vick is surely in trouble, but can his bad luck compare with a missing child, Katrina victim waiting for a FEMA trailer, an innocent man accidentally jailed, those honestly down on their luck, or a young teen whose body has been found in a ditch or on an urban street?

Is the life of a football player who will be still wealthy once he’s free take more importance the life of a man, woman or child who is really suffering?

Sure he’s lost his endorsements, his hero status, career and the respect of fans and peers, but are things really going to be that bad for Michael Vick?

It’s something that makes you go, hmm….

I don't advocate barring him from making a living in the NFL, but he'll never be what he was ever again.

Moreover, I really don’t care – I see him for what he is, an athlete and that’s all. What makes me sick is that we have a select group of fans who want Michael Vick back, not because of fairness, but because he’s good at football and forget those who truly have it far worse than him.

However; employment, whether being a garbage man or a football player is a privilege, not a God-given right.

Mr. Vick is the Horatio Alger story gone completely wrong, but in light of his sentence and future suspension from the NFL, he’ll be fine in comparison to the rest of us.

America gives people a second chance routinely; alas, he'll have to be truly remorseful and make serious changes.

However, tens of thousand of people get murdered each year, all almost tragically, but yet America gives celebrities all the coverage – whether they deserve it not. Some, if not all do not get that second chance.

Really, when it comes down to it, Michael Vick will not really know the meaning of suffering, because they are tens of thousands of nameless people who know it already.


Wundarr said...

I totally agree.

It's unbelievable that Vick is getting so much coverage. Chris Benoit, the pro wrestler who murdered his entire family before hanging himself did not get this level of media scrutiny in the days...weeks, following his crimes.

Well, so long as we as a society have our priorities straight.

Hang dogs, evil. Strange your son, not so much.

Kenrick Thomas said...

The reason why Michael Vick has gotten a lot of attention on this problem is because of how known he is as an athlets. I was a big shock to many people, and that's why this has blown up.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Kenrick - The whole Vick thing is a big shock to everyone, but the issue is why are picking on him when we have even more heinous crimes than this in society?

I don't really care that he's a celeb -- Wundarr makes a great point about Chris Benoit, and what about Leonard Little, Pacman Jones, et. al...

Let's not forget Kobe Bryant.

Sorry, I just think someone who violates a crime against a human being is far, far worse than dog-fighting.

Wundarr - We love our big celebs too much as a society, it's pathetic.

I think we are all memorized with Vick, because he's the man who had everything and will most likely lose most of it.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Wundarr - the Benoit coverage got a lot of play, but people seemed to be far more disturbed by this incident more than anything else I have seen in years with an athlete, sans OJ.

The Benoit coverage was more sad an morose, probably because the murderer perished along with the victims.

Still, let's not discount what Ray Lewis did in the past (far worse than Vick), or Latrell Sprewell.

Sorry, what they did was worse; however, Vick compunded his situation by lying about the arrogance displayed.

Anonymous said...

People are so fucking hypocritical. Some football player gets found out about his involvement in dogfighting and people like you make a big fucking deal. If it had been some minor Joe Public off the streets, neither you or the animal rights groups wouldn't give a rat's ass. I get so sick and tired of the public demanding that celebrities be judged harsher than the average citizen.

It's pathetic at how the press and the public make such a big deal over celebrities. It's one thing to admire someone for their athletic prowess, artistic skill or some other damn thing. It's another when that celebrity gets into trouble and people come out of the woodwork to denounce him or her in their usual self-righteous manner.

Who gives a fuck whether Michael Vick was involved in dogfighting or not? I bet that many wouldn't have given a fuck if he had not been famous. Or probably wouldn't care less about the world of dogfighting.

I've said it once and I'll say it again - people are nothing more than fucking hypocrites.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Anon - thanks for the use of profanity and empathetically saying what you feel.

Well, I think you missed my point -- and in your post you basically said my thesis.

I was criticizing the media, and America's fascination with celebrity.

Yes, you are right if this had been some average Joe, we probably would not care; however, sometimes it takes someone in the form of a celebrity to expose a horrible issue.

Anon, can you ask you a question?

Do you have a famous athlete, actor or singer and why do you like them?

SC said...

I'd argue that the only reason the Chris Benoit case didn't have the "legs" of the Michael Vick case is because Benoit is dead. If he was alive that story would be getting play until the day he went to prison (or whatever). Nancy Grace, for one, would have made a career of the Benoit case the way Greta Van Susteren did of the O.J. case.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Agreed, SC. Nancy Grace, Greta, etc., did delve real deep into the Benoit case and did sensationalize it though; however, it could only be taken to a certain level because he is dead and this came as a shock to most everyone.

Plus, the dead cannot speak anyway.

Vick and all his conspirators are very well alive, and have been pretty much hung to dry.

Again, I implore how much this case has brought so much emotion considering it involves animals?

What about women who get assaulted, DUI's, etc? And what about the deaths in pro wrestling?

I find it weird sometimes that value systems we have.

Not to sound self-righteous, but I see a lot of what we care about and what we do not care about with the Vick case.

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