Friday, July 31, 2009

Thoughts on Michael Vick's return

So some of the news out of professional football this week is the return of Michael Vick to the NFL. Where exactly he will end up--and he will end up somewhere--is still unknown though word is he's getting close to signing with the Seattle Seahawks.
Vick's return to the NFL after serving nearly two years in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring comes with conditions.
Interesting, eh? As Dave Zirin says, it isn't likely that the NFL is a huge proponent of animal rights. They are all about appearances. And given the public outrage over this incident, the NFL is playing the PR game with the conditions and all the statements. And, of course, Vick is too, having met with the president of the Humane Society of America.
So the question over how the public will react to Vick's return lingers.
And it's all a little disturbing. Because, as Zirin also notes, the NFL is full of people who have done something wrong including domestic violence and sexual assault. Some have never done any time. Some have no conditions on their return--assuming they were ever kicked out. Granted what Vick did was wrong. But where is the outrage for players who beat up women? Are they meeting with the heads of domestic violence groups?
It seems that dogs are more sympathetic victims than humans. Maybe because a lot of people see dogs as defenseless and women as asking for it, for knowing what they are getting into when they get involved with a professional athlete. It is an attitude that we have seen repeatedly--in situations with Mike Tyson, with Kobe Bryant, and maybe now with Ben Roethlisberger.


Kristin said...

Hi, I've been an NFL fan since childhood and you've really hit the nail on the head for me. While I feel what Vick did was cruel the amount of negative reaction to him is so many thousands of times as large as the reaction to the various players who have hurt women. I'm not saying that dogfighting is something to be brushed aside but violence to women is brushed aside often.

Diane said...

As a non-human rights activist, I, too, am disturbed, not just because the NFL has ignored rampant violence toward women (and men, for that matter), but because their P.R. campaign with Vick makes it sound as though animal rights (a phrase I dislike) is important in this culture.

It isn't. The same people who are "outraged" over what Vick did to the dogs are actively participating in institutional violence toward farm animals, and many of them also fail to properly care for their own pets.