Michael Vick, quarterback extraordinaire, has paid his debt to society. After serving 20 months in prison for dastardly crimes, the world of sports, and the media, were eager to forgive and welcome the phenom back into the football field, compliments of the Philadelphia Eagles who offered a contract worth multi-millions of dollars. What ex-con could expect so much?
For six years, Vick had operated an illegal dogfight business in Virginia which involved abuse, torture and execution of underperforming animals, not to mention the presence of drugs and the employment of illicit gambling. On top of that, Vick had denied all the allegations about his ugly business venture until evidence mounted with three of his comrades agreeing to testify against him. For Vick, it was the stain on the blue dress.
Should he perform on the field as expected, he may one day be heralded as a public icon, revered by millions of fans and voted into the Football hall of Fame. He stands as a role model for the young. Who cares about his crimes? He’s Michael Vick.
Some folks don’t want to hear about reality. What he presided over was cruel and gruesome. Man’s best friends are pitted against each other in a small enclosure as the blood lusters cheer on in glee making their bets. Vicious fights can last an hour as pit bulls inflict horrible injury upon one another, cracking bones, squealing, bleeding and ripping flesh. Some breeders cut off their ears so that rivals cannot bite onto them. Teeth are filed to make them sharper. Often, they are pumped with steroids. All this for the joy of watching innocent warm-blooded animals mutilate each other to tortuous deaths.
Two of the government’s witnesses claim that Vick not only gambled, but was personally involved in the brutal killing of at least eight dogs by hanging, drowning and electrocution because they didn’t perform. Nice guy.
Seems to me there’s an overdose hypocrisy here. Sports writers who lionize Vick have, for thirty years, turned up their noses at another sports figure whose Herculean feats far outshine the young Philadelphia quarterback.
Compare this. Pete Rose is the most prolific hitter in the history of Major League Baseball. He holds a host of individual records, some of which may never be broken, including most games played and most hits. His National League record of 44 consecutive games with a hit, is still unbroken. He was voted as an all-star 17 times, one MVP award, and three World Series Rings. Thought he’s one of the most electrifying players in the history of any sport, Rose has been permanently denied enshrinement into the Hall of Fame by many of those same sports writers.
Why? During his time as a manager, Pete Rose gambled on baseball. A crime, to be sure. While evidence wasn’t enough to convict him of illegal gambling, authorities managed to indict him for tax evasion in 1990, for which he served a five month prison sentence. Afterwards, no multi-million dollar contracts awaited him, no hoards of fans, only a few autograph sessions and a couple books that didn’t sell very well.
His crimes were a far cry from the violent, blood-thirsty practice of dog killing for the joy of gambling. Pete Rose killed no one, not even a dog. His crime was a product of gambling addiction, for which people in America are treated by the thousands every day.
Yet, he is banned from baseball for life, by sports writers. Compare that, to the love and forgiveness bestowed upon Michael Vick.
The Cooperstown museum is known as the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Morality. Rose stands beside such names as Ruth, Aaron, Mantle, and Mays as the most famous of the famous ball players in history, and thus it is time he be enshrined into the sacred temple of his sport. That is doable, by the sports writers of America. If they don’t, they should check out their own manuscripts which drooled over the young quarterback despite his acts of animal torture, for fun and money. They might change their mind.
There’s also another reality. Rose didn’t have the right supporters going to bat for him (so to speak) in his corner. From day one, Michael Vick had the backing of an organization called: NAACP.
I guess that does make a difference.