Michael Vick bailed on the Oprah Winfrey show amid reports he’d be confronted by owners who adopted his dogs. Enough is enough. We all need to move on.
I mean seriously. This is the Oprah Winfrey show we’re talking about. Everyone should feel safe and secure sitting next to Oprah. She’s America’s grandmother. If Tom Cruise felt comfortable enough to dance around and jump on a couch because he loved Katie Holmes that much, then Michael Vick should be able to talk openly about his past without the fear of being ambushed.
Unfortunately, current owners of Vick’s victims wanted to use Oprah’s stage to crucify Vick. Instead of allowing Vick to visit Oprah, owners of dogs rescued from Vick’s operation reportedly (according to USA Today) wanted Vick to answer directly to the dogs he harmed. In their words, they wanted the “voices of the victims’ families” to be heard.
Give it a rest.
I grew up with a dog. I love dogs, especially when they don’t smell. I don’t currently own one, but as soon as I have a yard again, I plan on getting a pooch. What Vick did to those poor dogs was wrong. It was evil. He deserved the free-fall from stardom that ensued. He deserved to lose his wealth. He earned every minute spent in Federal Prison. But he’s paid his dues. He’s served his time. Even now, he continually works to repay his debts, both figuratively and literally.
I understood the overwhelming backlash when the Eagles signed Vick in the summer of 2009. I even understood the increased protests this past year as Vick re-established himself as an NFL superstar. If Vick’s comeback failed and he’d flunked out of the league already, this controversy would have subsided long ago. Instead, Vick is earning new endorsements and sitting down for interviews with media icons. He’s not going away. In fact, he’s getting bigger.
It’s been almost two years since Vick was released from prison. He’s been a model citizen since. As a professional athlete, Vick waited patiently for an opportunity. As a teammate, he supported those around him and more importantly, those ahead of him on the depth chart. He’s been humble, gracious, and receptive to the advice his coaches, teammates, and mentors have offered. Outside of football he’s done even more.
Vick has volunteered at animal shelters. He’s worked with animal rights groups and the Humane Society to condemn his actions and promote the fair treatment of animals. Vick has visited schools, community centers, and any other place you could imagine to share his mistakes. What’s more, he’s repeatedly answered the same questions about his dog-fighting past without anger or frustration. He’s been more than open and willing to admit his errors. In a word, Michael Vick has been perfect.
Now it’s time for the animal rights groups, dog owners, and Oprah Winfrey protestors to shut up and go home. This is America. It’s the land of second chances. Ben Roethlisberger just played in a Super Bowl despite multiple sexual assault accusations in the past few years, and the backlash he’s received compared to Vick’s has been a light drizzle. In case you’re wondering, Roethlisberger’s missteps came at the expense of women. You know, actual people. I’m not trying to minimize what Vick did, but when did all mammals suddenly become equal? We live in a country that terminates babies because of illness, defect, or inconvenience. What gives us the right to persecute Vick as if he’s the anti-Christ?
Michael Vick is a convicted felon who served his punishment. It’s time we back off. He’s paid his penalty. Michael Vick doesn’t owe you, me, or anyone else a darn thing.