Time to say - ENOUGH !
The news of Michael Vick’s indictment is without a doubt one of the more disgusting stories in NFL history. If Vick is indeed guilty, and remember indictment does not equal guilt, then he is a deeply troubled young man.
As I read the stories of dog fighting my stomach turned. What kind of human being derives enjoyment from such a spectacle? Who among us thinks nothing of pitting one dog against another in a fight to the death? Even worse, what dark thoughts run through the mind of a man or woman that would execute the losing dog by electrocution, drowning or blunt trauma?
As disturbing as these images were to me, I must admit a very troubling question kept popping into my head. Over the last couple of evenings, I’ve thought long and hard if after all these years of drugs, spousal abuse and anti-social behavior by professional athletes would it be cruelty to animals that finally makes all of us sports fans stand in unison and shout “ENOUGH!”
Think about it. When you watch an old war movie and you see men being blown apart left and right, you don’t even flinch. But when one of the horses in the cavalry is taken down, we all squirm. It might be the same in sports. As long as an athlete produces for our team, we seem to be willing to forgive anything:
Ray Lewis is propped up as some sort of sterling symbol of all that is right in the NFL, because too many of us aren’t turned off by the fact he obstructed justice in a murder investigation.
Michael Irvin and Lawrence Taylor are in the Hall of Fame despite drug-related off the field behavior that would have landed the rest of us in prison for years. “Those were off the field issues,” pooh-pooh those in favor Irvin’s and Taylor’s honor.
Numerous NFL players, including the Buccaneers very own Michael Pittman have been arrested and/or suspended for abusing their wives/girlfriends. But when Pittman scores a touchdown, people in Raymond James Stadium stand up and shout with joy. In fact, how many of you have forgotten what these men have done?
This facet of sports has always made me quite angry. I purposely avoid Ravens games, I did not watch LT’s induction ceremony and I refuse to watch Irvin’s. Lastly, as big a Buccaneer fan as I am, I can’t feel anything but ambivalence at best when Pittman runs the ball. I have always felt alone in this feeling.
But now that we have dogs being tortured, it might be enough to shock some people to action. Maybe all the years of turning away from the misdeeds of the Bill Romanowski’s, Leonard Little’s and Bobby Cox’s of the world in the hope that their legal problems wouldn’t interfere with our pastimes is at an end. Maybe we are ready to accept that you have to be more than a great athlete to play professional sports, you have to be a mature and decent adult as well.
I understand that we have a judicial system and that Mr. Vick is innocent until proven guilty. I have no problem with him playing for the Falcons or any team while under indictment. I would hope for the same from my employer.
However, if Mr. Vick is found guilty of this crime don’t be surprised if people across the country finally join me in saying enough is enough and petition the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons to show Mr. Vick the door permanently. No more suspensions; just go away and take the rest of the sociopaths with you please.
Denis Crawford, July 2007