Michael Vick, you’re no Tony Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez and his wife, October

Stayson Isobe chose the wrong day to talk about second chances for Michael Vick.

I had just finished reading about Iggy, a former Vick dog now living in San Diego. Iggy was in the news today because his devoted foster mother, Nicole Rattay, invited Vick to visit the dog this weekend when the Eagles are in town to play the Chargers. (Vick has not accepted the invitation.)

Found “tied up in the woods,” Iggy runs in circles–or tries to hide–in the presence of unfamiliar people and even inanimate objects. While he’s made incredible progress with Rattay, the dog is too scared to leave the house. Three years since his rescue, he’s still terrified of anything unknown, still traumatized by what he experienced back in Virginia.

I then stumbled onto Isobe’s article. Isobe, writing for Northern Arizona’s Jackcentral.com, believes that Vick’s seeming remorse and obvious athletic talent are reasons enough for a second chance. I’m not sure whether Isobe would feel as strongly if instead of a football player Vick were a gifted shoemaker or a master juggler, but Isobe is a football fan. He opines:

“…What I’m about to say may upset many, but I’m thrilled to see Vick back in the league and doing what he’s always loved to do – play football… I always believed Vick deserved a second chance. Being a dog-lover and having three dogs of my own back home, I was outraged to hear of Vick’s involvement in dogfighting…I believe Vick when he says he’s a changed man…He seems remorseful… If Favre can retire and unretire and retire and unretire until even the Vikings don’t want him back, Vick should be allowed to lace up his cleats and get on the field.”

Mr. Isobe, I’m sickened to see Vick doing what he loves. After bringing so much suffering and inflicting such horrific torture, the idea that he’s free to do anything is troubling. The fact that he’s earning a staggering amount of money in a career many young men only dream of entering is an outrage. This sounds less like “second chance” and more like an attempt to justify a desire for riveting football.

Vick provides the bare minimum in terms of any commitment to help eliminate dog fighting. The mandatory appearances he makes on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States are few and uninspired. I don’t see the remorse, and if there is any, I certainly haven’t seen much action behind it.

And comparing Brett Favre’s on-again, off-again retirement to Vick’s barbaric cruelty is like comparing apples to chainsaws. There is no comparison.

A few weeks ago I reported that professional fighter Brett Rogers is a true man. He spoke out against dog fighting in a PSA he did with KnockOutDogFighting.org and asserted that real men don’t have dogs do their fighting for them.

Let’s add Atlanta Falcon Tony Gonzalez to that list of real men. Men who understand that bullies are never heroes. Men who aren’t afraid to speak for those who don’t have a voice.

Gonzalez and his wife recently posed for PeTA’s anti-fur campaign. It’s about time we can hear about an Atlanta Falcon player and feel a sense of pride rather than a sense of nausea.

– Leslie Smith