In the NFL, you can’t seem to get a job if, for example, you protest peacefully during the national anthem. Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been signed by any team ever since 2016, when the former San Francisco 49er would take a knee during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the killing of African-American men by police officers.
Yet in the NFL, you sure can get a gig if you beat Pit Bulls to death with your bare hands. That’s right, Michael Vick is back, unfortunately. The NFL proudly announced last month that the dog killer is going to be one of four “legends captains” for the 2020 Pro Bowl.
Funny, Vick’s bio in the NFL press release exults his career as a player for the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, but somehow fails to mention his career as the owner of an illegal dog-fighting operation.
As everybody probably knows, Vick went to prison for 18 months in 2007 for running the Bad Newz Kennels in Virginia. According to the federal indictment, Vick himself killed poorly performing dogs by hanging them or repeatedly slamming them to the ground. When three dogs survived being hanged, Vick helped hold their heads underwater until they drowned.
Soon after he got out of prison, Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles and resumed his NFL career.
Some people argue that Vick served his time, so it’s time to stop being outraged. But those chilling facts from the federal indictment are not something that’s easy to get over. And many of us believe that Vick was remorseful only because he got caught, and not because of the horrible things he did to dogs – which he never has apologized for.
All those innocent dogs Vick killed never got a second chance. Why should he?
If any NFL officials happen to be reading this, here are a couple of suggestions for players much worthier of being Pro Bowl legends captains:
- Former wide receiver Torrey Smith paid the adoption fees for 46 homeless dogs and cats from BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter).
- Ronnie Stanley, an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, went to BARCS three years ago with a special request: He and his girlfriend only wanted a dog who had been in the shelter for a long time. They took home Winter, a Pit Bull/Retriever mix who’d been left to die in a vacant house with no food or water. (That terrible situation was arguably better than being a poorly performing dog at the Bad Newz Kennels.)
Say No to Michael Vick as a Pro Bowl Captain!
Thousands of people are protesting the NFL’s hiring of Vick. You can protest by boycotting the NFL and its sponsors, and by signing these online petitions:
- As of Dec. 7, more than 319,000 people have signed an Animalvictory.org petition to remove Vick as a Pro Bowl captain. “Out of the hundreds of professional football athletes who have led upstanding lives, the NFL has chosen a convicted dog-fighting organizer as someone who they want to honor,” it says.
- Over 290,000 people have signed a Change.org petition started by Joanna Lind. “When is the NFL going to take any responsibility for the behavior of its current and former players?” Lind writes. “To honor a man who had zero regard for animals is unacceptable.”
- Another Change.org petition started by Brande Wood has over 62,000 signatures. “The NFL, Disney, ESPN, the city of Orlando, and Camping World Stadium should not be condoning the torture and murder of dogs by allowing Michael Vick to be involved in the Pro Bowl — or any other professional sport,” Wood writes.
- A Care2 petition has more than 67,000 signatures. “[L]et Michael Vick and the NFL know we will never forget what he did and we do not condone this type of behavior!” it says. “He needs to be banned completely from the NFL. There is no excuse for animal abuse!”
Photo: Jason Bacon